On 12 September 2018, the EC Representation to Slovakia hosted a Citizens Dialogue with Ladislav Miko, the Head of the European Commission Representation in Slovakia, on the occasion of the State of the Union 2018 speech.
The event was launched with the live streaming of President Juncker delivering the speech in Strasbourg, followed by the live video reactions of two Slovak MEPs I. Štefanec (EPP) and M. Smolková (S&D).
The panel discussion which followed included these guests: HoR in Slovakia Ladislav Miko, Martin Klus (MP of the Slovak parliament, SaS (ECR), Eva Goncalvesová (Ministry of finance SR), Alexander Micovčin (Ministry of Foreign and European affairs SR) and Pavol Baboš (Department off Political Science FiF UK in Bratislava).
The discussion started with their first reactions on President Juncker's SOTEU 2018, focusing on the Slovak angle. The panelists reacted to the proposal to extend qualified majority voting to other spheres of EU decision making and they expressed concerns especially in the context of sovereignty of all EU Member States and fairness of future policies.
They all appreciated that President Juncker mentioned the freedom of press and protection of journalists as it is a profoundly important issue in Slovakia. Mr Baboš developed the topic of trust of the Slovak citizens towards the EU and underlined the deficit in proper communication of EU topics by Slovak politicians to the citizens, which results in insufficient awareness about EU issues in Slovakia.
Mentioning of the Western Balkans in SOTEU was seen as very important also with respect to the Slovak Foreign policy aims and partnerships. A significant part of the discussion was devoted to the issue of division in the EU and the attempt to search for more European unity.
The lively discussion ended with the insights of the panelists on the forthcoming EU elections in 2019. More engagement of the Slovak political parties is highly requested and the elections also miss an important competition element which might potentially increase the overall voter turnout in Slovakia.