Slovakia represents precisely what the EU needs: political maturity, an unwavering European attitude and confidence in the future. Slovakia is in a strong position to demonstrate the values and benefits of EU membership. In tough times for the EU, we need to know what we want.
We need to make Europe work better internally for its citizens and become stronger on the global scene. Regrettably, Brexit has overshadowed the start of the Slovak EU Council Presidency.
We commit to playing our role as an honest broker, to deal with the present situation and to find a solution that delivers what is best for the EU's 27 member states.
Brexit, however, should not be the only thing that defines the next six months. Slovakia can help the EU regain its confidence in its relations with the rest of the world.
Our presidency offers the opportunity to press ahead with the enlargement process in the Western Balkans and to bring a fresh drive and perspective to relations with the wider neighbourhood.
Slovakia should use its first-hand experience from the integration process and its positive attitude towards our closest neighbours to achieve real progress on visa liberalisation and continuing negotiations with EU candidate countries.
This presidency must confirm Slovakia's European stance. The country from central Europe will become the centre of Europe.