We, the Slovaks, feel both a lot of excitement combined with a great deal of responsibility to do the best job possible while presiding the EU Council.
We are no longer newcomers, we have been around for 12 years and it is up to us to show how we could establish ourselves as an "honest broker". I also see this as a great opportunity for Slovak civil servants to gain experience in the international field.
Arguably, Brexit will be the most important challenge for our presidency. Although we did not wish for it to happen, we respect the decision of the British voters.
Now I would like for us to draw inspiration from our British colleagues and keep calm, avoid unnecessary self-centeredness and work hard on the best deal possible between the reformed EU and the UK.
The Slovak EU Council presidency has also set out five themes of central importance and I am glad to see that jobs, competitiveness and opportunities for EU citizens are high on the agenda.
As a member of Parliament's employment committee, I am following further work on the new skills agenda with a great deal of interest, particularly the mutual recognition of qualifications and further steps towards greater accessibility for products and services.