Schallenberg Travels to Slovakia for “Slavkov 3” Meeting

PeopleDiplomats ♦ Published: December 5, 2022; 23:38 ♦ (Vindobona)

The Austrian foreign minister Alexander Schallenberg traveled to Slovakia to meet with his Slovak and Czech counterparts to discuss the important topics currently challenging the region.

Austria's foreign minister, together with the other foreign ministers of the Slavkov format, secured support for Ukraine. / Picture: © BKA / Wenzel / Flickr Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

On December 3, the Austrian Foreign Minister met with the Slovak Foreign Minister Rastislav Káčer and the Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský in the frame of the “Slavkov 3” format in Béla, Slovakia. The focus of the GLOBESC forum was on neighbor cooperation, the effect of the Russian aggression in Ukraine, and illegal migrants in Europe, according to the Website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The three Foreign Ministers agreed that the cooperation between the countries was key during the pandemic and it should be strong amidst other crises, such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Minister Schallenberg stated:” We will support any solution that is acceptable to Ukraine and that leads to peace and lasting stability. I remain of the opinion that a lasting solution can only be found at the negotiating table. It will be up to President Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people to determine the circumstances and form of such an event” All three ministers condemned the repeating attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure, particularly the attack on the energy and food supply of the country. This is particularly relevant concerning energy policy as the Russian President continues to use cold and hunger as a weapon to break Ukraine's resistance and drive a wedge between Ukraine and its allies.

Another key topic of discussion for the three foreign ministers was the recent rapid increase in migration to Europe. Foreign Minister Schallenberg referred to the fact that temporary controls are required at the internal borders between Austria and Slovakia. This fact alone shows that the Schengen system has failed in its current form. In addition, the European Commission is only concentrating on the central Mediterranean route, while illegal migration via the Balkans has increased dramatically.

The Slavkov format, named after the place where it was created in 2015, is a cooperation format between Austria, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. A regular exchange takes place at all political levels.