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Should Slovakia strive to join the EU core?

Multi-speed Europe refers to the concept that different member states of the European Union integrate at different levels and pace. The older members that are in the eurozone and the Schengen area represent the "core" while newcomers are on the "periphery". Would it be to Slovakia's benefit to seek a close cooperation with the EU core?

The EU's core as the only way forward for Slovakia

15/05/2018 - 00:00
Since 2008, the European Union has experienced a number of bad moments. We can mention the 2008 financial and economic crisis, Greece's debt crisis in 2010, the 2015 refugee crisis and Britain's Brexit referendum in June 2016. They all have significantly changed the Union’s direction. For these reasons, the European Commission had no other choice but to take a new direction. Commission President Jean Claude-Juncker presented a White Paper* on the future of Europe, outlining 5 scenarios of future EU development. One is the division of the EU into a multi-speed union with a division of states in the “core” and on the “periphery”, depending on their level of integration. At present, this concept is reality. Can it be profitable and beneficial for Slovakia to get into the EU core?

Slovakia should stay in the first league

The unexpected decision of British citizens to leave the European Union in 2016 meant a great awakening for the whole EU and its members. It is clear that the EU cannot continue in this form if it wants to continue to exist in the future. One solution is the division of states into a multi-speed Europe. It is a concept whereby member states will proceed to integrate flexibly or at different rates and also integrate at other levels. In this case, the states will be divided into a core with closer and stronger integration and into the periphery with a lower form of integration. On May 4, 2017, the former Slovak Prime Minister, Róbert Fico, has expressed his opinion that Slovakia must remain a first category state of the EU, which means it should belong to the core. He said that the EU is an essential project for Slovakia, and Slovakia has no other option.

What would the EU core bring for Slovakia?

At present, one aspect of the small EU core is the euro area. Not all EU states have implemented the common currency, the euro. In order for the euro-zone to function, states need to work together and harmonize their policies more closely in areas such as tax and social policy. Thanks to these measures, the core could prevent further euro-crises, as states would place great emphasis on fiscal discipline. That is why, in my view, it is a priority for Slovakia to belong to such a narrower core of states. One of the benefits can be tax harmonization. This would involve a smooth movement of goods and services, lower administrative costs for companies or an increased number of companies that will have the incentive to operate cross-border. Harmonization will ensure simpler and more efficient business in the common market. Slovakia will remain attractive for foreign investors thanks to its membership in the core, which could bring more jobs. In the sphere of social policy there are discussions about a uniform European minimum wage, which could only help Slovakia to move closer to the social standards of bigger and richer countries such as Germany or France. Last but not least, the division of states into a core and a periphery would simplify EU decision-making and guarantee Slovakia an influence on the EU's future direction. This would accelerate integration, which would result in a faster reduction of the gap between states that are interested in closer integration.

Guarantee for a better future

Slovak participation in the EU's core is a key factor in its direction. Due to our past experience with the communist regime, Slovakia is still dependent on others, especially on EU’s Eurofunds. EU membership has brought several benefits and the standard of Slovak citizen’s living has increased. Therefore, it is a logical and natural step that Slovakia should strive to get into the EU's core if it wants to continue increasing the living standards. A similar view is taken by the Slovak daily Pravda, which emphasizes that states outside the core will deliberately leave the Western World and its values. Slovakia has no choice but to move forward if it wants to prosper in future. That is why the EU's core and Western affiliation are the only options for Slovakia.


*White  paper available at:

This article deliberately presents only one of the many existing points of views of this contorversial subject. Its content is not necessarily representative of its author's personal opinion. Please have a look at Duel Amical's philosophy.

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