Bratislava, May 17 (CTK) – Central European countries, including Slovakia and the Czech Republic, are sending confusing signals towards the European Union and NATO, Slovak President Andrej Kiska said at the opening of the Globsec international conference on Thursday.
There is a risk in Central Europe of ruthless interests of domestic politics drawing the region back at the time when Europe needs to express strength and unity, Kiska said.
He criticised the project of the planned Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany in this respect.
Confusing signals are being sent in the whole region that are undermining our European and Transatlantic identity and support propaganda and a reserved expression of solidarity with the allies, Kiska said.
He added that exactly those preaching the need of sovereignty protection harmed the national and European interests the most.
In his opening speech at the conference, Kiska said Central Europe would not have achieved its economic success without the EU.
No economic growth can outweigh shortcomings in democracy and selfish national interests that are threatening the European project, Kiska said, adding that a further division of Europe must be prevented.
Kiska criticised the prepared extension of the Nord Stream gas pipeline that would strengthen the capacity of raw material transport from Russia to Germany across the Baltic Sea, which would enable Moscow to avoid Ukraine in gas supplies to Western Europe.
This project has a serious political impact. This is an example of selfish economic interest prevailing at the cost of stability and prosperity in our close neighbourhood. We are sending a signal to Russia about how short-sighted we are in our strategies, Kiska pointed out.
In his speech, Kiska also said media played an important role in society.
Free and independent journalism is and must remain the core of our democratic society. Journalists are true guardians of democracy who are often the first to observe it if politicians prefer their own interests to the public ones, he said.
Journalist are being downgraded and pursued and there are attempts to restrict the press freedom, persecute independent media and gain control of them by private capital often linked to the governing elites, he added.
In this context, Kiska called the February murder of Slovak investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee a tragic event.