September 2009

Havel’s Invitation Letter to the Tutor
The President of Pan - Slavic Union
Successful Slovakia in the safe world
Let’s have a look at Balkan. Is it a crucial area of Slovak diplomacy?
Is it correct to divide Balkan into the west part and the rest?
How does Slovakia help this country?
Do you consider Albania as more stable and democratic country than for example Ukraine?
Castle Dunajec in Niedzica
Frontier Fortress
Hotel, Restaurant and Café
Ideal Weekend Tourist
Pick up your olives or mandarins
Country Tourism Hits
The most prestigious tourist centre
Accommodation and Congress Offer
Libertas is leading the way
Declan Ganley, an Irish entrepreneur, a founder and president of Libertas
Ugly Response to the Irish
Serbian Media Market
Crisis cumulates, however, the government looks for the way how to suport national and local media
Tom Engelhardt (The Nation, the co-founder of the American Empire Project)
Titles and subtitles: Dimenzie
Dialogue with Substance

Havel’s Invitation Letter to the Tutor
Declaration of Pan- Slavic Union  
At the end of January 2003, Wall Street Journal published a letter named “we are united,” whose co- author (at least) was Vaclav Havel. The former Czech president together with other seven European politicians asked the president of the United States in the name of democracy and following the human rights to help the world to get rid of the world’s threat: “Sad am Hussein’s weapons of mass liquidation”. Although millions of people demonstrated in the street all over the world in February 2003 in order to show their refusal of war violence regardless all excuses, George Bush attacked Iraq a few weeks later. Allegedly, so that they did not meet the worries of its allies expressed in “that Havel´s letter”. Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction have never been found in Iraq, though. However, more than hundred thousand Iraqi, mainly civilians died in their occupied and shot out country. Vaclav Havel with his humanism so typical for him is still silent about bloodshed, though; his critics from the west remind that if once George Bush is taken to the court for war crimes in Iraq, Vaclav Havel should be accused as well. A few days ago, a new open letter appeared. Vaclav Havel, together with 21 political and diplomatic veterans and pensioners including our ex- president Michal Kováč or other political “ex” (for example Martin Bútora and Rastislav Káčer), is writing to the American president, now Barack Obama, because those man are worried again about the threat from the East. The USA, which was so generous to new rulers in the countries in Central and East Europe in the 1990a, is said to neglect this corner of the world at the time when Russia is entering the world scene as a great power again. And it is really bad, unacceptable and non-democratic!!! Ex-politicians out of whom some are only almost forgotten in encyclopaedias from the past century attempt to catch their attention at any expense have come up with this bogey. They make Russia a demon, a threatening enemy endangering the world peace, democracy and stability in the world and that is why the United States should be a tutor and pay attention to countries of Central and East Europe. What is shocking about the think is that “these honest politicians” write their “invitation letter” in such a cynical and rude way on behalf of “citizens of Central and East Europe”. So, in the name of those Central Europeans who are unanimously refusing the American anti - missile radar in the Czech Republic and the rocket shield in Poland. Well, it seems that former rulers are losing American financial sources, the sources they had got used to at the end of the last century and thus, draw the attention to themselves using what has been left, mainly spreading hatred against potential enemy they are describing in so colourful way.
A five-page-long “invitation“ letter is a strange kind of representation of former politicians who ended up in the 20th century and they definitely belong there. However, the letter itself is a disgraceful thing because neither the European Union nor the countries of Central and East Europe need a tutor. None. Not even American. We are the members of the European Union and NATO and it is sufficient guarantee.
If gentlemen like Havel, Kováč, Bútora, Valesa and others do not believe the EU, it is their problem. However, they should not tell lies and mislead people saying that they are talking on behalf of all of us. Nevertheless, they are not because the USA, the EU and Russia, undoubtedly too, have already entered the 21st century and have already taken the first few steps on a very long and complicated way. However, it is the way full of a dialogue, the way leading to getting the positions closely, eliminating conflicts and continuous understanding of different positions. Václav Havel and his group, politicians and diplomats with “ex” in front, have the features of power politics of the previous century, fortunately, ex. If they want to, let them write but just for themselves.
 
JUDr. Milan Janičina
The President of Pan - Slavic Union  


Successful Slovakia in the safe world
„ Building unified policy of the EU to the relations with Russia is very important and essential as they skilfully use opinion diversity of the Union for pursuing its own interests but bilateral problems in political and economical areas of particular member states of the EU with the Russian Federation,” claims Miroslav Lajčák, the Minister of the Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic.
 
Róbert Matejovič
Photo: Vladimir Benko
 
He is the eighth Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic. He has been dealing with diplomacy and foreign policy for 21 years. Along with Eduard Kukan and Ján Kubiš, he is the third most famous diplomat in Europe and in the world. He was born in Poprad (1963), and he represents the middle-aged generation and pragmatic line of Slovak diplomacy. He graduated from the Faculty of the International Relations at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations and the Faculty of Law at Comenius University in Bratislava. He was extraordinary and plenipotentiary ambassador of the Slovak Republic in Japan (1994-1998) and for Yugoslavia (later Serbia and Monte Negro), Macedonia and Albania with the seat in Belgrade (2001-2005). In 2006, he was a personal ambassador of Javier Solana, a high representative of the EU for foreign and security policy of the European Union, for the referendum in Monte Negro. From July 1, 2007 to February 2009, he was a high representative of the international community and extraordinary representative of the European Union in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He speaks English, German, Russian, Serbian, Croatian and Bulgarian languages.
 
Mr Lajčák, you took over the post of the minister straight after you had arrived from Sarajevo. What motivated you to accept Prime Minister’s, Róbert Fico´s, offer and give up the career of a diplomat within the European Union? What were your ambitions when you were being assigned to the post of the leader of Slovak diplomacy?
This position is a great personal and professional challenge for me. It is something completely different compared to previous activities at the posts I held. The scope of work is rather different as well as criteria according to which the quality of the performance is evaluated. I feel strong responsibility and loyalty to the ministry. What also helps me at my post is that I know inner processes and wider area of international relations. My ambition has always been to help the Slovak Republic, strengthen its position as a reliable and trustworthy partner not only within the EU and NATO but in the global world as well.
 
The Slovak Prime Minister declared that one of your main priorities is to revive and strengthen economic dimensions of the diplomacy of the Slovak Republic in order to eliminate negative impacts of the financial and global crisis onto Slovak economy. How do you manage to fulfil this intention? What have you managed to improve so far?
At the time of crisis, the ministry focuses on three main areas- supporting export and promotion activities abroad, searching for the best solutions abroad and transmission of information on experience in other countries and searching for solutions within the international organizations including using our members much more effectively. What have we managed to do so far?
We have established the Section of the Economic cooperation and development help. We have reached a significant change in cooperation with entrepreneurship associations and we know what entrepreneurs expect based on our active communication. In July, we organized an entrepreneur exchange where entrepreneurs were given possibility to meet our ambassadors and directly inform them about opportunities and conditions for running a business in particular countries.
We have also intensified and improved communication with the Ministry of Economy. In June, the government approved our common materials about anti- crisis measures. We are preparing a common European Portal which will be a complex web sides for our and foreign entrepreneurs with an opportunity of direct access, information on the countries, markets, etc. In a short time, we will also prepare a common so-called catalogue of activities (paid and free of charge) that our entrepreneurs could you at our embassies abroad. We have also pursued the opportunity to search for sources within the EU to carry out our infrastructural projects: The Plan for revival the European economy (5 billion Euros), automotive industry and co-financing of the constriction of R1 and probably D1 as well with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
We have our own experts to help us to recover from crisis. They judge various proposals coming from the ministry itself and fro m our diplomatic representatives, arrange them according to their use and ability to be carried out.
Together with the Ministry of Economy of the SR and entrepreneurs, we are preparing to take steps in order to diversify export and support pursuing our economic interests in new, less frequent territories (Brazil, Russia, India, China, regions of Asia, the Middle and Far East- mainly the Arabian Gulf and chosen regions in Africa and Latin America).
 
You mandate for the post of the minister is valid until June 2010 when the mandate of the current government is over. What are and will be the priorities of Slovak foreign policy like?
Our long- term concept and the main priority of the foreign policy can be best expressed by the slogan ´Successful Slovakia in the safe world. Our priorities are based on the fact that we would like to be valid members of NATO and the European Union and develop good relations with our neighbours who, except for Ukraine, are also the members of the EU. Likely the EU and NATO, we pay more attention to west Balkan, Afghanistan and the countries of East Europe. It is natural that it is an advantage of a smaller country that if it finds its space within the process of formation of foreign and security policies of the EU, where it can be an added value like a unit.    
 
In which areas can Slovakia really influence the policy of the EU and NATO?
Our sustainable priority is to strengthen allied connection with all the member states of NATO and the EU. We will focus our attention on the east policy of the EU and latest initiations, Eastern partnership which presents an opportunity to get closer to the neighbour of the EU in the east. We would appreciate involvement of Russia. Energetic security is extraordinary priority for both Slovak policy and diplomacy.
One of the most important tasks of NATO is to elaborate a New Strategic Concept which is supposed to be approved at the next summit of the Alliance in Portugal. From logical point of view, one of the main tasks of Slovak foreign policy in the field of security is preparation of the Slovak position and attempt to pursue our priorities to be involved in this strategic document.  
Generally, it is the essential interest of Slovakia so that the EU and NATO were respected, attractive and successful players in the field of global foreign and security policies. We use our position in both organization to permanent protection of our and common interests.
 
It is said about Róbert Fico´s government that it is not so pro - American as Mikuláš Dzurinda´s one that accepted American (Bush’s) division of Europe into “Old and New (Pro - American) Europe.” What do you think about such a division of Europe? How do you evaluate current European - American relations, do they need new ´warming´ and a dialogue about strengthening mutual trust?
Barack Obama, a new American president, and his administration has given an opportunity to revive trans-Atlantic relations that are more important than ever before. We need strong trans- Atlantic partnership based on the policy of common values and principles. In 2004, Slovakia entered to the united European Union and united NATO and nothing has changed so far. Our key word is unity, not division of Europe and Alliance. And this is also the approach of Barack Obama’s administration towards its European partners. We also support this new trans- Atlantic dialogue, well- we are part of it.
 
Does the current EU have a clear and understandable east policy? Within its formation, Poland has been pursuing itself quite a lot, however, it does not have optimal relations with Russia and it accused of attempting to destabilize and divide Ukraine…
We are happy that the EU has accepted the concept of Eastern Partnership which realization is the priority of Swedish presidency. At our ministry, we have created a position of a coordinator for Eastern Policy whose main task is to prepare and define what Slovakia expects from Eastern Policy and what Slovakia meets.
Poland belongs to the most significant supporters of Eastern Policy including the integration ambitions of Ukraine. In terms of Russia, Poland would like to make progress in elaboration of a new agreement on partnership and cooperation during Swedish presidency. The summit EU- Russian Federation is planned to be held in Stockholm.
 
What is the position of Slovakia? How and in what way would you like to influence Eastern Policy of the EU?
Eastern Policy of the EU has been carried out in three dimensions: the European Neighbour Policy of East Direction (at present the project of Eastern Partnership), relations with Russia and with the countries of Central Asia.
Slovakia considers development of the common policy of the EU to the relations with Russia to be essential as Russia misuses opinion diversification of the EU for pursuing its interests as well as bilateral problems in political and economic areas of particular member states of the EU and the Russian Federation. Therefore, the issues of bilateral kind should not have negative influence on maintaining the common policy of the EU against Russia.
 
Over past years, the leaders of the EU have claimed that they see Russia as a strategic partner of the EU. They declared it at various summits and bilateral negotiations, and then on the other hand, they criticize Russia for the lack of democracy, human and civic rights, establishing a cult of V. Putin’s personality… Isn’t the EU a bit schizophrenic? Russia suits the Union as an energetic source (gas and oil) but not from political and military points of view as Russia is against NATO and its enlargement towards its borders. How does the EU respect the national and security interests of Russia? Is Russia a friend or an enemy of the EU?
First of all, I would like to point out that Russia is the partner and friend of the EU. It is not given just by European interests in Russian energetic sources where we have to talk about rather mutual economic dependence. Russia is a partner and a friend predominantly because in our opinion it belongs to European space (from civilization point of view) and its national interests are tied up with Europe. Europe is a mosaic of diversities with no condition to be the same in all aspects. And I do not see a problem in talking to a friend who makes mistakes our takes steps that we hardly understand, we can talk about them as well as he can talk about ours. Communication is vital and characterizes our responsibility and strength not about our weaknesses.  
 
The Russian Federation does not approve the project of Eastern Partnership as it can eliminate the influence of Russia in former states of the Soviet Union and forces those countries to face the decision- to be either with the EU or against Russia. The project does not offer them the membership in the EU but significant economic integration and free (without visa) travelling. Is it a gesture of creating common policy of the EU against Russia? Does Slovakia support this direction?
Predominantly, Eastern Partnership is not about phrases but about clearly defined policy of the Union against six east partners out of which Russia is not excluded. We always emphasise our Russian partners that logics of our approach and interest in cooperation within the Eastern Partnership is in accordance with Russian interests to have safe, predictable and stabile neighbours with working entrepreneurial and legal environment. This is exactly what this very pragmatic project is focused on. If it succeeds or not will depend on the will of those whom it concerns. In terms of this project, we were highly motivated by the attempt to stop viewing the relations with Russia and all East Europe through the concepts of influence of great powers in the 19th century and ideological hostility from the previous century.
Slovakia strongly supports the east dimension of the European neighbouring policy that is clear and more and more exact- it follows political and economic stability to the east from the borders of the EU. The crucial moment is those six countries from East Europe (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldavia and Ukraine) accepted the project of Eastern Partnership the May summit of the EU held in Prague.
First of all, it is about the progress in respecting basic values of democracy including the principles of a legal state and human rights as well as principles of the international law, market economy, sustainable development and good administration of public matters.
From our point of view, Swedish presidency presents a good chance for a good start up of an implementation phase of this partnership. Swedes perceive this politically important theme as the top priority within the programme document dedicated to the EU as a global partner. The main interest of Slovakia is to maintain the countries of East Partnership on its pro- European way and support trans- Atlantic dimension of cooperation. On the other hand, east partners have to show their maturity and ability to integrate, take over the standards valid in the EU and behaviour compatible with the political culture of the EU.
 
Let’s have a look at Balkan. Is it a crucial area of Slovak diplomacy?
Slovakia is an example of the country that managed the integration processes rather successfully. It is obvious that we offer our experience to countries that share a similar story and the same integration goals. At present, they are just the countries of West Balkan and East Europe. From the Slovak side, it is not just a sentiment or a kind of Samaritan deeds but awareness of importance of this region for security and stability but also prosperity of the EU. Balkan is for us one of our priorities.
 
Is it correct to divide Balkan into the west part and the rest?
West Balkan is a political definition and terminology that was implemented and used during French presidency. Balkan Peninsula is today a conglomerate of member, candidate and potential candidate countries of the EU. In diplomacy (and Brussels institutions use the same terminology), West Balkan is perceived as that part of south- east Europe to which, from geographical and political points of view, belong the countries whose European perspective is included in the agenda of the EU from Thessaloniki: Croatia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Monte Negro and Macedonia. West Balkan is de facto inside the Union.
 
Slovenia blocked the integration process with Croatia because of the border conflict in the Adriatic Sea. It Slovenian blockade in place, does Slovakia get involved in the conflict and which solutions does it support?
We consider the border conflict of Croatian and Slovenia as a bilateral issue that should be solved between these two countries. Slovakia supports O. Rehn´s initiative (Euro-commissar for enlargement) who is involved in this issue. We would welcome unblocking the integration process of Croatia to the EU. To pursue its interests, Slovenia uses all its mechanisms and means including those connected with the membership in the EU.
 
Monte Negro is perceived as a “Slovak child” that you as Javier Solana’s personal plenipotentiary for referendum helped it to be born. Do you think that independent Monte Negro was a right decision made by Montenegrins (55.4% voted for independence)? What has this country achieved as it is still economically dependent on Russia and Serbia and not on the European Union?
It is important what citizens of Monte Negro think. They expressed their opinions in the referendum. I elaborated its parameters and I am proud to say that they were democratic and legitimate. And they have always been respected, before and after referendum.
The independence of Monte Negro was declared in accordance with the international law and based on valid referendum of its citizens, we are not obliged to evaluate and comment decisions of citizens of an independent state. However, without any doubts, this event can be described as an ideal and legally entitled “divorce”.
This year, Monte Negro celebrated the third anniversary of its independence. It has showed a lot of effort in meting the visions of approaching to countries of united Europe- it is a part of the Partnership for Peace; it has signed the Stabilization and association agreement and has submitted the application to become the member of the European Union. And what is really important and unique in terms of Balkan- it has no conflicts and problems with its neighbours.
 
How does Slovakia help this country?
We help any other countries within the instruments we have- exchange of experience and knowledge, organizing professional internships. Slovakia has been perceived in Monte Negro in a very positive way. Since Slovakia contributed to the success of Montenegrin referendum, we have been helping the country on its way to the European Union and NATO. Exact support is being carried out in accordance with the bilateral agreement about developing help, projects focused on the environment, creating administration capacities and civic society.
 
Further existence of Bosnia and Herzegovina is being discussed at the moment. How long will this state survive as it is now?
I have no doubts about viability and perspectives of Bosnia and Herzegovina which is the member of the international community. And it really does not recognize any unilateral step disrupting territorial integrity of the country. Slovakia supports territorial integrity. Rumours or speculations about viability of Bosnia and Herzegovina are, in our opinion, irresponsible and unacceptable. The only way for the future development of the country is to reach political agreement with domestic representatives and institutions.
I see the basic problem in the fact that when the war ended 14 years ago, there was no answer given to the question why the war had really begun. Just to make thing less serious, I dare to say that when in other cases a well- known formulation by Prussian general Carl von Clausewitz is true, however, in case of Bosnia and Herzegovina it is the other way round- policy is just continuing in war but using different means.
 
Croatians in Bosnia are the most discontent, they require their own federation unit or they propose so that the state was transformed into three federal units and a district Sarajevo…
Let’s stop searching and looking as if Bosnia and Herzegovina is something different from what it is, i.e. one state that has international legal subjectivity, it has two entities and constitutive nations. And it cannot be changed, neither by power from outside nor inside. The problem that slows it down is the different explanations about what are the state and entity competences. It is really necessary to define them.
 
What will help to maintain this state if it is neither typical federation nor confederation?
The current state administration is not satisfactory for any of three constitutive nations. Croatians in Bosnia complain that Dayton Peace Treaty did not give them anything, that their rights and interests are not “taken into consideration”; they would like to split the country into more parts. However, it is not important what they think but what they all are able to agree on. Dayton Treaty includes sophisticated mechanisms that prevent two parts to ally against the third one. They all have to reach an agreement.
 
Do you think that the cantonal administration in this Muslim- Croatian federation is effective? Republika Srpska does not have any conflicts in terms of competences and that is why it is more flexible…
The constitutional reform is a key element for maintaining the stability of the country. Obviously, all three constitutive nations have their own idea about the administration of Bosnia and Herzegovina what is fully legitimate. Permanently sustainable solution is only the solution that will be based on the agreement and compromise of all three parties involved. The international community is ready to enter the issues; however, domestic parties will have to come up with an initiative.
While I was a high representative in Sarajevo, my legacy towards Bosnians, Bosnian Serbs and Croatians was unambiguous- stop walking in circles and forcing other two to accept their own vision of Bosnia as they all have enough experience and are old enough to understand that it is not possible. . They all have to accept this state as it is now, as their own state they have and they have to work for together so that they moved forward. The current constitution is only an enclosure no.4 to the Dayton Peace Treaty. It is high time Bosnia and Herzegovina had its own constitution which they will approve and pass in their own parliament.
However, it is difficult to say when this process will be completed. We are ready to continue helping our partners; we perceive the coming membership of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the post of a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, which is a sign of positive development.
 
In December 2009, the International Court Yard in Haag will start dealing with the issue of legitimism of a unilateral declaration of the so-called Kosovo Republic. Is Slovakia among the countries that have sent the court its legal opinion?
Yes. Slovakia belongs to the group of states that have sent their legal opinion.
 
Wasn’t the declaration of this republic hurried and thoughtless decision of Brussels administration and mainly of the leaders of the EU, if the court approves that the declaration was not in accordance with the international law, what will be the impact on the credit of the EU, on its common foreign and security policies? And what kind of influence will it have on the policy in divided Kosovo where it is not clear whether Kosovo Albanians would like to give a go to its “europeization” or replace its Kanun by the European legal norms and standards?
I would rather not prejudge the resolution of the court and speculate about the further development. Slovakia does not recognize the unilateral declaration of independent Kosovo and we find it very important so that these issues were solved in accordance with the international law and the UN Security Council Resolution 1244.
On the other hand, the Kosovo Republic is a fact itself, but we do not recognize the way how it was declared. Time flows only one direction and the development cannot be reversed. The fact that we insist on our political attitude does not mean that we cannot actively participate in resolving humanitarian, political and professional problems in cooperation with the EU and lead to stabilization of the situation in the Kosovo Republic. We are active and that is why we have soldier in Kosovo within KFOR and Slovak police professionals in the mission EULEX.
 
Why did Slovakia not recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia? Do you think that it is right to compare fates of these two republics and the Kosovo Republic and the way of declaration of their independence? South Ossetia used to be a part of unified Ossetia and Abkhazia used to be an independent county that had been violently annexed to soviet Georgia within the territorial and administration reform in the 1920s of the 20th century?
These republics declared independence in 1990 after the disintegration of the Soviet Union…
It is not right to compare these territories with resolving the state of Kosovo that is the case sui generis. The basic approach of Slovakia towards all serious or frozen international conflicts is and will be the requirement for fully respected principle of sovereignty and territorial integrity within the internationally recognized borders of individual countries. We refuse any steps that are against these principles. In terms of solving the international issues Slovakia is for consistent respect of the international law emphasizing on not using power. We disapproved Russian action taken against Georgia in August 2008 and its recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
Slovakia finds it very important to continue in Geneva process and in negotiations about modalities of security and stability in Abkhazia and South Ossetia whose aim is also to eliminate suffering of refugees from stricken areas.
 
What domains more in the issue of Slovak non- recognition of the Kosovo republic- national interest or respecting the international law? Is Slovakia afraid of Hungarian radicalism in South Slovakia and that is why we did not recognize the Kosovo Republic?
For Slovakia, it is national interest to respect international law. In case of the independence of the Kosovo Republic, we have always been for any legally undisputed action- the best agreement secured by the UN Security Council. At the same time we are interested in strengthening the stability and security in Kosovo and in the wider region regardless the status of Kosovo. Therefore, we decided to participate in the mission EULEX that we understand as a significant contribution to strengthening stability. I would like to point out that the mission EULEX and the problem of recognition of the independent Kosovo represent two separate issues. Our participation in the mission is not connected with the process of the recognition of the Kosovo Republic.
 
Why do Slovak politicians consider entire south of Slovakia as not ethnically “pure” with the majority of Slovak people but as a “ Hungarian region in Slovakia” and support both political and economic division of Slovakia into underdeveloped Hungarian and developed Slovak areas?
The Government of the Slovak Republic is attempting to achieve equal economic and social development of all the regions regardless the nations living there.
 
Slovak Hungarians are loyal citizens, apart from some exceptions, refuse radicalization. The part of the leaders of Hungarian minority appears to be a problem as they do not do objective and fair policy. Last time they did it in case of a new language law when they used insufficient PR of the Slovak government and the ministry of culture in this issue so that exported it abroad claiming that a new law threatens and eliminates the Hungarian minority and bilingualism… How does Slovak diplomacy face this “critic” that needlessly disrupts relations between Bratislava and Budapest?
It is definitely unacceptable to compare the language law to Nurnberg Laws and claim that it is holocaust. In terms of amendment of the law on the state language, unfortunately, we witness rude and purposeful misinterpretation campaign with an aim to internationalize the issue of this legal norm and aggrieve the name of Slovakia abroad.
The goal of amendment was to protect citizens of Slovak nationality living the regions where the Hungarian citizens live from discrimination so that the law was not the law for one or another side. The amendment of the criticized law deals with the use of minority languages only in cases of spreading language rights of minorities. The law does not extend to the use of English in private. We discuss these undeniable matters with our foreign partner. Slovakia is natural partners and allies. Our partnership is strengthened not just by our neighbourhood, cooperation within V4 but also the common membership in the EU and NATO: Our relations are standard, even in many areas above standard. Unfortunately, due to statements made by some irresponsible politicians, they are not perceived like that either at home and abroad.
We need to present each our political maturity and ability to solve any issues, ability to sit down and talk. When a mixed Slovak- Hungarian commission met because of the language law, Hungarian friends had no objections or comments. Instead of that they send letters to the UN and to other organizations. They have not realized that it is not the year 1990 and that we are somewhere else. Brussels and the international institutions expect us to be a good example for others and not to burden their agenda.
 
Isn’t Slovakia needlessly chasing “Hungarian demon of revanchist, chauvinism and irredentism” which is not supported in the EU? Why isn’t Slovakia more active in the Carpathian Region where more states are situated? Why does Slovakia not ask for collective rights and autonomy for the minority living in Hungary, the representation of minorities in the Hungarian Parliament?
You ask many important questions. First of all, Slovakia is a state based on the civic principle and we do not consider divisions according to nations as appropriate ones. But on the other hand, we really appreciate our minorities and we will always thoroughly respect minority rights. So these two concepts are not in contradiction.
We find it very important so that all the citizens of our country regardless their nationality and region felt in their state comfortable. And on the other hand we expect and suppose that our citizens will be loyal to the state they live in.
We openly discuss exact needs of Slovak minority in Hungary with our Hungarian partners at bilateral forums (for example within the mixed commission for minority matters). The issue of representation of Slovak minority in the Hungarian Parliament belongs to the questions that are regularly communicated from our side.
 
Was a right decision to integrate Albania as another member of NATO? Or was it purely American interest?
Integration of Albania in NATO is a result of a long- term attempt of this country. During that period, the government in Tirana showed permanent endeavour to meet all criteria necessary for the membership in the Alliance.
 
Do you consider Albania as more stable and democratic country than for example Ukraine?
Or has Albania suddenly recover from ruling family clans, corruption and organized crimes, ruling the Kanun? In which areas did Albania meet to become the member of NATO?
Compared to Ukraine, we could say that in Albania there was a wider support of the entire political spectrum and public for the membership in NATO, which, undoubtedly, contributed to the successful implementation of necessary reforms. All allies in the Alliance reached the same agreement. The last enlargement of NATO (Albania and Croatia) obviously showed that open door policy has been one of its priorities. Apart from that we are convinced that the trans- Atlantic integration of the countries in West Balkan will contribute in strengthening regional stability and security.
History reveals that transformational processes in any country with newly created democracy are unique and extraordinary because there is no universal model or instructions how to reach democracy which has been in the west for many years. These countries need to be treated individually in terms of meeting the criteria set.
 
When will the NATO´s new “strategic concept” be known? How did Slovakia involve in its elaboration?
The elaboration of the NATO´s New Strategic Concept is more than needed. “The old concept” dates back to 1999 and cannot cover all the aspects of political development in Europe and in the world for over the past ten years. Security situation has gone through many changes; there is an increasing threat on terrorism and spreading weapons of mass destruction.
Elaboration of the NATO New Strategic Concept fully started when A.F. Rasmussen had become a new general secretary of the Alliance. He assigned a group of experts who will be elaborating the first version of this document. The Alliance’s attempts that the entire process was fully transparent and so that wider number of experts took part. Approval of the new concept is scheduled for the coming summit of the Alliance in Portugal.
 
Does Slovakia support President Medvedev´s initiation to elaborate a new European security agreement?
Slovakia supports any initiation that will result in real improvement of security environment in Europe and in the world. Regarding President Medvedev´s initiation, however, let me point out, that we consider existing security mechanisms in Europe as satisfactory. Just political willingness is lacked sometimes. Together with allies, we are ready to discuss their improvement with Russia.
 
Weakness of Slovakia is still dynamics of using financial sources of the EU. You claim that it is high time Slovaks learnt to use the EU source more effectively. Where is the problem when we are aware of the number of state, regional and self- governmental officers and private companies have been dealing with this issue?
I do not think that dynamics of using financial funds from the structural funds and cohesive fund is our weakness. The level of using funds for the first programme period 2004 and 2006, which ended in June 2009 as the European Commission prolonged the period, was at the level of 102,3% to July 3, 2009. Progress in using the EU funds can be seen in reconstructed schools, modernized hospitals, constructed sewage tanks, sewage system and water pipe lines, repaired roads, motorways and improved railways.
Within the programme period 2007- 2013, Slovakia has 11.4 billion Euros available within the operational programmes of the National Strategic Reference Frame. These funs while being used reasonably and effectively and directed into national economy could help to renew trust and dynamics into economy and support employment.
In June, the Ministry of Construction and Regional Development of the SR, which is the coordination body, identified and analysed problem areas of implementation of operational programmes. Meanwhile they prepared a collection of measures in order to improve effective use of finances from the structural funds and cohesive fund that enable bodies managing operational programmes to respond better to new needs that appear due to economic crisis. The most frequent problems are ineffective setup of tender criteria, demanding administrative preparation of application forms for irreclaimable financial contributions for applicants, a lot of formal mistakes occurring in letters of application, faultiness of public tenders. New measures are based on experience of the first programme period and their aim is to make an access to the EU funds easier for Slovak users.
 
Slovakia tries to help other states within the development help. What are its present aims and priorities?
In the past, Slovakia occurred in the situation when we needed financial and material help, experience and advice from others as we were establishing state institutions of democratic society and in the process of integration to the EU. We used it and at present we are the member of the EU and OECD. Politeness and morality rules say that we are now in the position of the country ready to help those who would like to get approach.
The basic parameters of Slovak development help are defined in the middle-term strategy for the period 2009- 2013. It adjusts providing developing help of the Slovak Republic, involvement of Slovakia in the developing policy of the EU, territorial, sector and programme approach to bilateral development help, multilateral development help and providing planned humanitarian help.
From the territorial point of view, the Slovak development help goes to the countries in Balkan, Africa, the Commonwealth of Independent States, Asia and Central Asia. The basic priorities are establishing democracy, social and economic development and construction of infrastructure. In 2007, the Slovak Agency for the International Development Help and Cooperation was created; it was a significant step in the process of strengthening capacities of Slovakia to provide development help and cooperation.
According to the middle- term strategy, the programme countries are Afghanistan, Kenya, and Serbia. According to the middle- term strategy, the project countries are 16 countries of west Balkan, Africa, the CIS and Asia including Central Asia (Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Monte Negro, Ethiopia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kirgizia, Macedonia (the former Yugoslavia), Moldavia, Mongolia, Sudan, Tadzhikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.


Castle Dunajec in Niedzica
Should you be interested in life, fate and Slovak cultural minority in Poland, beauties of the Polish part of Spiš and Zamagurie that used to be the historical part of the Hungarian Kingdom and also the part of the war Slovak state, visit the originally Slovak village Nedec, at present lesser Polish and goral Niedzica. Michal Dočolomanský, an outstanding Slovak actor (25.3.1942) was born there and spent his first free years of his life there.
 
Frontier Fortress
This Spiš village was established by Franko from Frankašovce at the beginning of the 14th century. It is divided into two parts- lower, historical part which spreads in the valley of the stream Niedzicanka around St Bartholomew’s Church (Holy masses in Slovak language too) and upper part dominated by the Castle Dunajec. Later Gothic- Renaissance fortress was built between the years 1320 and 1326 at the place of the pre- historical fort above the right river bank of the Dunajec River which divides Slovak (in the past, Hungarian) and Polish state border. Nedeca was joined to Poland in 1920 together with 12 Spiš and 13 Orava villages, from November 1939 to May 1945; they belonged to the Slovak state. Despite plebiscite, in which 98% of Slovaks expressed their will to live in a renewed Czechoslovakia, President Beneš agreed with re - joining Slovak villages to Poland. However, 6,000 Slovaks ran back to Czechoslovakia after Polish violent attacks and they settled down in Kežmarok, Poprad and Svit, some of them went to Sudetenland.
 
Hotel, Restaurant and Café
Nedeca Castle Dunajec stands on the artificially created Czorsztyn Lake. The outline of the Castle can best be viewed from the ruins of Czorsztyn Castle on the other side of the lake. The Castle Dunajec used to play a significant role in the Hungarian Polish relationships and it was the centre of the county with possessions near the Dunajec River and Zamagurie. It was a place where the money (37 heaps of Prague silver coins) lent by the Polish king to the Hungarian king Sigismund had to be returned following an agreement signed in 1412. Once the loan was paid back, the Polish king returned the 16 Spiš towns given to him by Sigismund as collateral (after 300 years). For centuries the castle was a border-post with Hungary.
The current Castle, which is partially accommodated, consists of three parts- upper, central and lower castle. There is a hotel, a café and a restaurant. In 1948, the Polish Ministry of Culture put the Group of Historians in charge of the castle administration. They have been looking after it since then.
 
Ideal Weekend Tourism
Nedeca is an ideal weekend place for relax, sports and pleasant walks all year long. It is on a cycling tourist way which has a few attractions, for example Pieniny National Park (19km), Zakopane (30 km), Červený kláštor - the museum (8 km), Belianska Cave (22 km), The Museum of Zamagurie Village (30 km), the Castle of Ľubovňa (30 km), Holumnica – ruins (26km), The Castle of Podolinec and the town fortification system- Podolínec (24 km). Other cycling paths lead to get to know other Slovak Spiš village, their Sheppard’s´ huts, wooden churches, rural gastronomy - Jurgov (Jurgów), Čierna Hora (Czarna Góra), Lapšanka (Lapszanka), Nová Biela (Nowa Biala), Krempachy, H. and D. Lapše (W. a N. Lapsze), Frydman, Kacviň (Kacwin). An interesting cycling path leads from Nedece via Kacviň, Veľká Franková, Spišské Hanušovce, Magurské Sedlo, Toporecké Sedlo, Haligovce, Červený Kláštor, Sromowce Niżne (border crossing) a back to Nedece. Another cycling path goes through villages Łopuszna - Dębno - Frydman - Nedeca Castle - Kacviň - Nižné Lapše - Trybš - Przełom Białki – Łopuszna. It is 55 kilometres long, with a super elevation of 470 meters taking approximately 3:45 hours. However, the most beautiful cycling path is around the Czorsztan Lake with its beauties and peaceful bays.


Pick up your olives or mandarins
Velaris, a tourist resort will offer you the sea, a healthy countryside, intimate atmosphere, comfort and well organised congress tourism in Brac. The combination of Dalmatian charm and New Zealand architecture is well blended in the construction of pavilions Vrilo and Vlacica as well as four star hotel Amor.
 
Róbert Matejovič
Photo: the archive of the company Velaris
 
From September to the end of November, you can experience the authentic life and pleasant Dalmatian autumn on the Island of Brac, the largest Dalmatian island. The tourist resort Velaris is situated on the outskirts of the town Supetar and even after the days of summer are finished it will offer you a wide choice of services. One of the most interesting happenings for this time of the year are definitely long weekend, eight or fourteen- day organized family and individual programmes. Come and experience the spirit and taste of the Island of Brac. Remind yourself what the Mediterranean used to be and what is it like today.
 
Tourist resort Velaris is located in the park like setting between pine and olive trees which perfectly blends with their own pebble and sandy beach offering its guests a choice of sun or shade at the same time. The resort offers pleasant accommodation, high quality Dalmatian cuisine, sport, relaxing and adrenaline experiences.
 
Country Tourism Hits
“Picking mandarins on the plantations of the island of Brac, or one of the most attractive packages we offer, traditional Dalmatian Olives picking with everything that belongs to it, is definitely the hit of this season. Our guests will have a chance to be a part of the Brac Olive picking team, and to experience the whole process from working in the olive grove, learning various techniques of olives collection, to visiting the factory for production of olive oil and be able to learn the secrets of domestic and industrial production of this high - quality product ,“ says Mrs. Mirela Leko, marketing and sales manager of Velaris d.o.o. “Our guests will experience something new every single day. They can cook their own traditional peasant meal and bake traditional cakes, they can visit the monastery Blaca and its museum which is fitted in the rock, they will observe life in an autochthonic village Pod Gažul and will taste home- made sheep cheese and pršut ( smoked ham),” Mrs. Leko continues. She returned to Croatia from the USA where she had lived for 11 years. As she told me, the programme Velaris Dalmatian Olive Picking Experience also includes a trip to the highest peak on the Adriatic Sea- Vidova Gora (778m) where you can enjoy a magnificent unique view of the Central Dalmatian Archipelago and one of the most famous beaches in Europe- the beach called Golden Horn (Zlatni Rat). The programme also involves the visit to the town of Split and the well- known Diocletian’s Palace.
 
The most prestigious tourist centre
The tourist resort Velaris is one of the most attractive destinations on the Island of Brac. This oasis of peace and silence as it is called was built by Ivan Šimunovič´s family firm. They bought the original complex of buildings and sites (55,000 square meters) from the pharmaceutical company Pliva.
Between the years 2006 and 2007, they invested almost 15 million euros into modernization of accommodation capacities and the entire infrastructure.
“Our aim was to build the most prestigious tourist centre on the Island of Brac which joins both high-quality comfort and pleasant domestic atmosphere. The Hotel Amor is an ideal choice for more demanding guests, intellectuals and entrepreneurs who would like to rest from the everyday stress. The Hotel Amor is also an inspiration for couples who came here to strengthen their relationships while being surrounded by Brac olive trees,” says Ivan Šimunovič, a native from the village Dračevice and a significant Croatian entrepreneur in New Zealand where he emigrated in the 1950s. He established the biggest fishing fleet in New Zealand and became the biggest producer and seller of fish and a respected “king of scampi”. He succeeded not only in the market in New Zealand but also in Australia, Japan and Africa.
 
Tebe
When he sold his firm six years ago, his family belonged to the wealthiest families in New Zealand. Mr. Simunovich invested the money not only in purchasing real estates in Brac but also in establishing a prestigious restaurant Bracu in Auckland. Together with his wife Branka, Mr. Simunovic set up a new family firm Simunovich Olive Estate which became famous in New Zealand for producing olive oil and cosmetics, creams and soaps made out of olive oil and olive leaves under the brand Tebe for women, men and children.
“We created the largest olive plantation in New Zealand in the area of 150 hectares situated 40 kilometres to the south from Auckland. We have 43,000 olive trees on the virgin slopes of the Bombay Hills. Our pure wells enabled us to produce organic and ecological products of a high quality,” explains Ivan Šimunovič who appreciates not just the olive products but the olive trees themselves. Investing his money in Brac, his plan was to assure that his children and grandchildren keep the connection to their original country Croatia.
“Complementary sets are placed in each room of hotel Amor for our guests to test. And they are also available in hotel’s lobby for them to purchase the products they would like to take along. Even the design of cosmetics itself perfectly blends with the interior of the hotel with a touch and inspiration coming from New Zealand,”adds Mrs. Leko.
 
Accommodation and Congress Offer
The accommodation of this four star hotel consist of 48 beautifully decorated and air-conditioned rooms and two apartments which are available all year long. Their philosophy is to offer guests private and family atmosphere with the service on the very high professional level. All the rooms are with SAT/TV, the Internet connection, a safe, a mini bar and a hairdryer. There is an outdoor swimming pool, a wellness and fitness centre, a beauty salon, a hairdresser and pedicure. There are three restaurants available- Velaris with the capacity of 300 people, á la carte Amor (50 people) and a beach restaurant Vela Luka (50 people).
“Throughout the year, we organize wedding receptions and honey moon stays at the hotel Amor. At Christmas time, we organize a three- day Christmas fair where we want to present an offer of producers on the Island of Brac. Our congress hall has the capacity of 250 people and the latest technical and sound equipment. There is a smaller hall ideal for private meetings for up to twenty people located on the top floor of our hotel with a big terrace and the sea view that stretches from Trogir to Omiš. We would like our guests and the companies from Central Europe to discover our hotel as a potentional place for their meetings and team building needs,” Mrs.Leko states. “We are also able to offer the transportation to our organised group visitors with our own bus, capacity 32 seats.”
The company Velaris recently partnered with Aldura Sport from Sutivan. For all the guest that enjoy spending their vacation actively and would like to try one of this activities such as afting on the River of Cetina, fish picnics, safari drives, off- road biking, tracking, canoeing to the hidden beaches not accessible by a car, Velaris right place to be. Big Game Fishing or private day trips on Fresh Water II, a 13- meter- long motor yacht around Brac, the Island of Hvar and Trogir are the cherry on the top of their offer. These destinations are interesting and attractive all year long and it is your choice to pick the season of your taste.


Libertas is leading the way
We want pan-European politics, not a bureaucratic and undemocratic EU. 80% of the laws that will affect voters’ lives are passed by unelected Commissioners behind closed doors. the EU spent €28m on promoting the European parliamentary elections.
 
Declan Ganley, an Irish entrepreneur, a founder and president of Libertas
Photo: the archive of Libertas, the European Commission
 
“Unlike many in Brussels, we respect the judgement of European voters,” says Declan Ganley, the founder of Libertas, a pan-European party that contested European Parliament seats in all 27 EU countries and was widely credited with Ireland’s ‘No’ vote on the Lisbon treaty last year.
 
The announcement that Libertas candidates would be running for election right across the EU’s 27 member states in the European Parliament elections generated great attention among fellow pro-Europeans. For years, the many who support European integration but resent the bureaucratic and undemocratic behemoth of the EU have been faced with frustrating choices at the ballot box. There has, of course, been a plethora of parties that oppose the EU, but most have run on a nationalist and eurosceptic banner. It’s a standpoint that appals me and the many volunteers who have supported Libertas before, during and since last year’s Irish ‘No’ vote.
 
Ugly Response to the Irish
Books have been written on the many positives European integration brings, but simply reiterating the four main freedoms – of movement, goods, services and capital – which have flourished during 50 years of peace and prosperity serve to neatly summarise its attributes.
Yet it’s hard to remember these incredible freedoms when faced with the ugly response of Europe’s political elites to the Irish electorate’s rejection of the Lisbon treaty. The utter contempt shown to voters has been staggering and time and time again we saw the Irish people insulted. From Germany’s Dublin ambassador Christian Pauls and his sly insinuations about how many voters came from rural communities to the unnamed official who referred to the Irish as ‘bastards’, we saw that these unelected officials did not just view elections as a problem to be negotiated; they were quite simply bewildered as to why you would ask European voters for anything other than their taxes. The people ‘do not understand’ the Lisbon treaty, just as they did not understand the Nice Treaty, and just as the French and the Dutch did not understand the Constitution. The workings of European government are apparently too complex to be understood by mere citizens: They can only be interpreted by the experts.
 
 (Libertas has one member of the European Parliament- Philipp de Villiers, a French politicians and the president of the Movement for France. He is the member of the Group of Europe of Freedom and Democracy)


Serbian Media Market
Crisis cumulates, however, the government looks for the way how to suport national and local media
 
Rastislav Durman, Media critic (Serbia)
Photo: the archive
 
It is difficult to estimate the impact of the world crisis on media in Serbia. Keeping in mind the fact that during the past twenty years the Serbian media had already been experiencing various difficulties, it is reasonable to say that global economic crisis has not initiated the crisis in media but has only aggravated it, the current situation being only a cumulative effect of the events in our recent history, amplified by the action or failure to act by all the players in this media game (from the state to the broadcasters), but also by a sequence of unfortunate events.

Charisma and the Imperial Presidency
(Part II)
 
President Obama is now presiding over an expanding war in which „manhunters“ engaging in systematic assassination programs will not only be on the ground but, thanks to the CIA‘s escalating program of targeted assassination by robot aircraft, in the skies over the Pakistani tribal borderlands.
 
Tom Engelhardt (The Nation, the co-founder of the American Empire Project)
Photo: Pete Souze, Michael Gross (U.S. State Department), Freddy E Gurwell (US Army SFC)
Titles and subtitles: Dimenzie
 
While Obama enthusiasts can take pride in the appointment of some out-of-the-box thinkers in domestic areas, including energy, health and the science of the environment, in two crucial areas his appointments are pure old-line Washington and have been so from the first post-election transitional moments. His key economic players and advisers are largely a crew of former Clintonistas, or Clintonista wannabes or proteges like Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner. They are distinctly inside-the-boxers, some of them responsible for the thinking that, in the 1990s, led directly to this catastrophic economic moment.



Dialogue with Substance
Walter H.J.Smeitink-MÜhlbacher (1963, Doetinchem) is a Dutch fine art pedagogue and an editor. In the years 190 and 1985, he achieved fine art education in Nijmegen with a specialization on crafts, history of art and fabric creations. After graduating from school to 1993, he worked as a teacher - specialist at Lyceum of Graphics in Dutch Utrecht. Since 1994, he has worked as a fine artists, publisher, fine art advisor and assignee of exhibitions. So far, he has prepared over eighty independent exhibitions in various Dutch cities, in Germany and the Czech Republic where he has one of his three fine art studios in Jaroměřice nad Rokytnou. In September, his exhibition will be held in Košice.
His pictures are not about space or replicas. They reflect characters that symbolize spiritual legacy of the history of Christianity. They are coming out of the paint like icons uncovered by a scarper of a restorer underneath over - painted pictures.
Figural theme has slowly been replaced by geometrical shapes, especially hexagons.
In his new works, he also uses newly - created shapes that remind us of early Christian and pre - Christian signs and symbols. His canvases also reveal reflexions of Chinese and Japanese calligraphy.


 

Dimenzie No.5/2020Merkel's hypocrisy towards Russia
Brussels is pushing the EU into an abyss
Beckov Castle
Hungary at the gates of victory?
The beauty and value of traditional clothing
He does not feel Russophobia
How do you comment on the interference of the EU and Slovakia in the internal affairs of Belarus?
"Therapeutic Education of C...Read more
Dimenzie No.4/2020Belarus wants Lukashenko, not the West
Horný Šariš in the MAKOS network
The Spring of the Krupa River
Knight´s Ozalj
The Nazis were defeated mainly by Soviet citizens
New Pan-European Order
New Challenges for Romania
What are the strengths and weaknesses of Prime Minister Matovič?
Let's get psychologists out of school<...Read more