The interview with the Deputy Permanent Representative of Slovakia to the European Union Alexander Micovčin
Alexander Micovčin, the Deputy Permanent Representative of the Slovak Republic to the European Union, played the crucial role in enabling us to welcome the diplomats from the preparatory body COREPER I of the Council of the European Union at U.S. Steel Košice. The Slovak Ambassador was also included in the visit to our steelmaking plant in Eastern Slovakia. Part of the agenda of the preparatory body is also competitiveness, concerning the European steel industry in particular. Despite his busy agenda, our representative from Brussels could find some time and responded to several questions for Oceľ východu.
Why did you decide to come to the east of the republic?
This relates to our Presidency of the EU Council. The newly-elected country always organizes such a journey for its partners, the members of COREPER I, and it is up to the country which region is selected. We decided for Košice since this city is interesting from several points of view. You are an IT city with plenty of young people, you have universities here, you were the European Capital of Culture 2013 and currently also the European City of Sport. Of course, industry is here as well. Several of these activities fall within the COREPER I agenda and that is why we chose Košice. We could not omit your company since you are one of the biggest employers in Slovakia, significantly participating in the generation of gross domestic product. Not to mention the fact that you are a significant supplier for car manufacturers.
Slovakia has held the EU Council Presidency since July 1. What are our priorities?
There are a lot of priorities. You are probably most interested in the steel industry. Yes, this is a really hot issue going through several presidencies. Of course, Europe must adopt some measures to improve the current conditions and support the industry on the old continent. However, during our Presidency, we will have several legislative proposals in the field of power industry and climatic changes on the table too. The Paris Convention (Convention of 195 countries worldwide on climate change concluded in Paris in December 2015 – editorial note) is on our table and should be presented for ratification. We need to deal with the system of emissions quota trading or its new mechanism adjustment too.
During the presentation you heard where the contemporary problems of the steel industry lie according to our company. How do you perceive the whole situation?
The problems are identical, yet we need to differentiate between two things. When we were not the country holding the Presidency, we stood up for national issues. During the Presidency, we have to be an impartial mediator, and national issues should be suppressed at this time; it will be necessary to look for a compromise in the "twenty-eight group". We believe a solution suitable for all could be found.
Did today's visit come up to your expectations?
I think so. I have heard only positive responses from my colleagues so far. From our point of view, it was important to present to other diplomats what is most important in Košice and the Košice Region. It is good that the messages coming loud and clear also from other member states of the EU were included in your Vice President's presentation.