Academic journal article International Issues & Slovak Foreign Policy Affairs

The Beginnings of Slovak Foreign Policy

Academic journal article International Issues & Slovak Foreign Policy Affairs

The Beginnings of Slovak Foreign Policy

Article excerpt

Today itseemsnaturaltoaskmany questions connected with the expression of Slovak foreign policy - mainly conceptual questions but also institutional ones. Surprisingly, the current status of Slovakia as a full-fledged member of the European community, after 20 years of dynamic development, for some is not a sufficient enough reason to systematically return to the past and think about the beginnings of Slovak foreign policy, in order to reveal its motivations and the behavior of the politicians at the time. For others, 20 years is too short a time to leave the evaluation of this period solely in the hands of historians, and not see that these beginnings of Slovak foreign policy also provide us with important messages and lessons for the present. When we wish to look back, with whatever motivation, we find - in the Slovak bibliography covering these 20 years of foreign policy - many works of political journalism, as well as essays, studies, and memoirs. Many of them are written from the perspective of a direct witness, which in regard to particular questions is naturally biased according to party affiliation. Moreover, some works use as the basis of their interpretation a later period, after 1994, by which time the original Slovak integration plans were halted. What we must realize, then, is that our picture of the beginnings of Slovak foreign policy can be complete only if it is objectively placed in a wider domestic and international political context, in which the first conception of foreign policy was born and its ideological starting point shaped. This, however, will be possible only after an interval of longer than 20 years, when the possibility that recent history will be a tool in the hands of politicians will be minimized.

Forfamiliarizing oneself with thefoundations of Slovakforeign policy, there is available the view of Miroslav Mojzita in his book,1 which offers the mostcomplex picture to date of nascent Slovak foreign policy, its significance lying in the fact that it does not evaluate the events, but leaves that task to the reader The discussion found within this publication concerning Slovak national and state interests is a testimony to the high level of foreign-political thinking existing in Slovakia even before its independence. Another comprehensive contribution to the study of the beginnings of Slovak foreign policy and its development is the work of Alexander Duleba, Miroslav Wlachovsky and Pavol Lukác.2 Without wishing to ignore other important contributions, one publication that should be mentioned is the series Dokumenty k zahranicnej politike Slovenskej republiky [Documents on the foreign policy of the Slovak Republic], which originated in 1993 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic. Its aim was to offer an authentic resource for Slovak foreign policy and at the same time systematically to build the institutional memory of the ministry The ministry published this series until 1994, when its publication was terminated. The documents included in the series map out the first activities of Slovak foreign policy, the speeches of constitutional politicians (both formal and informal], and diplomatic correspondence^], as they responded to the current needs and goals of the time in which they originated. They represent one of the resources for the study of the activities of Slovak foreign policy during the first two years of its existence, and they contribute to the understanding of the development of the thinking and argumentation of Slovak foreign policy representatives during that short period.

Slovak foreign policy - first tasks

The concept of Slovak foreign policy at the time of its origin was not worked out in detail as we know it today, but it did have well-defined integration priorities which the government had negotiated at the end of December 1992. In April 1993 further specific tasks and priorities were added to this concept. The first complex evaluation of the foreign policy steps that had been taken in 1993 was presented at the National Council of the Slovak Republic by the Foreign Minister Jozef Moravcik in February 1994. …

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