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Slovakia - Harlem Désir’s visit to Bratislava (May 27, 2016)

Minister of State for European Affairs Harlem Désir will be in Bratislava today.

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France and Slovakia

Bilateral relations

Relations between France and Slovakia are governed by a strategic partnership agreement that was signed in Paris on 17September2008 by the President of the French Republic and the Slovak Prime Minister, MrRobertFico. This partnership is based on an action plan with five areas of focus (political, military, energy-related, economic and administrative), which are the subject of several sector-specific bilateral agreements.

A new strategic partnership action plan for 2013-2018 was signed during the visit of the President of the French Republic to Bratislava on 29October2013, which was the first visit made by a French President since Slovakia gained independence in 1993. This visit coincided with the twentieth anniversary of Slovak independence and was therefore greatly symbolic for both countries.

The President of the French Republic returned to Bratislava on 19June2015 for the meeting of the Prime Ministers of the Visegrad Group. On that occasion, he met with the President of the Slovak Republic, MrAndrej Kiska.

The French Minister of Foreign Affairs, MrLaurent Fabius, received his Slovak counterpart, MrMiroslav Lajcák, for a meeting on 17November2015.

The French Minister of State for European Affairs, MrHarlem Désir, received his Slovak counterpart, MrIvan Korcok, on 14September2015 for a working dinner in Paris. One year earlier, on 30September2014, the Minister of State travelled to Bratislava for a bilateral meeting and a work session with his counterparts from the Visegrad Group and from Germany, Bulgaria and Romania.

In 2015, France was Slovakia’s sixth largest trade partner, accounting for around 4.5% of its total trade. Bilateral trade rose by 12% compared with 2014. Exports of French goods to Slovakia totalled €2.47billion in 2015 (+10.7% compared with 2014) and imports of Slovak goods to France totalled €3.48billion (+13% compared with 2014). The bilateral trade deficit rose to around €1billion due to the greater increase in imports compared to exports.

In terms of foreign direct investment, France ranks eleventh, with stock of €409million. A total of 389French subsidiaries employ nearly 29,000people. Notable French investment in Slovakia in recent years includes that of PSA Peugeot-Citroën, which produces Peugeot 208 and Citroën C3 Picasso cars there. This company’s new site (in a country that has since become the world’s leading producer of cars per inhabitant) led to the arrival of around thirty French car parts manufacturers, which had a knock-on effect on the building and public works sector and the regional economy. French brands rank second after Volkswagen/Škoda, with a 20% share of the new vehicle market in Slovakia.

Academic, scientific and technical cooperation

Academic, scientific and technical cooperation is centred on the Franco-Slovak University Institute (IUFS - an association under local law that groups all French study courses in Slovakia) and the Franco-Slovak Hubert Curien Partnership “Štefánik”, in addition to over fifty innovation and scientific research projects, led by French and Slovak teams, since 2005. French experts provide training in the nuclear sector for Slovak engineering students and graduates. A FabLab for the design and manufacture of 3D objects was opened in late 2014 in collaboration with Bratislava City Hall, the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava and DassaultSystèmes.

In the field of science, the focus is on energy and climate issues and the digital sector. Public awareness-raising events such as science cafés, a seminar, a green picnic and exhibitions are being organized around the theme of the Paris Agreement on climate change. In the digital sector, an international conference will be held on 7 and 8July2016, in partnership with the Visegrad Group, on the internet of things, with the aim of promoting French SMEs and start-ups in central Europe.

France is the sixth most popular destination for Slovak students and the second most popular destination within the Erasmus system (400students).

Educational and lingistic cooperation

Educational and linguistic cooperation is based on a network comprising the Institut Français in Bratislava, which is providing French lessons for senior civil servants in preparation for the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2016; two branches of the Alliance Française in Kosice and Banska Bystrica; and 16French language assistants. There are four Franco-Slovak bilingual sections, which were recently awarded the “France Education” label, with around 700pupils, in top secondary schools in Bratislava, Banska Bystrica, Kosice and Trencin. The French International School in Bratislava, which moved to new premises in September2014, has been accredited under the local school system.

Every year since 1991, young Slovaks have been taught at Camille Jullian Lycée in Bordeaux, which has the only Franco-Slovak section in France.

Slovakia became an observer at the International Organisation of La Francophonie (IOF) at the Beirut Summit in 2002.

Cultural cooperation

Our cultural cooperation focuses on artistic creation in all its contemporary forms, including painting, applied arts, theatre and contemporary music. The Institut Français in Slovakia, which is in central Bratislava, is an attractive showcase, with its new digital multimedia library (inaugurated by the President of the French Republic on 29October2013), a tourism area, temporary exhibitions and a film club. External events include a French film week, which has been held annually since 2014.

Cultural debate focuses on the theme of the city, especially urban development and the energy transition.

A prize for achievements in the field of Franco-Slovak cultural relations, the Weiner-Kral prize, was awarded for the first time to the Slovak glass artist Jan Zoritchak on 23October2014. In 2015, MsSimoneBrunau, former director of the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, and MsMaria Horvathova, chair of the Fine Arts Council of Slovakia, were jointly awarded this prize.

The cultural, scientific and technical programming budget of the French Embassy was €739,000 in 2016.

- Chair of the France-Slovakia Friendship Group at the French National Assembly: MrFrançois Rochebloine (Union of Democrats and Independents)
- Chair of the France-Slovak Republic Friendship Group at the French Senate: MsHélène Conway-Mouret (Socialist and Republican Group)
- French Ambassador to the Slovak Republic: MrDidier Lopinot (since September2013)
- Slovak Ambassador to France: MrMarek Estok (since May2010)

Updated: 28/04/2016



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