France and Slovakia

Presentation

Political relations

The bilateral relationship between France and Slovakia is set against the background of a strategic partnership implemented in 2008, whose action plan was renewed in 2013. This helped to boost dialogue, develop economic ties (cross-investment, trade and tourist exchanges) and make cultural cooperation a reality, particularly in the field of education.

Visits

The President of the French Republic travelled to Bratislava on 29 October 2013 for the 20th anniversary of Slovak independence. This was the first visit by a French President to Slovakia since its independence in 1993. He travelled to Bratislava again on 19 June 2015 to participate in the meeting of prime ministers of the Visegrad Group. On that occasion, he met with the President of the Slovak Republic, Mr Andrej Kiska. The President of the French Republic hosted the Slovak Prime Minister, Mr Robert Fico, for a working lunch in Paris on 22 June 2016 ahead of the Slovak presidency of the European Union. Mr Andrej Kiska carried out the first official visit to France by a President of the Slovak Republic on 22 November 2016.

The French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Jean-Marc Ayrault, welcomed his Slovak counterpart, Mr Miroslav Lajčák, for a working dinner on 25 May 2016 in Paris. They met as part of a ministerial meeting of the Visegrad Group on 27 June 2016 in Prague which was extended to include France and Germany. Mr Lajčák participated in a round-table on the European Union, during the ambassadors’ week on 1st September 2016 in Paris. The French Minister of Foreign Affairs also visited Bratislava on 10 March 2017 to meet his Slovak counterpart.

The French Minister of State for European Affairs, Mr Harlem Désir, visited Bratislava on several occasions. Firstly for a bilateral meeting and working group with his counterparts from the Visegrad Group, Germany, Bulgaria and Romania, on 30 September 2014, and also for a preparatory visit for the Slovak presidence of the European Union on 27 May 2016. He met with his Slovak counterpart, Mr Ivan Korčok, for a working dinner on 14 September 2015 in Paris.

Economic relations

France is the 11th biggest investor in Slovakia (stock of €884 million, with 400 companies employing 30,000 people) and is Slovakia’s 6th biggest trading partner with annual trade of €6.5bn and a chronic deficit of over €1bn, taking into account industrial value chains, notably in the automotive industry. PSA – along with many of its suppliers – has been in Slovakia since 2003 and is continuing to invest in the country. In the tertiary sector, Orange, which has been present in Slovakia since 1997, is the country’s leading mobile telecommunications operator. Veolia is very present in the field of heating networks. French construction companies Colas, Vinci and Bouygues are well placed in Slovakia. France also has a large range of companies in the financial services sector (insurance, credit and banking services). The Slovak authorities wish to attract French capital, particularly in certain priority sectors: road infrastructure, energy – especially nuclear energy – , digital technology and defence.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

Educational, linguistic, university and scientific cooperation:
Linguistic and educational cooperation between France and Slovakia is based on a network which includes the Institut Français in Bratislava, two Alliance Française in Banská Bystrica and Košice, and 17 French lecturers. Four bilingual French-Slovak units, which recently received the “FrancÉducation” label, teach some 700 students in the best high schools of Bratislava, Banská Bystrica, Košice and Trenčin. The French School of Bratislava is accredited with the local school system.

An arrangement regarding educational, linguistic, university and scientific cooperation for the 2016-2019 period was signed on 22 November 2016 during President Kiska’s visit to Paris. This agreement paved the way for the creation of a French lycée in Bratislava for the beginning for the 2017 academic year, which will offer a double certification with both the French “baccalauréat” and the Slovak “maturita”.

Slovakia has been a member of the International Organisation of La Francophonie (IOF) since 2002.

Commemorations:
France played a central role in the creation of the Czechoslovakian state following the First World War. The commemoration of the centenary of Czechoslovakia and the death of the Franco-Slovak General Štefánik, in 2018-2019, will see the start of a Franco-Slovak cooperation programme which will notably provide for an exhibition and television series centred on the symbolic character of Štefánik. The centenary of the creation of the Czechoslovakian army will be celebrated in Darney, France, on 29 June 2018.

Ambassador of the Slovak Republic in France: Mr Marek Eštok (since May 2010).
Ambassador of France in Slovakia: Mr Christope Leonzi (since September 2016)
President of the France-Slovakia friendship group in the National Assembly: Mr François Rochebloine (Union of Democrats and Independents)
President of France-Slovak Republic group in the Senate: Ms Hélène Conway-Mouret (Socialist and Republican Group)

Updated: 09/06/2017

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