France and Slovakia

Presentation

Political relations

Our bilateral relationship is built on the 2008 strategic partnership, of which the action plan was renewed in 2013. It has helped intensify dialogue, develop economic ties (cross-investment, trade, tourist flows), and bring about cultural cooperation, particularly in the educational field.

Visits

The French President visited Bratislava on 29 October 2013 for the 20th anniversary of Slovakia’s independence. This was the first visit by a French President to Slovakia since independence in 1993. He returned to Bratislava on 19 June 2015 for the meeting of the Prime Ministers of the Visegrad Group. On that occasion, he met with the President of the Slovak Republic, Mr Andrej Kiska. The French President received the Slovak Prime Minister, Mr Robert Fico, for a working lunch in Paris ahead of the Slovak Presidency of the European Union, on 22 June 2016. Lastly, Mr Andrej Kiska made the first official visit of a Slovak President to France on 22 November 2016.

The French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Mr Jean-Marc Ayrault, received his Slovak counterpart, Mr Miroslav Lajčák, for a working dinner on 25 May 2016. They met again during a ministerial meeting of the Visegrad Group, expanded to include France and Germany, in Prague on 27 June 2016. Mr Lajčák took part in a round table on the European Union, during the Ambassadors’ Week in Paris, on 1 September 2016. Mr Ayrault visited Bratislava on 10 March 2017 to meet with his Slovak counterpart.

The French Minister of State for European Affairs, Mr Harlem Désir, has visited Bratislava on several occasions: bilateral meeting and working meeting with Visegrad Group, German, Bulgarian and Romanian counterparts on 30 September 2014; preparatory visit for the Slovak Presidency of the European Union, on 27 May 2016. He received his Slovak counterpart, Mr Ivan Korčok, for a working dinner in Paris on 14 September 2015.

Economic relations

France is the eleventh-largest investor in Slovakia (€884 million in foreign direct investment stock, with 400 businesses employing 30,000 people) and its sixth-largest trading partner (€6.5 billion in trade each year, with a persistent French deficit of €1 billion relating to industrial value chains, particularly in the automobile sector. PSA, like a number of its suppliers, has been established in Slovakia since 2003 and continues to invest. In the services sector, Orange is the leading mobile telephone operator in the country, where it has been present since 1997. Veolia is very present in the heating networks field. French construction companies are also well established in Slovakia, such as Colas, Vinci and Bouygues. We also have a wide range of businesses in the financial services sector (insurance, credit and banking services). The Slovak authorities aim to attract French investment, especially in certain key sectors such as road infrastructure, energy (particularly nuclear), digital technology and defence.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

Educational, linguistic, academic and scientific cooperation

Educational and linguistic cooperation is based on a network comprising the Institut Français in Bratislava; two branches of the Alliance Française in Košice and Banská Bystrica; and 17 French language assistants. There are four Franco-Slovak bilingual sections, which were recently awarded the “France Education” label, with around 700 pupils, in top secondary schools in Bratislava, Banská Bystrica, Košice and Trenčin. The French school in Bratislava is accredited with the local school system.

An arrangement on educational, linguistic, academic and scientific cooperation for the period 2016-2019 was signed on 22 November 2016 during President Kiska’s visit to Paris. This text opens the way for the creation of a French lycée (school) in Bratislava in 2017, offering double certification: French baccalaureate and Slovak maturita.

Slovakia has been an observer member of the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) since 2002.

Commemorations

France played a central role in the creation of the Czechoslovak State following the First World War. The commemorations of the centenary of Czechoslovakia’s creation and the death of the French-Slovak General Štefánik in 2018-2019 will involve a programme of bilateral cooperation, including the organization of an exhibition and the shooting of a series based on Štefánik, an emblematic figure. The centenary of the creation of the Czechoslovak army will be celebrated in Darney (Vosges Department) on 29 June 2018.

Slovak Ambassador to France: Mr Marek Eštok (since May 2010)
French Ambassador to Slovakia: Mr Christophe Léonzi (since September 2016)
Chair of the France-Slovakia Friendship Group at the French National Assembly: Pending (September 2017)
Chair of the France-Slovak Republic Friendship Group at the French Senate: Ms Hélène Conway-Mouret (Socialist and Republican Group)

Updated: October 2017

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