Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz welcomed Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico to the Chancellery on Wednesday by noting that “Germany is one of the first countries you are visiting as Prime Minister. This shows how close the relations are between Slovakia and Germany.”
Scholz stressed that the “excellent economic links” between the two countries would particularly benefit from deepening bilateral relations.
“We live in unsettled times,” observed the Federal Chancellor with regard to the state of international politics. Scholz added that Europe could only face these challenges together, which was what made Europe so strong and so attractive. “It’s more important than ever for partners within the European Union to coordinate closely with one another,” he said.
Financial aid planned for Ukraine
Scholz explained that the meeting with Fico would also help prepare for the meeting of the European Council in Brussels next week, where the hope was to reach an agreement between all EU states to provide financial aid to Ukraine worth 50 billion euros, to be made available over the next four years.
European resolve essential
As a direct neighbour of Ukraine, Slovakia has been hit particularly hard by the Russian invasion. The Federal Chancellor praised Slovakia for “the great support it is providing by taking in Ukrainian refugees – this is something I absolutely wish to emphasise.” He also welcomed Slovakia’s position in clearly supporting Ukraine from the very outset.
He stressed that it was imperative to continue this trusting collaboration in future. “We do not need to agree on every detail, but the resolve of our action must be clear,” Scholz said, stressing that Russia’s war against Ukraine, which has been going on for almost two years, remained the central security policy challenge facing Europe.
Russia attacking Ukraine's very existence
Scholz emphasised the Federal Government’s view that Russia’s war of aggression was aimed at the very existence of Ukraine as a sovereign state.
For this reason he warned against the idea that “the continuation of this dreadful war is only due to a lack of dialogue between Moscow and Kyiv.” He noted that more than 200 Normandy Format meetings had provided no shortage of opportunities for talking before the Russian attack on 24 February 2022. “We all know what the outcome was: Russia launched a brutal invastion of the whole of Ukraine in breach of international law.”
Putin can stop the war at any time
The Federal Chancellor went on to say that no country wanted peace more than Ukraine. However, after two years there was clearly no simple solution in sight, he said “Russia’s President Putin can end this war at any time. But when the Ukrainians stop defending themselves, that’s the end of Ukraine,” Scholz said. For this reason he emphasised that it was up to Putin to withdraw his troops from Ukraine and pave the way for a just and lasting peace.
The Federal Chancellor renewed his promise to continue support for as long as needed for Ukrainians who are fighting for their survival and their ongoing sovereignty, adding that this must be the unified message to Russia from the West.
He cited the example of Germany’s pledge to provide military aid worth over 7 billion euros in 2024. “I call on all EU states to look at what else they can do to further increase their support for Ukraine,” Scholz said.
Robert Fico was born in 1964 in Topoľčany in what was then Czechoslovakia. As Prime Minister he has led the government of Slovakia since October 2023. He also previously held the office from 2006 to 2010 and from 2012 to 2018.