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National Day Message by H. E. Mr. Manuel Korček, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Slovak Republic to the Republic of Bulgaria

Dear readers,

I would like to thank the Editor-in-Chief, Ms. Ekaterina Pavlova, for the opportunity to address the readers of the renowned "Diplomatic Spectrum" magazine on the occasion of the national holiday of the Slovak Republic - the Constitution Day. I am honored to share some thoughts on the 28 years since the adoption of the Slovak Constitution in 1992, which laid the foundations for the development of Slovakia as a democratic and legal state.

For the citizens of the Slovak Republic, this is one of the most important events of the 20th century, along with the founding of the first Czechoslovakia, the Slovak National Uprising during World War II, or the First of January 1993, when the independent Slovak Republic was established (after the break-up of the Czechoslovak Federal Republic).

The first constitution provides our young emerging state with a reliable compass pointing the way to an independent future. In this article I will not analyze the constitution, I will mention only some selected аргументс that I consider important, for example, from a historical point of view the preamble of the constitution contains a reference to the Cyril and Methodius spiritual heritage, which connects us with the values ​​of humanism and culture. The Constitution protects our civil rights and freedoms on the basis of equality, dignity and non-discrimination of everyone. It guarantees a plurality of opinions and other political rights. Today, thanks to its modern constitution, Slovakia is an active part of the European home and proudly recognizes European values.

Ladies and gentlemen,

anniversaries are also an opportunity to look back.

Although we are not neighboring countries with Bulgaria, we are connected by spiritual bridges since the time of St. Cyril and St. Methodius. Our relations developed both at the time of national emancipation and at the time when we belonged to the so-called socialist block. Compassion and mutual respect also connected us in the complex, from many points of view difficult political, economic and social transformation from totalitarianism to freedom and democracy. This belonging also brought us to the community of a united Europe. A Europe, half a century separated by the Iron Curtain, but reuniting. Both our countries have an active and full participation in this historical process. Today, along with the past, we share common values ​​and a responsibility to build peace, freedom and democracy in Europe and in the world.

Frequent visits of our statesmen confirm that both countries have a rich potential, will and desire to develop cooperation in all areas of mutual interest and at different levels so as to benefit our countries and citizens. As partners in the European Union and allies in the North Atlantic Alliance, we face challenges that require our cohesion, solidarity and unity.

Linguistic proximity is the added value of our relationship. The basis of our cultural connection with Bulgaria is precisely the Slovak language. For three decades it has been studied at the University of VelikoTarnovo "St. Cyril and Methodius" and more recently at Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski".

My goal is to make the mutual cooperation in the fields of education, culture, science and technology more intensive. I am pleased to note that from 2018 to 2020 we managed to successfully implement over 50 valuable events (some of them in close cooperation with the Embassy of the Czech Republic and the Czech Center), including international scientific conferences at the University of National and World Economy and at the Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski".

I am glad that this year we presented together with the organization Photo Factory and the city of Sofia an external exhibition on domestic violence. In August we presented Slovakia under the motto Good Idea Slovakia as a modern country with a successful history. Among the cultural events being prepared, I will mention the presentation of St. Anton's Palace in central Slovakia, which documents the life and work of the Bulgarian King Ferdinand I during his stay in Slovakia in the 1930s and 1940s.

In the field of Slovak education, we note interest of the technical universities in establishing cooperation in the field of science, research into the development of autonomous vehicles or innovative construction of vehicle bodies.

I will only briefly sketch that the companies in Slovakia are strong mainly in mechanical engineering, energy, construction, environmental and information technologies, as well as in the automotive industry. The mutual Slovak-Bulgarian trade is very lively, the volume last year increased by 10.5%, to 802 million euros.

In September, we will mark the remarkable 100th anniversary of the establishment of the bilateral diplomatic relations between Bulgaria and the former Czechoslovakia. The Slovak Republic and the Czech Republic are now two independent states. But this is such an important historical moment that here in Sofia, we decided together with the Czech Embassy to commemorate it with several cultural and social events. Unfortunately, due to the current measures against the spread of coronavirus, we had to abandon most of our plans. In October, however, we will organize a joint exhibition for some important women from Slovak, Czech and Bulgarian history. This is how we will celebrate the important Year of the Woman. This will also mark the 100th anniversary of the Czechoslovak Constitution, which gave full suffrage to all citizens, including women.

Dear friends,

In conclusion, allow me to wish your magazine to flourish and prosper, to have many avid readers. I especially congratulate the receptive and hard-working students in International Relations and Diplomacy. To all of you, to the editors and readers, I wish first of all good health, a lot of strength, optimism in life, inspiration and a lot of personal, professional and academic success.

With respect,

Manuel Korček

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Slovak Republic to Sofia

The photo was provided by the Embassy of the Slovak Republic in the Republic of Bulgaria. On it: H. E. Mr. Manuel Korček, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Slovak Republic