Queen Beatrix meets Slovakian president

Queen Beatrix, who is on a three-day state visit to Slovakia, spent Monday evening in talk with president Ivan Gasparovic about Afghanistan and the Dutch no-vote on the EU constitution, reports the Volkskrant on Tuesday.

Both countries have troops in Afghanistan. ‘We need to ask the other Nato countries to help find a solution for that country,’ the president told the Dutch press pack, hinting that there would be no end to the problems in the region without Pakistan.
On the question of the EU, which Slovakia joined in 2004, Gasparovic says the Slovakians have no quarrel with the Dutch refusal to accept the European constitution. ‘The French feel the same. That’s a clear signal we have to look at things differently, he told reporters.
The two heads of state also discussed the position of ethnic minorities within the EU, in particular that of the Roma and the Sinti who have caused problems in the past in the south east of the country.
Slovakia is investing heavily in creating a better social and economic situation for its two minorities and is making education a priority. Gasparovic does, however, emphasise that this is not just a Slovakian problem, but one for the whole EU. ‘It is a long-term problem and needs a long-term solution,’ he told Dutch reporters.

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