Intruder Breaches State Palace as Slovakia Prepares to Head EU

  • Slovakia begins 6-month EU rotating presidency on Friday
  • Unidentified man escapes after security suspected false alarm

Slovak security forces failed to capture an unidentified man who broke into the presidential palace overnight, representing one of the worst security breaches in the country just three days before it assumes the European Union presidency.

The intruder entered the offices of President Andrej Kiska in the center of the capital Bratislava at about 1 a.m. and spent about 20 minutes on the premises, presidential spokesman Roman Krpelan said in an e-mail Tuesday. The man whose face was captured on a security recording managed to escape after security initially ruled the intrusion a false alarm. Kiska wasn’t in the building at the time.

Slovakia, a former communist nation of 5.4 million, will begin its first six-month stint in heading the 28-nation bloc on July 1. The authorities have already tightened security measures around the EU venue in Bratislava’s city center, about a kilometer from the palace. Several EU officials including European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker are arriving this week to kick off the rotating presidency.

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