Valletta/Bratislava, February 2 (TASR-correspondent) – The election of Donald Trump as US president poses a significant opportunity for bolstering the global standing of the EU, said Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico on Thursday on his way to an informal summit of EU leaders to be held in Malta’s capital Valletta on Friday (February 3).
“We’re making a great mistake if we don’t view the change in the office of president of the United States as an opportunity,” said Fico.
“I think that it should lead us to greater sovereignty of opinions and considerations of how to reinforce Europe in terms of security but also to more courageous opinions on certain problems such as Syria, sanctions against Russia and the like. I hope that this will also be part of the discussions at the summit,” said Fico.
Fico doesn’t mind the fact that Trump is surrounded by Eurosceptics. “If this is so, let Europe say that it needs to be more courageous in articulating its opinions. We need to say ourselves what we want and don’t want. Let’s not wait for what our American big brother tells us as usual. We’ve been in that place in the case of sanctions against Russia. I believe that Europe should have its own opinion, should speak its own mind and shouldn’t be on some bandwagon of the United States,” he stressed.
Therefore, Fico perceives the election of Donald Trump as an opportunity for the EU to show that it’s a strong union. “Let’s change the world a little as well, not just keep looking towards East and West.”
The prime minister is convinced that it should be clearly stated at the summit that pursuing regime change in third countries through the use of force and without alternative solutions is dangerous. He cited Libya as an example, as 181,000 migrants have come to Europe from that country in the past year alone. “If Libya were a country today where any sort of regime existed – any kind of order – then it certainly wouldn’t have been a staging area for hundreds of thousands of migrants today. So, it’s good that we’ll also be talking at the summit about how to aid Libya in terms of stabilising its domestic life,” he said.
Fico pointed out that Libya isn’t as stable a country as Turkey, which struck a deal with the EU to stop the flow of migrants to Europe. The premier sees a solution in protecting the Schengen borders. “Some gentlemen in western Europe should have given more thought before they started to bombard Libya as to whether they also had a Plan B up their sleeves, but apparently they didn’t have one. Now, all of them are whining and shouting that 181,000 migrants came from Libya in 2016, but that’s not my responsibility – that’s the responsibility of those who bombarded the regime in Libya out of existence,” he said.
The prime minister also pointed out that former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi warned that Europe would “turn black” without cooperation. “Instead of cooperating with Gaddafi, we murdered him,” he added.
Therefore, Fico welcomes Donald Trump’s new strategy of not using force against foreign regimes without planning ahead for the future. “Crying over spilt milk in Libya today is completely ridiculous. If the countries that bear the largest responsibility for the situation in Libya attempt to lecture us on migration tomorrow, then they’ll hear the Visegrad Four countries [the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia] speak their minds at a minimum,” he stressed.