Fico: If EU President Election Is Postponed, Tusk Won’t Be Re-elected

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Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico. (Photo by TASR)

Bratislava, March 8 (TASR) – If the Polish Government succeeds in postponing the European Council president election until a different EU summit, the incumbent Donald Tusk won’t be re-elected, said Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico at the parliamentary European affairs committee on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Fico supported Tusk’s bid, stating that Slovakia wants to see the EU president coming from its own region. “Donald Tusk understands this region. He’s been working particularly well with it, and at the same time we considered the reasons provided by the Polish side [for nominating a different candidate]. Nonetheless, we can’t risk seeing the election of someone who wouldn’t be able to represent this region. This is why I’d like to see the election take place at this summit, as otherwise a qualified majority could elect someone else who wouldn’t represent central and eastern Europe,” said Fico.

The upcoming summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday will be a working one, said Fico, adding that it will discuss employment, security, migration and preparations for the Rome summit due to be held on March 25. “Nobody knows anything about this latter summit. We don’t have any idea what we’ll talk about, and this situation has introduced a good deal of nervousness among presidents and prime ministers,” said Fico.

“On behalf of the Visegrad Four [the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia], we’ll raise the issue of double quality standards for food and agricultural products sold on our markets [when compared to the old EU countries],” said Fico.

As for security and migration, the EU leaders are due to evaluate the first measures adopted at the Malta summit earlier this year. “Our task is to protect the outer Schengen border and to speak to Libya. However, there’s still nobody to talk to, as Libya has been destroyed as a state,” said Fico.

According to him, talks on the EU’s future will be critical at the summit, and it’s to be expected that budgetary issues will cause division among individual member countries.

“I’m a bit sceptical when it comes to the EU’s future,” said Fico, adding that a two-speed EU is likely to emerge in the future, and praising the possible introduction of a mechanism for more intense cooperation among certain countries.

The co-governing Slovak National Party (SNS) later in the day rejected Fico’s statement on Slovakia’s support for Tusk’s re-election bid despite the Polish Government nominating a different figure – MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski.

“This in no way concerns any disregard for Donald Tusk as a person and his record, but Slovakia is a partner within the Visegrad Group, and it’s our duty to respect a candidate of the Polish Government,” stated Parliamentary Chairman and SNS head Andrej Danko.