Danko: Slovaks Should Demand Slovak Trains, Not Regiojet’s

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Slovaks shouldn’t be happy about 20-year-old repainted trains imported from Italy by private transport company RegioJet, but should be proud of and demand Slovak trains, said leader of the governing coalition Slovak National Party (SNS) and Parliamentary Chairman Andrej Danko on TA3’s programme ‘V politike’ (In Politics) on Sunday.

“I’m the SNS chairman, and I mind the fact that somebody is expanding here, picking only the raisins from the cake. Yes, I do mind it, as I want Slovak firms to flourish. I reject the dogma that anything that comes from the West is the best in the world. Yellow trains [operated by RegioJet] came here and were given above-standard conditions. They get a subsidy of €8.5 million every year. The state was so servile that it withdrew from the Bratislava-Kosice route. However, a private company should have the same obligations as a state-owned carrier,” said Danko.

Danko rejected claims that SNS is taking good trains away from people by putting pressure on RegioJet, which has withdrawn from the Bratislava-Kosice route. “Funds for acquiring new [state-run] trains have already been prepared,” he said. Concerning the presenter’s remark that the state-run rail company is buying trains from a firm owned by former SNS chairman [1990-91] Vitazoslav Moric, Danko said that he’s met this person only twice and that he doesn’t know any other train producer in Slovakia. He added that it doesn’t matter who owns the factory that produces the trains; what matters is that the factory is located in Slovakia.

Danko also touched on the issue of a new director for public broadcaster Radio and Television Slovakia (RTVS). He reiterated that if his party won a general election outright, he’d cancel licence fees and wouldn’t play around with a public service character but would turn RTVS into a state-run service. “This television service shouldn’t have commercial formats,” he said, while rejecting political intervention. “A new manager must come, a person who would push things forward. A change must come in any case,” he stressed.

Concerning the tense situation in Parliament, Danko stated that MPs that offend each other and shout are sitting in the House, and that this stirs up emotions. “The only way for Slovakia is mutual tolerance. Unfortunately, the media are eager for blood and sensation, and primitivism suits them, which upsets decent people,” he said.