Fico: We Want to Dedicate All Our Energy on Domestic Front

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Bratislava, January 10 (TASR) – Smer-SD wants to dedicate all its energy on the domestic front this year in order to get people to trust the government, Prime Minister Robert Fico told a news conference in Bratislava on Tuesday, stressing that trust is needed to fight terrorism.

“We are eminently interested in spending all our energy on the domestic front in 2017. The best protection against extremism and dilettantism is if people trust the governing structure. If they believe it’s capable of bringing results and transferring good economic results into their everyday lives,” said Fico, adding that 2017 will be the year of action for Smer-SD.

Measures to be taken by the ministers of his government have one feature in common – they will be leftist, said Fico. “Smer-SD is a leftist social-democratic party and we are eminently interested in doing politics of this kind,” stressed Fico.

He highlighted how Slovakia managed the Presidency of the Council of the EU. He also recalled last year’s general elections and the formation of a government that can be labelled “the government of a historical compromise”. Despite its differences, the current government is extraordinarily stable, stated Fico, refusing speculations about early elections.

“The public also accepts that this government is professional. It’s the best answer for all those inventing senseless stories about early elections. However, it’s primarily the best protection against extremists and dilettantes that the Slovak political arena currently features,” emphasised Fico.

Smer-SD ministers also attending the news conference presented this year’s priorities for their sectors. Health Minister Tomas Drucker plans to renew hospitals and build a new detention centre that Slovakia lacks.

Vice-premier for Investments and Informatisation Peter Pellegrini highlighted the assistance to be provided to underdeveloped regions. He also wants there to be Internet for all regardless of their social status.

Economy Minister Peter Ziga talked about new investments and jobs related to them, the improvement of the business environment, including reducing administrative burden. He also wants fair energy prices for end-users.

Labour, Social Affairs and the Family Minister Jan Richter reiterated the plan to focus on supporting young families, unemployment reduction and removing discrepancies between pensioners.

The Government intends to motivate people to start working. “There is enough work. The law of the year is an amendment to the employment services. We should consider our experience up to this point and enable work for all those who want to work,” said Richter, stressing a need to distinguish between those receiving social benefits and those working.

Culture Minister Marek Madaric highlighted support for the creative industry and the renewal of monuments. He also wants to complete the Holocaust Museum in Sered, which should enable youth to learn about the Holocaust atrocities.

Interior Minister Robert Kalinak talked about a need to address safety in Roma settlements. He plans to open new client centres and work on migrants being no longer an issue.

“This year will be difficult from the viewpoint of expected results from an ‘election storm’ in important EU countries. What is more important is that the Slovak economy stands on its own feet. Many resolutions mentioned by my colleagues are a prerequisite for us to have healthy and balanced economic growth,” said Finance Minister Peter Kazimir.