Bratislava, June 14 (TASR) – Slovakia is doing well in terms of economics and there has not been such a wide scope for addressing big and substantial problems over the past 25 years as there is now, President Andrej Kiska stated in the State of the Republic address he delivered in Parliament on Wednesday.
However, politicians often rather pay attention to little things, full of personal rancour, stated Kiska, adding that people’s feelings of alienation between normal life and politics is thus getting stronger.
The president stated that society has been paralysed by the personal political war that the issue of fighting corruption has turned into. “In the personal political war, the state and its representatives have resigned from having normal communication with the public, from the duty to patiently explain doubts and from responding to suspicions,” he said.
In connection with the corruption issue, Kiska said that politicians should bear their responsibility. He called on politicians not to downplay the efforts of young, decent people protesting against corruption. “These are our allies in the midst of resignation, distrust and anger. They want to live here at home in a modern and democratic society. They deserve respect and a sign that politicians are ready to move forward,” stressed the president.
Concerning the anti-corruption marches in Slovak towns and cities, where people demanded, among other things, the resignation of Interior Minister Robert Kalinak (Smer-SD), Kiska pointed out that he dealt with Kalinak also in his address a year ago. “We have not moved from this place for a long twelve months. Our society has not obtained a clear indication that the respective people have been sincerely seeking a way out of the trap they’ve dragged the country into,” emphasised Kiska.
The president does not see politicians focusing on the important things. He pointed out the biggest weaknesses of Slovakia, such as the education and health sectors, the quality of life in regions, the exclusion of the Roma community, challenges related to the population’s ageing and the country’s innovation potential.
Kiska praised the efforts of Justice Minister Lucia Zitnanska (Most-Hid) and Health Minister Tomas Drucker (a Smer-SD nominee) who deserve open political support. On the other hand, the Opposition would help the country the most if it strove to return the political discussion to important issues and their addressing, he said.
The president also touched on the issue of fascists’ participation in Parliament. He stressed the need to find out why a part of society is willing to support a fascist party, adding that it might be a “cry for help” from a part of the voters.
Kiska in his speech also advocated for independent media. “People’s trust in media has always been an important element of a healthy and free society. However, it is also a matter of the state’s security at the moment,” he said. The president urged MPs to bear the role of public-service media in their minds for the upcoming election of RTVS’ general director, too. “Let your choice strengthen the public’s trust in the news service of public-service television and radio even more,” said Kiska.
The president also urged the Education Ministry to boost media education at all schools in order to face the problem of growing extremism and propaganda. He stressed the need to make use of all legal tools to combat extremism. He does not think that the fight against extremism would end with the far-right LSNS party’s dissolution.
Kiska also underlined that membership in the European Union and NATO is a necessary prerequisite for security, prosperity and ensuring a better life for our people. He believes that Slovakia should be in the core of the EU. “We as political representatives will not serve the Slovak Republic by shouting uncompromising attitudes from the periphery of European politics. We will serve it by patiently seeking compromising solutions behind one table, in the core of the European Union, in the first league of European politics,” said the president.