Bratislava, December 10 (TASR) – Hungary and Poland have succeeded in a ‘rule of law’ stand-off with the EU despite the Slovak Government’s betrayal, said former three-times Slovak prime minister Robert Fico (Smer-SD) at a press briefing on Thursday.
He was reacting to concessions to Hungary and Poland after the EU initially announced that it would condition the distribution of money from the EU’s budget by what it would deem as the individual countries’ adherence to the rule of law. However, Hungary and Poland had the power to block the entire seven-year budget of the EU.
According to Fico, Budapest and Warsaw have achieved what they wanted, but Slovakia’s diplomacy has suffered a bitter defeat.
“If what has been proposed as a compromise solution is approved, we can state that Poland and Hungary have achieved a huge international success against the rest of the EU, which wanted to dictate certain rules concerning fundamental rights and principles of the rule of law,” said Fico.
“The huge success consists in the fact that they can now file a proposal with the Court of Justice of the European Union to declare this decree null and void, with everyone being obliged to wait for the decision,” said Fico.
“Instead of Slovakia appearing as part of the four [a reference to the Visegrad Four – ed. note], as the Czech president [Milos Zeman] has also clearly taken the side of Poland and Hungary, [the Slovak Government] has ignored these countries. They [members of the Slovak Government] thought that it would perhaps be better to have their hair caressed by the Dutch, Germans and French … Nevertheless, cooperation in the V4 is much more important at the moment. I regret this, I believe that it would be appropriate to apologise to Poland and Hungary for this betrayal committed by Prime Minister Igor Matovic (OLANO), Foreign Minister Ivan Korcok (an SaS nominee) and the rest,” added Fico.
Korcok said last month that drawing money from the EU should indeed be conditioned by observance of the rule of law, as this is also one of the principles of the Slovak Government’s Manifesto.