Fico: Brexit Would Pose Huge Problem for Slovak EU Presidency

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Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico during an interview for TASR. (Photo by TASR)

Bratislava, February 26 (TASR) – Britain’s possible exit from the EU following the June 23 referendum would cause a huge problem for the Slovak Presidency of the EU Council in the second half of 2016, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico told TASR on Friday.

According to Fico, British Premier David Cameron has introduced domestic political issues into the EU agenda, thereby significantly disturbing its foundations. “It’s been officially recognised that the EU can now be double-tracked,” said Fico.

EU leaders at a summit last week accommodated Britain’s demands, inter alia by making measures aimed at further deepening economic and monetary union voluntary for countries that aren’t part of the eurozone. On the other hand, non-members can’t put obstacles in front of further convergence of economic and monetary union.

“This may end up with the eurozone living its own intense integrational life, while other EU-member countries will be cooperating loosely and/or will be part of some alliance,” said Fico.

At the same time, if Britain decides to leave the EU, similar reactions may emerge in other countries as well, noted Fico.

“Certain countries believe that they’d be able to survive without the EU – but this only concerns big countries. Small countries, such as Slovakia, view the EU as their living space,” said Fico.

Czech Premier Bohuslav Sobotka has stated that if Britain leaves the Union, a similar debate could also be expected in the Czech Republic, but such a move would have far-reaching economic and security repercussions for the country, he warned.

Meanwhile, Fico believes that nobody in Slovakia would open such a debate. “We don’t have a different living space apart from the EU. We need to be part of the EU core, have the euro and keep up with the strong countries,” added Fico.