Fico: I’m Nervous about Current State of EU

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico (stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, November 14 (TASR) – Prime Minister Robert Fico at the Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs of Parliaments of the European Union (COSAC) in Bratislava on Monday said that he’s nervous about the state the EU is in, which demonstrates that the EU has fallen in love with itself and doesn’t want to respect that the world outside of it is evolving.

The premier isn’t quite convinced that European leaders have succeeded in identifying the problem the EU is facing. He said that it’s not only the insufficient attention given to topics such as unemployment and energy security; there’s a lot more problems. “It’s the question of whether or not we communicate in an understandable manner; whether or not we stick to the promises we give to people; whether or not we address everyday topics in a sufficiently modern and vigorous manner. When people in Europe saw hundreds of thousands of migrants rushing here uncontrolled, it might have generated a lot of nervousness,” said Fico.

Fico is convinced that the US presidential election has also shown that the world is quite different compared to what the media depicts. “We have to talk with the public more; maybe with different methods and forms,” he stressed.

The Slovak prime minister also spoke about Brexit. “The settlement between the United Kingdom and the EU will require finding a completely new model. It probably won’t be possible to apply the model for relations with Switzerland and Norway. Relations with Britain are so specific that we have to come up with a new model,” thinks Fico.

Fico recalled that there are around 80,000 Slovaks working and living in the UK, but the number of Poles hovers around one million. “That’s why we need top-notch and balanced relations but also the respect for national peculiarities and demands so that these people won’t be turned into second class citizens,” he emphasised.

“We fully respect Britain’s decision, but it’s not possible for Britain just to cherry pick. We won’t negotiate about the four freedoms of movement,” said Fico, adding that the EU mustn’t be aggressive, but neither should it be naive.

The head of state described Slovakia’s first ever Presidency of the Council of the EU as extraordinarily fruitful. “We hope that it will be deemed as one of the most successful, but we’ll have to wait until December 31, 2016 for that,” he added.

He thinks that the Bratislava summit that took place on September 16 was one of the most important events of the presidency. “I consider it right that 27 EU-member states met and announced that they wanted to continue in the unique EU project. It’s also right that we’ve drafted the so-called Bratislava Road Map that includes specific priorities the EU should focus on. I’m glad that Malta, as a country succeeding in the presidency, is interested in respecting and implementing the road map,” stated the premier.