Fico: Internal Political Issues Threatening European Project

Prime Minister Robert Fico (stock photo by TASR)

Strasbourg/Brussels, December 13 (TASR-correspondent) – The EU-member states are gambling with the unique project of the European Union, stated Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico at a plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday.

According to the Slovak premier, the Union is being threatened by member states’ internal political affairs, such as referendums. Fico called on EU leaders not to address their internal political problems at the expense of European topics. He added that the consequences of the British and Italian referendums have affected the entire Europe.

“The European Union is undergoing the most difficult crisis since its creation, but the crisis isn’t caused by an external threat, the crisis is coming from the inside and it’s expressed first and foremost by people’s distrust and the European elite’s loss of authority,” said Fico. As a remedy for people’s scepticism, the Slovak premier proposes the EU leaders to come up with specific results.

Meanwhile, Fico in his speech enumerated the successes of the Slovak Presidency of the EU, such as the ratification of the Paris Agreement on climate change, the approval of the EU budget for 2017 and the launch of the new European Border and Coast Guard. At the same time Fico expressed the hope that the concept of so-called effective solidarity, submitted by Slovakia during its Presidency, will become part of a reform concerning the EU asylum system.

Several MEPs present at the plenary session expressed their positive evaluation regarding the Slovak presidency, however, some critical voices were heard as well. These mainly concerned the case of allegedly overpriced cultural events linked to Slovakia’s Presidency and the attitude of the Slovak Government vis-a-vis the migration crisis.

Later at a press conference Fico commented on the accusations raised by former Foreign Affairs Ministry employee Zuzana Hlavkova that concern the alleged mishandling of money during the Slovak Presidency. Fico sees these accusations as a personal attack on both Slovak Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajcak and the Slovak Presidency.

“I’m waiting that moment when we will stand in front of you with all the papers, all the statements of control bodies, and then we’ll expect an apology from those who have caused such a dirty attack on the Slovak Presidency,” said Fico.

The Slovak premier also responded to the criticism concerning his statements on migrants and Muslims. “I want every single word that I use to be understandable for people. I won’t use the politically correct and bureaucratic words used in Brussels, that aren’t understood by anyone in the world anymore. I want to name things the way I feel them and perceive them,” he said.