Fico: I Would be Calm If We Had Opposition Comprised of Standard Parties

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Fico at HN club debate (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, April 4 (TASR) – I would be calm if there was an Opposition composed of standard political parties, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico (Smer-SD) told a HN club debate on Tuesday, which was dedicated to Slovakia’s one year since the general elections.

Fico admitted that he would be more at peace if there was an Opposition comprised of Mikulas Dzurinda (prime minister between 1998-2006) and Ivan Miklos (finance minister between 2002-06 and 2010-12). He is concerned with the fact that a man acting as the Opposition leader is calling for Slovakia to leave the EU’s core. “We must be a part of Europe, a part of its core, this is the Government’s line,” stressed the prime minister. It is a lot of nonsense to “shift into reverse gear” now when we have already adopted the euro and joined the Schengen zone. Moreover, Slovakia belongs to the countries that, unlike Poland, think the EU founding treaties do not have to be revised.

Meanwhile, Fico confirmed the continued position of Slovakia to keep refusing quotas in connection with the migrant crisis. If this migration is to be stopped, we must focus on the countries that migrants are coming from, he said.

While evaluating the current Government’s first year, Fico stated that there was a higher number of political parties in the 2016 general elections compared to previous elections and that the Slovak National Party (SNS) has returned to the political arena. “Being alone in the government has its benefits, as well as disadvantages,” stated the prime minister. He admitted that it took some time for parties belonging to the current governing coalition to get used to each other. “Each one has its history, [Most-Hid leader] Bela Bugar was on the other side of the barricade, [SNS leader] Andrej Danko came with a reformed party; however, it started to work after half a year,” said Fico, adding that Slovakia today is stable from the coalition’s viewpoint and that he is happy with the current status.

The discussion also touched on the so-called Meciar amnesties. This issue has been purposefully raised, said Fico, adding that there was a clear target for what should be achieved through it. He stressed the need to respect the Constitutional Court’s ruling.

Concerning Slovak President Andrej Kiska, Fico said he respects the president as a person and he himself strives to avoid conflicts. However, he is sorry that the president makes derogatory statements about the prime minister and against the Government. “We should set equal media standards for all. I am not interest in conflicts with the president, he is attacking the Government and me. Attacking Interior Minister Robert Kalinak (Smer-SD) was useless, too,” stated Fico.

While evaluating the ministers’ work during the Government’s first year, Fico said he respects the minister nominations he received and as far as nominations for his party are concerned, he finds it to be a professional team. He assumes that if he had a reason to replace any of the ministers, he would do so.

The discussion also touched on the issue of public-service media. According to Fico, they play the game for viewer ratings, which is why the management of the Slovak Radio and the Slovak Television have failed. “I think that RTVS’ management must be replaced,” stressed Fico, adding that its news service is Opposition-tuned.