Fico: It Seems that EU Has Fallen in Love with Itself

(from left to right) Parliamentary European affairs committee chairman Lubos Blaha, Prime Minister Robert Fico and committee vice-chair Martin Klus at a session of the committee on Monday (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, September 12 (TASR) – It seems as if the EU has fallen in love with itself, while considering itself to be the best and prettiest, said Prime Minister Robert Fico at a session of the parliamentary European affairs committee on Monday with a view to the informal EU summit that is due to take place in Bratislava on Friday.

However, it turns out that many mechanisms don’t work in the way that we want them to, and so we’re losing our positive attitude towards the Union and the uniqueness of this story, added Fico.

“There’s demonstrable interest among the leaders of the 27 countries [taking part in the summit] in engaging in self-reflection and diagnosing the EU’s problems,” said Fico, who reiterated that the summit will deal, for instance, with the shape of the EU after Britain’s departure, and with security in terms of the fight against terrorism both in social and economic terms. The EU leaders should also discuss new investments, forms of communication and the global role of the EU.

We Are Family leader Boris Kollar doesn’t really want the talks to be led exclusively in a positive spirit because he thinks that Slovakia should draw attention towards urgent issues. “If we don’t resolve them, the EU might cease to exist. If we don’t handle problems and keep putting on a show, the level of vexation will keep getting bigger,” he warned.

“We can congratulate ourselves that we’re part of the EU. It’s taught us a lot. It’s a project that we should all care about. A deepening of conflicts shouldn’t matter,” stressed the premier. “The problem is that we aren’t capable of telling the public why the EU is special. Everyone’s scared that if we host a divisive summit, it could serve as a stimulus for further exits. That’s why the conviction to convene the summit in a positive atmosphere has pervaded,” explained Fico.

We Are Family MP Milan Krajniak was curious about what powers Fico’s Government would refuse to transfer to Brussels under any circumstances.

“We won’t talk about shifts of powers at the summit. For instance, we can imagine consulting our state budget with Brussels, but not that it would approve it. We’re not a Government on bended knee, we have very clear attitudes,” replied Fico.

With respect to security against the threat of terrorism Fico said that each EU-member state should decide on its own how to contribute towards a resolution. He added that Slovakia could provide technical and financial aid towards this end.

Fico doesn’t like the fact that when it comes to global security and conflicts, the EU has always played second fiddle. “When the USA, Russia or China wanted to do something, they did it. When the EU wanted to do something, it didn’t. There is talk about a joint military corps, but it’s still only theoretical,” stated Fico.

Slovak National Party (SNS) MP Jaroslav Paska asked Fico about the stance towards Turkey.

“Turkey has obtained an advantage. It assessed the weaker side of the Union well, and so asked for what it could. This isn’t only about money, but also about visa liberalisation and the opening of several [EU] accession chapters. If we don’t help Turkey to process the 2.5 million refugees that it currently shelters, movements that the EU won’t be able to handle could occur. However, if Turkey doesn’t comply with the criteria, it shouldn’t be allowed to join the EU,” added Fico.