Fico: Slovakia’s Independence Must be Viewed Proudly as Success Story

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Prime Minister Robert Fico delivers a speech to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Slovakia's independence. (Photo by TASR)

Bratislava, January 1 (TASR) – Slovakia’s independence should be viewed after 25 years as a success story, Prime Minister Robert Fico (Smer-SD) stated in a speech on Monday.

“Nonetheless, we’re facing huge expectations. The people want – and it’s absolutely comprehensible – a faster approximation of their living standards to Western Europe.

However, this requires Slovakia to remain secure, democratic and respectful towards the political, civil and social rights of their citizens, apart from its clear pro-European orientation.

These are the fundamental parameters of an independent statehood that have always been honoured by my governments,” said the three-time prime minister.

“Let’s be proud of our country. Let’s have respect towards what we’ve achieved together. Each of us and we together are drawing a successful history of our young state. Let’s do things together in order to see it as a success story also in the next years of our independent existence,” said Fico, adding that Slovakia in the first 25 years of its independence has managed to become a social state, fully established and respected worldwide. The vision of national political elites of the past centuries has thus become true, a vision for which these people had been fighting even at the cost of their own freedom, said the social democratic prime minister.

Fico noted that the young generation views the era of the Czechoslovak state as “too distant, as if it were centuries ago, instead of a mere 25 years ago”.

“They consider the Slovak statehood as natural and even perhaps as a boring matter of course. Someone could perhaps make a cynical observation that the splitting of the federation wasn’t dramatic enough, so it’s lacking emotions,” said Fico.

“It’s perhaps a mistake by the social and political elites not to point out sufficiently the unique way the independent republic was set up. It seems that we aren’t careful enough in distinguishing between sound patriotism and nationalism and extremism. We must work more on the relationship to state symbols,” added the prime minister.