Remisova: Slovakia Has to Root Out Causes of Extremism First

Opposition MP Veronika Remisova (stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, February 5 (TASR) – In terms of extremism the major problem is that we have been on the edge about what is considered to be freedom of expression and what is the defamation of race and nation, stated Interior Minister Robert Kalinak (Smer-SD) on RTVS’s discussion programme ‘O 5 minut 12’ (Five Minutes to Twelve) on Sunday.

Kalinak was speaking in reference to the launching of a new police unit set to fight against terrorism and extremism, which was introduced earlier this week by Kalinak and Prime Minister Robert Fico (Smer-SD).

The interior minister further stated that the newly established National Unit for Fighting Terrorism and Extremism, which comes under the National Crime Agency (NAKA), includes elite police officers and will be a strong impetus for combating extremism.

According to Kalinak, it’s possible that certain legislative changes will have to be adopted in this regard further on, but his ministry is moving forward step by step. “We’re trying to prevent physical attacks … from taking place at all. At the moment we’re focusing on eliminating manifestations (of extremism). The extremist groups have not only entered regional parliaments but also the House,” said Kalinak.

Opposition MP Veronika Remisova (OLaNO-NOVA), who was also present on the discussion programme, considers the special police unit’s introduction to be a positive thing. “However, I think that first of all it’s necessary to root out the causes of extremism,” said Remisova, adding that people give their vote to extremist parties not because they would “enjoy reading Hitler’s writings in the evening”, but because the Government has failed to address corruption, the social agenda and poverty in the less-developed regions.

According to Remisova, it’s easy to set up a specialised police unit to fight against extremism but it’s much tougher to eliminate the systemic causes that lead people to vote for extremist parties.

The OLaNO-NOVA MP further called on Kalinak to deal with the causes of extremism more profoundly. Unfortunately, corruption at the high political level exists in all European countries, but only in Slovakia have none of the high political figures been punished so far, and that’s exactly what makes people so angry and why they vote for extremist parties, she said.