Government Hopes To Agree On EFSF Tomorrow
The government coalition is still under pressure to approve the EFSF bailout mechanism. Not just time pressure and pressure from within, but also pressure from the opposition and from the European Commission.
For example, Amadeu Altafaj Tardio, spokesman for European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, Olli Rehn, pointed out how “Europe has been very beneficial for Slovakia” and so Slovakia should accede to the new EFSF conditions.
The situation is still complicated, but coalition leaders will meet tomorrow evening at the Most-Hid headquarters to discuss, debate, compromise or remain at a standstill. The most recent proposal presented by Prime Minister Iveta Radicova to the SaS party, which is defiantly blocking the EFSF vote, has not met with the best possible reaction from the party, and so will probably not be acceptable to them, and even if it is, it might not be for the other eurozone countries.
The PM is possibly quietly hoping for an exemption to or a cap on Slovakia’s contribution, but voices from Brussels are making it clear that no exemptions will be given and that other countries have had a hard time approving the EFSF as well. Radicova claims her proposal, which is still secret even to the other coalition parties, would let Slovakia keep its eurozone commitments without it costing Slovakia a single cent.
PM Radicova is hopeful that Slovakia will sweat out the vote in parliament at its next session between 11-14 October, just in time for the European summit set for 17 October in Brussels, but parliamentary speaker and head of the SaS party, Richard Sulik, has not submitted it to the agenda yet.
The SaS party is against increasing Slovakia’s contribution to the EFSF and also against some of the conditions set out in the new plan, such as allowing also banks to be bailed out using the funds.
The SaS’ coalition partners Most-Hid and KDH are slowly losing patience and are now saying that if no agreement is reached with the SaS, then it would no longer be possible to govern together. This is not the first time the fragmented coalition has faced cries of a break-up, though, and so far it has always managed to slip through and reach an agreement for the “overall good”.
Opposition party Smer-SD of former prime minister Robert Fico stands guard at the only real lifeboat on the sinking coalition ship, but he has now thrown new conditions into the game. Although he and his party support the new EFSF, they are using it is as kind of blackmail tool in an effort to wrench power back from the governing coalition.
Fico says his party would support the EFSF in parliament under the condition that the government coalition disbands or calls early elections. Otherwise, the coalition will have to rally a simple majority of 76 votes from somewhere or Slovakia’s reputation in Europe will sink along with the current coalition.