Robert Fico Grabs Limelight on EFSF and ESM
Head of opposition party Smer-SD, Robert Fico, is possibly missing the limelight of his former post as Prime Minister, as he has taken it on himself to negotiate with all political parties about the future shape of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).
Fico may be trying to undermine the position of Prime Minister Iveta Radicova, who is also doing the rounds in an attempt to get a parliamentary consensus on the eurozone bailout funds.
Following a meeting with the PM, Fico said he wants to speak to all party leaders about their opinion on the funds, and the proposed increase in Slovakia’s contribution to them. As his party has 62 of the 150 seats in parliament, Fico could rally enough support to get things done his way.
Fico claims that Radicova is powerless as the real power rests with the party heads, and so he says he will now only discuss the issue with them. He has reiterated several times that although he and his party are in favour of the parliamentary proposal concerning the funds, they would only support it if the coalition is united in its stance, or if it at least manages to secure the necessary 79 votes in parliament.
Fico also said that any party not supporting the proposal should be ostracised, knowing full well that the nationalist SNS party and liberal coalition party SaS are both staunchly against the proposal.
The coalition leaders are basically willing to meet Fico, but his approach is being criticised as being hypocritical. Bela Bugar from Most-Hid says he can imagine discussing the issue with Fico, but would like to know what he is really up to.
Head of the SaS party, Richard Sulik, who is adamantly against the latest proposal, would also meet with Fico because of the gravity of the issue, which concerns “national interests”. Sulik admits that it is good for everyone to discus the issue.
The other two coalition parties KDH and SDKU haven’t yet expressed an official stance to Fico’s invitation, but chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for European Affairs, Martin Fronc from KDH, called Fico’s offer contradictory, while others from the SDKU referred to it as “unfortunate” and Fico’s way of politicising the whole matter.
Fico has already discussed the issue also with his old pal President Ivan Gasparovic, who backed the position of Fico that agreement over the whole political spectrum is needed.