Slovak Political Roulette with the EFSF and ESM
Yesterday the government passed its proposal to increase Slovakia’s contribution to the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and on the creation of the new European Stability Mechanism (ESM), but without the endorsement of coalition partner SaS.
After the decision was taken, Prime Minister Iveta Radicova said that although the government had given the thumbs up to the proposal, she could not yet “guarantee its ratification in parliament”. She will now present the government’s position at a meeting in Brussels today and tomorrow.
The proposal should see Slovakia’s share of the EUR 780 billion EFSF bailout fund increase from EUR 4.37 billion to EUR 7.72 billion, proportionate to the overall increase in the EFSF budget.
Finance minister Ivan Miklos referred to the proposal as realistic and responsible in respect of Slovakia’s commitment to the eurozone, while noting that no good options were available, saying it was the lesser of two evils. Miklos pointed out that the increase in Slovakia’s contribution was basically not for Greece, but rather for the future credit needs of countries without an AAA rating. He therefore sees it as unfair and irresponsible for Slovakia not to play its full part, as it itself does not enjoy such a rating.
The SaS liberal coalition partner did not back the proposal and has declared outright that it will stick to its guns and not support the proposal in parliament either. Party head Richard Sulik referred to the move as a “waste of Slovak taxpayers’ money”.
The proposal also did not get the vote of interior minister Daniel Lispic from the KDH party, who justified his decision to go against his party’s position as it was unfair to ask the Slovak people to give money to the “irresponsible” Greeks, especially as Slovaks are also still suffering the reverberations of the crisis.
The strongest party on the Slovak political scene, the Smer-SD opposition party of Robert Fico, has jumped on the fact that the government is not unanimous in its decision, calling on the government to “clean up its mess” in respect of the SaS party’s refusal to endorse the proposal. Fico is using the lack of accord as an excuse not to support the proposal in parliament, even when declaring that it is in favour of it.
Party head Robert Fico declared that his party would only give its support to the higher EFSF contribution and the creation of the ESM if the government is united in its stance, but he and everyone else knows this is not the case. The precise logic behind this move is not clear and surely his party should vote the way it feels is correct instead of using the SaS party’s “games” as an excuse to vote against its own conviction.