Slovakia Battles Between Conscience and Own Interests
Slovakia’s position regarding the second bailout loan for Greece is still not clear, and as bickering goes on within the government coalition, nationalist opposition party SNS is swaying towards the arguments of the SaS party to put Slovakia’s interests first.
The SNS is calling on the other opposition party Smer-SD to do the same so as to ensure that “our billions don’t fly out the window” said head of the SNS Jan Slota yesterday.
Ironically, SNS MPs were absent during an earlier vote on the Greece loan, but Slota justified this by saying they were sure that no vote would take place that day and so did not show up. Slota expressed his conviction that any money put up for Greece would not be used to help the country, but rather Western European banks.
The SaS party wants to subject the loan to Greece to some tough conditions, and so made a call for parliament to limit the mandate of finance minister Ivan Miklos, so he cannot just do as he feels fit. The party’s proposal did not get sufficient support in parliament, though, with just 35 votes in favour, although only 1 MP voted against the motion (51 abstentions, while 61 did not actually cast their vote).
Slovakia is still pushing for Greece to satisfy five basic conditions before it is given another handout of around EUR 100 billion plus. However, Miklos does not agree with the condition of involving Greece’s private sector in the loan, as this would essentially mean the country would be declared bankrupt.
Miklos feels that if Greece is declared bankrupt, other countries that are struggling to stay above water would soon follow, which in turn would have dire consequences for Slovakia and the whole eurozone. This could then lead to the demise of the European Union as we know it.
Miklos has no problem with the other four conditions, though, namely: involvement of the IMF, privatisation of state assets, the provision of collateral and a binding commitment of the whole political spectrum in Greece to respect the ‘resuscitation’ plan.