Last week PM Robert Fico met briefly in Warsaw with his Hungarian counterpart PM Viktor Orban, with the meeting catching the attention of the media as the two statesmen are not exactly known for seeing eye to eye, especially in respect of the dual citizenship dispute that has been going on since Orban took power in 2010.
The two PMs declined to discuss more serious issues, however, concentrating instead on more positive issues like the gas interconnector between the two countries or other transport and energy co-operation. Orban said they spoke about topics that “were fated for success”. PM Fico stressed after the meeting that the two countries needed to focus more on the economic stability of the two countries through co-operation and not on quarrels.
On the dual citizenship problem, Fico said the matter would be best resolved through an international agreement, and left up to lawyers and a bilateral commission. An agreement was proposed by the former government of Iveta Radicova, but no constructive response ever came back from south of the border.
Fico played down the gravity of the conflict, saying that without the SNS in government there would be no repeat of the tense situation from before.
In the meantime several cases of people being deprived of their Slovak citizenship are pending appeals (including a 99-yr old woman), while others are still being processed. Nevertheless, the Slovak government has watered down its position towards the dual citizenship issue by allowing the privilege of dual citizenship to Slovaks again as long as they also have residence in the country in question.
Fico and Orban agreed at least that they would put contested issues aside for the moment and deal with them in the wake of successes, but everyone is aware that it only takes a little spark to set off, or rather rekindle, a fire.