Head of the liberal SaS party Richard Sulik already started to express his concerns last week about the EU’s new bailout fund, the European Stabilisation Mechanism (ESM), and now having pondered over it more, he has spoken out that his party does not support the current proposal.
On the Slovak Radio programme Sobotny Dialogy, Sulik said that his party was still not convinced that it would back the ESM proposal in parliament, which would mean Slovakia would once again be the stumbling block to the EU’s plans.
Slovakia is supposed to put up EUR 659 million in cash for the ESM, but Sulik claims that overall Slovakia would save around EUR 6 billion if it did not take part in the fund. His party is not so keen on this and feels that the money would be better utilised at home, given the current budget deficit in the country. The party does not want to be held to ransom for certain countries that do not handle their finances responsibly.
On the same programme, opposition MP and former interior minister Robert Kalinak played more tactically, saying his party would first want to analyse the whole situation in more detail before making a firm stance to the ESM. Talks surrounding the new mechanism began under the former government led by Kalinak’s Smer-SD party, but at that time no cash contributions were mentioned, only guarantees.
Kalinak’s Smer-SD party is therefore critical of the conditions that finance minister Ivan Miklos negotiated, as Slovakia would have to cough up part of the money in cash.
If Slovakia were to block the ESM through its lack of parliamentary consensus, it would most definitely be shunned by the other EU member states as a troublemaker and have to suffer the repercussions. Last week Sulik said he wanted to avoid such a scenario, while raising the proposal for Slovakia to use EU funds to pay its way in the ESM.