Slovakia’s PM Fico in EU’s Crosshairs as New ‘Headache’

Mar 20, 2024

Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico has become a voice of dissent against the Russophobic leanings of officials in Brussels, who are willing to fan the flames of the Ukraine conflict whatever the cost.

Ukraine’s patrons in Brussels have Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico in their crosshairs for a host of reasons.

Brussels has accused him of taking a page out of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s book, reported POLITICO.

Just as Hungary was repeatedly the victim of ‘rule-of-law’ disciplinary proceedings brought by Brussels, there are now calls to treat Slovakia “seriously.”

Bratislava might risk losing access to European Union (EU) funds, European Parliament Vice President Martin Hojsík (PS) was cited as saying.

The EU withheld over €30 billion in cohesion and recovery funds in December 2022 over alleged violations. Orban insisted in 2023 that Hungary had met all the EU’s requirements and that the funds were being diverted to the Kiev regime. “It is possible that some of it [the money] is already in Ukraine,” he stated at the time. Budapest’s block on EU funding of Ukrainian war efforts forced Brussels to unlock €10 billion ($11 billion) of the funds to Hungary in December.

But Slovakia’s ruling coalition is the new thorn in Brussels’ side. Officials have suggested resorting to EU fund-freezing, this time with respect to Bratislava. The reported pretext is the shutting-down of the Slovak Special Prosecutor’s Office as part of criminal justice reforms Fico said on Wednesday that officials at the office had abused their authority.

According to the publication, Slovak MEP and vice-president of the European Parliament Martin Hojsík urged swift measures from the EU if Fico’s government continues on an “illiberal path.” The rhetoric around Fico echoes Brussels’ narrative against Orban.

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Like Orban, Fico, who returned to government for the fourth time in 2023, opposes sending more arms to Kiev along with Ukrainian membership of NATO. He has called for rebuilding relations with Russia.

Last December Orban vetoed an increase in the EU budget for 2024-2027, including 50 billion euros ($55 billion) in macro-financial aid to Kiev.

While Orban did not veto EU accession talks with Ukraine at the time, he warned that Budapest would have “75 more opportunities” to block this process.

The Slovak PM has adopted a similarly adamant position on Ukraine. Fico’s Smer party-led government, elected in September 2023, reversed the country’s stance on the Ukraine crisis in favor of halting military aid to Kiev.

Fico, dubbed the “Slovak Orban,” stressed that aiding the Kiev regime only prolongs a conflict that Ukraine has no chance of winning.

He has repeatedly warned that Western countries could opt for the “worst solution” in the Ukraine crisis, and reiterated his stance of keeping Slovak troops out of the conflict.

Fico was highly critical of recent comments by French President Emmanuel Macron suggesting sending European NATO troops to Ukraine. The proposal was rejected by leaders across the continent, including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

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