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09/12/2016

Fico overreacts to allegations of Slovak presidency accounting tweaks

Public Affairs

Fico overreacts to allegations of Slovak presidency accounting tweaks

Robert Fico called journalists "prostitutes".

[European Council]

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico has ended his country’s EU Presidency on a sour note by calling journalists who reported allegations of accounting tweaks by his government as “dirty, anti-Slovak prostitutes.”

Fico spoke to the press yesterday (23 November) alongside Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák, and faced questions regarding the alleged tricks the Slovak Presidency used for funding EU Presidency projects without going through normal public procurement procedures.

According to a whistleblower, Zuzana Hlávková, who was a member of the team responsible for cultural activities for the Slovak Presidency, at least two events of the presidency had been overpriced, and funds went to an agency close to SMER, the centre-left party of Fico, two weeks before the general elections.

Although the government refuted the allegations, her claims received wide media attention.

Transparency International looks into Slovak Presidency accounting

Following revelations by a whistleblower, Transparency International has uncovered tricks for funding projects without going through public procurement procedures. EurActiv Slovakia reports.

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‘Dirty, anti-Slovak prostitutes’

Lajčák reportedly said the allegations were an attempt to harm the well-progressing Slovak presidency – but Fico went much further.

“Some of you are dirty, anti-Slovak prostitutes and I stand by this name,” he said, as quoted by the Slovak Spectator.

Fico added that “it is not possible that you lie and harm the Slovak presidency on a daily basis”. He called Hlávková’s allegations and the media response they received a “targeted attack on the Slovak presidency”.

Lajčák said at the same press conference that if anyone proves that he violated the law or moral principles, he would resign.

The Slovak Presidency of the Council of the EU had been going quite smoothly until this latest development. Slovak diplomats have been efficient in dealing with difficult issues and more open to the press compared to some other presidencies.

Slovakia was also able to avoid internal political infighting during its EU stint, and to put on hold its hardline positions on migration.

Fico: EU’s migration policy is ‘ritual suicide’

The European Union is committing a “ritual suicide” with its migration policy, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said today (26 January), urging the 28-member bloc to stop the inflow of migrants fast.

EurActiv.com

Slovakia takes EU to court over migrant quotas

Slovakia will launch legal action by next month against an EU quota plan to distribute 160,000 refugees and migrants across the bloc, a justice ministry spokeswoman told AFP today (24 November).

EurActiv.com

Just before the beginning of the presidency, Lajčák reassured Brussels that his country will not hijack the presidency to promote its own agenda.

This promise has been kept.

Lajcak reassures Brussels ahead of Slovak presidency

Miroslav Lajčák, the foreign minister of Slovakia, presented his country’s EU presidency priorities in front of a large Brussels audience today (1 June), in an effort to dispel fears that Bratislava will hijack the platform to promote its own national agenda.

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Perceived as a loose cannon, Fico was always a possible risk factor, prone to making gaffes and outspoken statements on Muslims.

However, calls to suspend him from the Party of the European Socialists have so far failed.

Robert Fico: Anti-refugee, pro-Russian headache for the Socialists

Embarrassed by the Slovakian premier’s Islamophobic comments, the Party of European Socialists will consider suspending Robert Fico’s SMER party on Friday (9 October). EurActiv France reports.

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Last August Fico dined with Russian President Vladimir Putin and lobbied for Russian support for Lajčák to become the next UN Secretary-General.

Fico lobbies Putin for Lajcak as UN chief

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, who had dinner with Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday (25 August), has lobbied for Russian support for his Minister of Foreign Affairs, Miroslav Lajcak, to become the next UN Secretary-General.

EurActiv.com

Lajčák put in a good performance at the various stages of the UN election process, but was never seen as a credible candidate to lead the world organisation, precisely because of anti-Muslim comments by his Prime Minister.

Slovak PM: ‘It’s impossible to integrate Muslims’

Challenging the EU’s political correctness, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said he will not allow a large Muslim community in his country. Fico’s anti-immigration rhetoric has boosted his Direction-Social Democracy party (SMER-SD) ahead of the 5 March elections.

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Further Reading