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.
‘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.
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.
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.
Last August Fico dined with Russian President Vladimir Putin and lobbied for Russian support for Lajčák to become the next UN Secretary-General.
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.
- The Guardian: Slovakia’s PM calls journalists ‘dirty anti-Slovak prostitutes’
- The Slovak Spectator: Ex-employee points to overpriced presidency-related orders
- The Slovak Spectator: Hlávková: I wanted to do the right thing
- The Slovak Spectator: Foreign Ministry choice of Evka firm used exception