Slovakia may soon get the Hungary treatment and have billions of EU funds frozen

The EU parliament is opposed to reforms of the Slovak penal code, and it may soon resort to withholding EU funds as a form of punishment

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Denes Albert
Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico speaks during a press conference with Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at the Carmelite Monastery in Budapest, Hungary, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Denes Erdos)

The Slovak Foreign Ministry rejects the European Parliament’s interference in domestic politics in Slovakia, Foreign Minister Juraj Blanár said on Wednesday, with Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico also warning that his country could soon be treated like Hungary and face a suspension of EU funds.

“They think that they can change the current situation by attacking us in any way. And because it failed at home, they have resorted to turning to Brussels terrain,” Blanár said, as quoted by the Slovak public news agency TASR.

Blanár and Fico were reacting to the EU parliament’s criticism of the new Slovak government in a resolution at its plenary session in Strasbourg over a series of reform proposals that MEPs say raise concerns about the rule of law in Slovakia.

In the resolution, MEPs questioned Slovakia’s ability to fight corruption and protect the EU budget if, as they wrote, the country’s parliament adopts the proposed reform of the penal code, according to Hungarian news outlet Mandiner.

Commenting on the European Parliament’s resolution, Slovak Foreign Minister Juraj Blanár said the Slovak opposition had not accepted its loss in the September parliamentary elections and was now continuing its campaign on foreign turf.

The foreign minister pointed out that while they had warned EU bodies on numerous occasions since 2020 about violations against the population and breaches of the rule of law, no one in Europe was interested.

Responding to the European Parliament resolution, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said: “The document was written by Slovak opposition MEPs who are inciting the EU institutions against Slovakia and trying to persuade them to impose various penalties, including the suspension of EU funds.”

“We in the governing coalition must finally realize that our political opponents at home and abroad are against us and are capable of anything dirty in this political struggle. And we must give a clear, tough but democratic response to this,” Fico was quoted as saying by the Slovak news agency.

The amendment to the criminal code was approved by Robert Fico’s cabinet in December and is currently being discussed in the Bratislava legislature. The reform, which also includes the abolition of the Special Prosecutor’s Office (SPO), which was established only a few years ago, has provoked loud protests from the liberal opposition to the Bratislava government, with several demonstrations by liberal parties against the proposal.

One of the reasons given by the government for the planned abolition of the ÚSP is the need to remove the prosecutor’s office from the possibility of political influence.

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