THE OPPOSITION may submit a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Robert Fico over the controversial 2008 sale of carbon dioxide emissions to a garage-based company, Interblue Group, and the Smer-dominated parliament’s unwillingness to discuss the matter. A special session was to be held on February 4, but Smer MPs did not approve the session’s programme, the TASR newswire reported.

“This no-confidence motion against the PM will follow the line that he shields people who earned money on the emissions sale,” said Pavol Frešo, chair of the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), as quoted by TASR.

Frešo added that Fico is on the side of the emissions traders and refuses to reveal the details of the sale, saying that “such a person does not have the right to be PM”.

Opposition representatives also believe that a list of people and companies which allegedly earned money on the disadvantageous sale, and which the government refuses to release publically, may contain the names of people connected with Smer. If there were no problems with the list, then parliament would be allowed to see it, Frešo said, as reported by TASR.

In 2008 the state sold its excess CO2 emissions quotas to a small, unknown firm called Interblue Group, then operating out of a US garage, at €5.05 per ton, a price significantly lower than the market value. The police estimated the damages suffered by the state at about €66 million.

The deal resulted in the dismissal of at least two environment ministers nominated by the Slovak National Party (SNS), as well as the SNS eventually losing political control of the ministry. The firm was subsequently dissolved and was reported to have been re-established as Interblue Group Europe, registered in Switzerland.

Before the special session, Fico, who is currently running for the president, said that his Smer party has nothing to do with the emissions case and none of its representatives were involved in the sale, as cited by the SITA newswire. He called on the MPs not to be drawn into the “opposition campaign” and advised them not to support the session’s programme.

According to Fico, the opposition only seeks to use parliament to attack him as a presidential candidate and connect him to the scandal, SITA wrote.

He also noted the fact that the opposition accused the government of hiding a list of people who were connected to Interblue Group after former SNS minister Ján Chrbet signed the deal. He stressed that the government does not have any such document and that it is not hiding anything, as cited by SITA.

Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák added that only the investigator can decide what can be published so as not to harm the investigation, SITA wrote.

Source: TASR, SITA

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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