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Fico leaves special parliamentary session with to meet Czech counterpart
13 Feb 2014 Flash News
Prime Minister Robert Fico left the special parliamentary session summoned by the opposition MPs February 13 trying to oust him over a disadvantageous 2008 sale of carbon-dioxide emissions, the SITA newswire wrote.
That incident occurred during Fico’s first term as prime minister. The opposition called for the special session after ruling Smer party declined to discuss the issue in parliament at last week’s extraordinary session (February 4).
In 2008, the state sold its excess carbon dioxide 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 state missed out an estimated €47 million in potential revenue.
The Interblue Group divided its profits among 10 other companies with three Slovaks in background. It seems that one of the companies, Ossian Establishment allegedly owned by a man with initials Jozef B. who has been described by media as a sponsor of Smer, returned the money to Interblue and their mutual balance is zero. The Slovak National Party-SNS, which was in a coalition with Smer at the time, administrated the sale. The case cost two SNS environment ministers their seats. The Sme daily also obtained an anonymous letter claiming that Smer which led a coalition government back in 2008 was informed by the Slovak Information Service through a special report about the case.
“This session is completely useless,” Fico said, as quoted by SITA. “You have to know from the very beginning what the situation is in the parliament form the point of view of numbers [his Smer party holds an outright majority]. Nothing special will happen, you only unnecessarily increase tension in society.”
In the end of his speech, he left the chamber citing a meeting with new Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. Opposition MPs called his move “cowardice” and proof that he is fully involved in the dubious case. They also reminded that neither Vladimír Mečiar, nor Iveta Radičová (both former prime ministers) fled no-confidence votes.
Sobotka is visiting Slovakia February 13, thus continuing the tradition according to which the first foreign visit of newly appointed Czech and Slovak senior officials always leads to the other country. Sobotka will meet Fico, Finance Minister Peter Kažimír and Speaker of Parliament Pavol Paška.
They will discuss mutual relations, the positive experience of Slovakia with fighting tax evasion, the cooperation within the Visegrad 4 group, as well as a planned joint session of the Czech and Slovak cabinets. Sobotka and Fico agreed on the importance of road infrastructure and road connections between their two countries.
(Source: SITA, TASR)
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