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Fico rejected by European socialists

THE SMER party of new Slovak PM Robert Fico could be expelled from the Party of European Socialists because it is cooperating in the country's new coalition government with the far-right Slovak National Party (SNS).

According to Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, the head of the European socialists, the SNS is a "xenophobic and nationalist party" that European socialists cannot tolerate.

Rasmussen warned Fico to think again about the composition of his government if he does not want to risk isolation in Europe, the SME daily wrote.

A formal decision on the fate of Fico's party in the European Parliament will come after the summer recess. If Smer is expelled, it will be the first time in history the Party of European Socialists has taken such drastic action against a member.

Fico met with the European socialists yesterday but failed to convince his partners that the new Slovak government would respect all minority rights; the leaders of socialist parties in 32 states voted for Smer's membership to be temporarily suspended, with only Smer and Czech Prime Minister Jiří Paroubek dissenting.

Smer MEP Monika Beňová admits that the new government is problematic, and believes that the European socialists will expel Smer.

Compiled by Martina Jurinová from press reports

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