Smer and ČSSD sign cooperation deal

SLOVAK Prime Minister Robert Fico, who is also the chairman of the socialist Smer party, signed a memorandum on cooperation with the leader of the Czech Social-Democratic Party (ČSSD), Jiří Paroubek, at the end of their two-day talks in Lubina, western Slovakia, on August 27.

In the memorandum, the parties declared their desire to deepen European integration and to cooperate more closely within the Party of European Socialists (PES).

Paradoxically, the membership of Fico's Smer party in the PES is still in doubt as several representatives of the European Socialists object to the fact that Smer joined with the far-right Slovak National Party (SNS) to create Slovakia's new coalition government.

According to Paroubek, the memorandum signed by the ČSSD and Smer is "strongly pro-European and in much the same vein as the policy of the Slovak government, and no one can say anything else in this regard."

He said that the European socialists' criticism of the new Slovak government was inappropriate. "I don't understand this thing, as it was not built on a rational basis. I proposed to the European socialists that they give Fico's government 100 days [before judging it]," Paroubek said.

He added that the Fico government had taken no undemocratic steps so far.

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