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IN SHORT

Euro-socialists increase pressure on Smer

THE PARTY of European Socialists (PES) is turning up the heat on Prime Minister Robert Fico, claiming again that recent incidents of ethnic intolerance in Slovakia are connected with the participation of the far-right Slovak National Party in Fico's ruling coalition.

PES Chairman Poul Nyrup Rasmussen publicly supported Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsányi in his recent condemnation of the anti-Hungarian incidents in Slovakia, the Sme daily wrote.

"I support Gyurcsányi. The fact that extremists were admitted into the Slovak government only supports other extremists. The most recent incidents absolutely contradict our common European values, and I call on Robert Fico to do everything in his power to prevent other attacks," Rasmussen said.

The chairman of Smer's parliamentary caucus, Miroslav Číž, rejected Rasmussen's words.

"I don't think he's right. I'm sorry that Mr Rasmussen sees it this way," he said.

According to Číž, by definition extremism is truly radical, which the SNS is not. Statements that SNS Chairman Ján Slota made 10 years ago are also being used to prove the case of extremism against the SNS, which Číž considers a standard political party.

Sources within the PES told Sme that Smer's membership in the group is almost sure to be suspended at the PES congress on October 12.

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