IN SHORT

Smer indifferent about PES membership

THE RULING Smer party, led by Prime Minister Robert Fico, is not making any efforts to get itself re-admitted to the Party of European Socialists (PES), said Martin Schultz, the head of the socialists' club in the European Parliament.

PES punished Smer for forming a ruling coalition with the far-right Slovak National Party by suspending Smer's PES membership in October 2006 with plans to review the situation in June 2007. At the time, PES told Smer that the party would not be re-admitted into the European party unless it broke off cooperation with the nationalists, a partnership that PES regards as completely unacceptable for a socialist party.

However, Smer has not yet shown any sign that they intend to fulfil PES' demands.

"We'll have to speak about it this spring, but I can't imagine why Robert Fico remains so passive," Schultz told the SITA news agency.

According to Smer deputy chairman Vladimír Maňka, Schultz and European socialist MP Jan Marinus Wiersma are preparing to visit Slovakia.

Maňka said that informal talks between Smer and PES are being held, the Pravda daily wrote.

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