Robert Fico has not changed, complained Martin Schulz, the head of the socialist club in the European Parliament, and until he does, the European socialists will not revise the suspension last year of Fico's Smer party.
From a Slovak perspective, however, everything looks different. Fico has changed enormously, moving from a 20% approval rating to 40%, while his party and his government also enjoy record popularity and a bright future. Europe's socialists can't get used to this fact, but have very few ways of making life uncomfortable for Fico's socialists.
It is actually the European socialists who now face an impasse. If they let Fico back in they will be seen to have capitulated, and if they keep him out, they will be seen to be ineffective, as nothing has happened to Smer as a result of the suspension.
19. Feb 2007 at 0:00