IN SHORT

President angered by SMK

SLOVAK President Ivan Gašparovič has criticized representatives of the opposition Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK) for complaining about their situation in Slovakia in the European Parliament in mid-February.

The SMK officials claimed that the Hungarian minority was to receive less money this year from the state budget.

"I find it unacceptable that they run to these institutions and create an atmosphere of doubt around Slovakia," said the president in an interview with the commercial Joj TV station.

SMK Chairman Béla Bugár labeled the president's criticism "communist relics". He said that during their visit to Brussels the SMK representatives had also praised Slovakia in some respects.

"That does not mean, however, that I cannot have certain critical views about some concrete steps the government has taken," Bugár said.

In his opinion, the Fico government has broken its promise to maintain the status quo on ethnic minorities, and in 2007 has assigned the Hungarian minority 16 percent less in funding compared to 2005.

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