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Who will have to change?

When the Party of European Socialists (PES) decided in October last year to suspend the Smer party and review its decision in June 2007, it did so because Smer hadn't respected the conclusions of its Berlin Congress, at which it was decided that no European socialist party would be allowed to cooperate with a political party that "supports or tries to arouse racial or ethnic prejudice or racial hatred".

When the Party of European Socialists (PES) decided in October last year to suspend the Smer party and review its decision in June 2007, it did so because Smer hadn't respected the conclusions of its Berlin Congress, at which it was decided that no European socialist party would be allowed to cooperate with a political party that "supports or tries to arouse racial or ethnic prejudice or racial hatred". The fact that the PES has decided to postpone its final decision from June to October does not mean that the situation has changed, but that the PES needs more time to study it.

Last October, after Smer decided to work with the far-right SNS party, PES head Poul Rasmussen said that "Slovakia needs social democracy, but not at the cost of a compromise with extreme nationalism and xenophobia". It is clear that the SNS has not changed, just as it is clear that Smer has not understood or accepted its suspension. Following the protest that arose at Jan Slota's statement that he envied the Czechs for having deported their ethnic Germans, Slota began to control himself a bit, but it didn't last long. Last Sunday, he added another in a collection of pearls proving the wisdom of the Berlin Congress: "Most Slovaks, and in fact most Europeans, know that Kosovo Albanians traffic in white meat [i.e. are people-traffickers]" and that "they are directly tied to Al Kaida and cooperate with terrorists".

No, Slota and the SNS have not changed since last summer, and nor has the chairman of Smer, who said recently for an Austrian daily that European socialists have no reason for criticism, and that he doesn't understand "why we were punished by the PES".

Given that neither the SNS nor Smer have changed, Fico's Smer can only be re-admitted if the PES itself changes.


Sme, May 10

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