"It is very likely that thanks to Mečiar, we will not be taken in the first group of post-Communist countries trying to join European and trans-Atlantic structures."
Election of one opposition deputy to the parliamentary body supervising the Slovak Intelligence Service in May was just a cosmetic correction. Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar is not a trustworthy politician. His signature on a document means nothing.
I do not believe that changes in the political climate will take place this fall either. Simply, the fight for Slovakia will carry on. One part of the political spectrum will keep abusing the country, especially in the economy- through privatization theft. Legally - the representatives of government power will keep covering up crimes. Morally - public television will lie without scruples. The other end of the political spectrum, struggling for a fair, decent and European Slovakia, will call attention to the moves of their political rivals.
The internal politics of Mečiar's government, as it is, causes problems for Slovakia abroad. It is very likely that thanks to Mečiar, we will not be taken in the first group of post-Communist countries trying to join European and trans-Atlantic structures.
Representatives of the Party of the Democratic Left (SDĽ) have decided to lobby for Slovakia internationally. To talk about lobbies means to cover up the real reason for Slovakia's political problems abroad. I am a little worried that the SDĽ's activities may make Slovak citizens believe that it is not our internal politics that is the trouble. People may just believe that some foreign countries don't like us. However, I certainly agree that it is necessary to make foreign politicians realize that Slovakia is by far not entirely pro-Mečiar.
I believe that sooner or later, there will be a shift in the electorate towards the opposition. Mečiar's schemes will only help it. HZDS makes big mistakes. It makes policies that careen into an impasse. It is not possible to cheat so many people forever without them noticing. It is not possible to keep breaching the rule of law. I give the HZDS regime 3-4 more years. They will be years of rough political manners, but let's not be pessimistic. Mečiar cannot destroy this country completely.
The decision of selecting the first group of countries from the former Soviet bloc to join NATO and the EU will take place before 1998. This means before Slovakia next holds its parliamentary elections. Our government's policies will hardly change before that time, which will probably postpone our entrance into the Alliance and the Union. It is unpleasant, and it will be very unpleasant.
But it does not have to be taken as a tragedy. If a different government takes over, which may happen in the next elections, Slovakia's position in the eyes of the world will naturally change as well. And it will happen firmly and fast. Even if Slovakia does not manage to achieve membership in the European and trans-Atlantic structures now in the first round, we will certainly make it in the second one.
František Palko is a board member of the opposition Christian Democratic Movement (KDH).
Editor's note: We regret the absence of the coalition's response to this question. Augustín Márian Húska (HZDS), Deputy Chairman of Parliament and chairman of the EU-Slovak joint parliamentary committee, agreed to respond, but later refused to write the piece. Other coalition deputies also declined at the last minute.
28. Aug 1996 at 0:00 | František Palko