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Fico demands ‘proof’ over quotas contract

Prime Minister Robert Fico said at a press conference on May 12 that if the Slovak opposition or media doesn’t present proof that the sale of the country’s excess carbon-dioxide emission quotas was disadvantageous for Slovakia by next Monday, the whole affair will cease to exist for him.

Prime Minister Robert Fico said at a press conference on May 12 that if the Slovak opposition or media doesn’t present proof that the sale of the country’s excess carbon-dioxide emission quotas was disadvantageous for Slovakia by next Monday, the whole affair will cease to exist for him.

According to Fico, the proof should consist of relevant information that another country sold its emission quotas at a significantly higher price at the same time. Fico said he hadn’t seen such proof even though he had looked for it intensively.

“If we don't get proof, and we’re entitled to ask you [i.e. the media] for it …we’ll close the case without any further explanations and comments. This affair will cease to exist for us as of Monday evening,” said Fico.

His statement came after the affair surrounding the controversial sale of the quotas had already led to the dismissal of Ján Chrbet as environment minister. The opposition has stated that the quotas were sold last year at a price considerably lower than those charged by other countries. The local media has reported that the Czech Republic and Ukraine sold their excess emissions quotas at prices of €9 to €10 per tonne, whereas Slovakia’s were sold for €6.05 per tonne to Interblue Group, a company which was established shortly before the sale and whose ownership structure remains obscure.

Fico said last week that he didn’t dismiss Chrbet over the contract but because of his political failure and attempts to shun responsibility, the TASR newswire wrote. Fico was referring to an earlier statement by Chrbet that he would submit the controversial contract to the Government for cancellation. At the same time, he said, he personally would vote against withdrawing from the agreement, and would appeal to his fellow ministers to do the same. TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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