The appointment of a new environment minister, Jozef Medveď, does not mean the scandal over the sale of Slovakia’s excess carbon dioxide emissions quotas is over, Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) MP Pavol Frešo said on October 28. Medveď replaces Deputy Prime Minister Dušan Čaplovič, who has been acting as environment minister since the previous minister was sacked over the quotas scandal.
“It's only an attempt to send the emissions off into a pleasant winter hibernation,” said Frešo, making a play on the name of the new minister, which means ‘bear’ in Slovak. He added that Čaplovič was the fifth environment minister under Prime Minister Robert Fico's government and his task wasn't really to solve the problems linked to the bargain-priced sale of emissions quotas to a shady company, Interblue Group, but to "cover up the traces".
Frešo noted that Čaplovič didn't submit a complete report about the case within the agreed period. In the opinion of SDKÚ vice-chair Ivan Mikloš, another piece of evidence pointing to an attempt to cover things up is the fact that Čaplovič didn't allow Frešo to carry out an MPs' inquiry at the ministry. Mikloš added that the SDKÚ won't let up in its efforts to conduct an inquiry and said that MPs plan to visit the ministry as early as Thursday (October 29), despite the fact that Čaplovič was replaced by Medveď only on Wednesday.
Čaplovič said via his spokesman Michal Kaliňák that the SDKÚ statements came from “a big mouth.” Kaliňák went on to defend Čaplovič's time in office, stating that in the course of 60 days, the deputy prime minister gave the green light to experts and not to party minions, pointing out several times that he would open all doors to a standard and legitimate MPs inquiry, but not to a “cheap exhibition by MPs who don't belong to the designated parliamentary committee.”
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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29. Oct 2009 at 10:00