EUROVAL, the European “defence bulwark” devised to save the common currency, was this newspaper’s word of the week just over a year ago. Why bother reading about it again? There are two main reasons – firstly, it is likely the most important topic of this period. And secondly, it provides a fun way of discovering the double personalities of local politicians.
Parliamentary speaker Richard Sulík claims that by building the euroval the EU is becoming like the Soviet Union and that he will do his best to stop the project. On the other hand, he is reluctant to say that he will leave the coalition if the other parties join forces with opposition party Smer, although the coalition agreement explicitly states that when it comes to key issues, such unions are forbidden. Where are the principles? Where is the determination to stop European Bolsheviks? And how can he stay in government with someone who is preparing to betray national interests anyway, at least the way he sees it?
Smer leader Robert Fico, who could provide the coalition with enough votes, defends an equally awkward position. He keeps repeating that his Smer party is all for the financial mechanisms. But he will not vote for them unless the coalition as a whole does so as well.
Prime Minister Iveta Radičová would surely like to appeal to Fico’s statesmanship and sense of responsibility towards Europe. But she can’t. In 2008 Radičová and the entire right refused to vote for the Lisbon treaty, against which they had no substantial objections. The move was a protest against Fico’s restrictive Press Code, which did give reason for concern, but never seemed quite as important as the new European treaty. Not even to journalists. In the end, Fico found the necessary 90 votes only thanks to a deal with the Hungarian SMK party.
Radičová says that the future of the euro and the Slovak economy depend on euroval 1 and 2. But she refuses to tell Sulík and his SaS party that a failed vote will mean an end to her government, a threat she used twice during her first year in office when it came to matters that certainly won’t go down as historically significant – the election of the general prosecutor and a cronyism scandal in her own SDKÚ party.
In 2010 this newspaper wrote that when it comes to solving the euro crisis, the new coalition needs to build a bulwark to shield itself from populism, indecisiveness and irresponsibility. Since then, all three seem to have deepened. If that doesn’t change, euroval may not be just the first big issue this government has had to deal with. It may also be the last.
22. Aug 2011 at 0:00 | Lukáš Fila