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Kollár: SaS ready to back EFSF enlargement, with conditions

The coalition party Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) will support the Act on Specific State Guarantees in parliament on Tuesday, October 11, thereby clearing the way for an increase in the size of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), SaS caucus chair Jozef Kollár said at a parliamentary European Affairs Committee session on Thursday.

The coalition party Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) will support the Act on Specific State Guarantees in parliament on Tuesday, October 11, thereby clearing the way for an increase in the size of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), SaS caucus chair Jozef Kollár said at a parliamentary European Affairs Committee session on Thursday.

Kollár explained that SaS will approve the framework of the bailout fund, providing individual decisions about Slovakia's provision of financial assistance to troubled countries are made by a new, special committee composed of representatives of all six parliamentary parties, with every party having the right of veto. Slovakia's representative to the EFSF, Martin Bruncko, will then be obliged to vote on providing financial assistance in line with the decision of the committee. If Bruncko votes against a specific loan, Slovakia won't provide any money, Kollár said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. According to Kollár, such a law would provide scope for Slovakia to supply the fund with €7.7 billion, but not oblige it to do so.

Finance Minister Ivan Mikloš (Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ)) described SaS's stance as a significant shift, adding that it was the first he had heard about the proposal. Changes to the EFSF bailout fund, which are due to be voted on in parliament on October 11, are the least that can be done in order to stabilise the current eurozone situation, Mikloš said.

Kollár rejected the notion that SaS has yielded to the rest of the coalition. When asked why SaS rejected a similar solution proposed by the other coalition parties at a meeting in Častá-Papiernička one month ago, Kollár said that it was presented only verbally. "We've put it on the table in written form," Kollár said.

The Sme daily published a copy of what it said was the SaS proposal, which it had managed to obtain. Based on the document Sme reported that SaS also wants the government not to support the establishment of a permanent bailout scheme, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).

Independent MP and Ordinary People faction leader Igor Matovič welcomed news of a compromise agreement on the EFSF bailout fund. But Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) chairman Ján Figeľ called the proposal nonsense before the Coalition Council session on Thursday, stressing that the agreement of the coalition and opposition on crucial issues would be a unique phenomenon. According to coalition Most-Híd chairman Béla Bugár, the stance of SaS demonstrates that the liberals have understood the necessity of making compromises in order to have a functioning coalition. However, Bugár also raised objections to the concept of an EFSF committee.

Opposition Smer party leader Robert Fico immediately rejected the idea of his party nominating a representative to the proposed committee, calling it blatant disrespect for foreign partners. Smer is seeking to bring down the present government or have early elections as its price for supporting the bailout scheme in parliament.

Sources: TASR, Sme

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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