A referendum on substantial issues concerning the future of the EU and the eurozone should take place simultaneously with the general election on March 2012, Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) leader Richard Sulík said at a press conference on Tuesday, December 6.
By proposing the referendum, according to Sulík, SaS is trying to prevent Slovakia's sovereignty from being restricted via a Franco-German proposal to apply stricter budgetary rules in EU-member countries. "We believe that the setting up of a fiscal union and the abolition of the right of veto would lead to a curtailment of our sovereignty and independence," Sulík said, as reported by the TASR newswire. According to caucus leader Jozef Kollár, SaS objects to the establishment of a new EU commissioner for budgetary policy, because such an officeholder would in effect become a new EU finance minister.
Sulík announced that he would like a vote to authorise the referendum to be held in the current parliamentary session and said he intends to approach the other parliamentary parties about it. If the referendum proposal is backed by parliament, President Ivan Gašparovič could announce March 10 as the day on which it would take place, Sulík said.
The only party to back Sulík's idea is the Slovak National Party (SNS), plus independent MP Igor Matovič. Matovič thinks that the referendum is necessary, as by ratifying changes to the Lisbon Treaty, Slovakia would give up national powers.
Conversely, Most-Híd's leader Béla Bugár said he saw no reason for a referendum and claimed that the whole issue was only brought up because political parties including SaS want to use it to attract voters in the run-up to the March election.
Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) leader Mikuláš Dzurinda said a referendum was not necessary and that politicians should be responsible for this type of decision. Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) leader Ján Figeľ said he did not approve of the referendum proposal either, stressing that the KDH carefully evaluates every proposal that concerns Slovakia's sovereignty and position within the EU.
Anti-referendum sentiment was echoed by opposition Smer party leader Robert Fico, who proclaimed earlier on Tuesday that his party was prepared to back the eurozone changes in parliament.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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7. Dec 2011 at 14:00