“IT’S getting increasingly difficult to explain to Slovaks why they should help eurozone nations in which pensions, for instance, are three times higher than in my country,” Prime Minister Robert Fico told reporters in Berlin after his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on July 3, the Deutsche Welle website reported.
Both Fico and Merkel agreed that the Slovak and German governments have very similar attitudes towards European integration as well as on solutions for the sovereign debt and banking crisis.
“We agreed that in the future we need more Europe rather than less, especially in the eurozone,” Merkel stated, as quoted by the SITA newswire, noting that both governments are open to further integration within the EU.
Fico stressed that there are no unresolved political questions between Slovakia and Germany and that the attitudes and opinions of both countries on the most important bilateral and multilateral issues have become very close.
Fico and Merkel also found common ground over financial assistance for highly-indebted countries, saying that while “on the one hand, solidarity is important, on the other hand it is necessary to do your homework”, SITA wrote in quoting a statement by the leaders.
The agenda of the talks also included the potential sale of the 49-percent stake in Slovakia’s primary natural gas utility, SPP which is currently owned by E.ON Ruhrgas of Germany and GdF Suez of France. The two firms own the minority stake in SPP via Slovak Gas Holding B.V. and is in discussions with Energetický a Průmyslový Holding (EPH), a Czech energy company to sell those shares. Two shareholders in the Czech energy group, Daniel Křetínský and Petr Kellner, have confirmed the EPH’s interest in acquiring the 49-percent minority stake.
Merkel and Fico agreed at their meeting that the two governments “will not interfere into the process of the potential sale of the minority stake of the foreign owners in SPP”, said Erik Tomáš, the Government Office’s press department head, as reported by the Sme daily.
9. Jul 2012 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff