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SLOVAK WORD OF THE WEEK

Eurovoľby

THE EURO elections (eurovoľby) roughly coincide with the time when Iveta Radičová’s term as prime minister was supposed to expire. Were it not for the 2011 no-confidence vote, the country would still be run by a centre-right government, Robert Fico would be the leader of the opposition (or the president-elect), General Prosecutor Jaromír Čižnár just a regular prosecutor, and controversial Supreme Court boss Štefan Harabin would probably not be considering re-election.

THE EURO elections (eurovoľby) roughly coincide with the time when Iveta Radičová’s term as prime minister was supposed to expire. Were it not for the 2011 no-confidence vote, the country would still be run by a centre-right government, Robert Fico would be the leader of the opposition (or the president-elect), General Prosecutor Jaromír Čižnár just a regular prosecutor, and controversial Supreme Court boss Štefan Harabin would probably not be considering re-election.

So yes, Slovakia has definitely paid a price for deepened European integration – Radičová fell because part of her coalition was unwilling to support a new round of the Greek bailout. In hindsight it must be clear to all on the right that the price for delaying Bratislava’s approval for several hours (the financial plan passed thanks to Smer after early elections were agreed on) was too high. And the 2012 voting results proved that voters find such gestures appalling.

Still, several parties continue to run on a platform of euroscepticism. That stance was absurd then, and is even more so now. The conflict in Ukraine shows that a functioning EU is in Slovakia’s vital interest. And the more integrated, the better. Levels of Brussels bureaucracy, national sovereignty and democratic deficits are interesting issues. But Russian tanks pose a somewhat bigger threat, at least to the countries that were already visited by those tanks in the past.

A clearly pro-European attitude is one of the few positive sides of the current administration. If the opposition ever wants be a credible alternative, it needs to get past its Europhobia. Barosso, van Rompuy or Ashton may have their flaws, but in the foreseeable future Putin will be the one we really need to worry about.

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