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Euro-socialists could expel Smer - again

THE PERSISTENT opposition to refugee quotas and some of the strong statements that Prime Minister Robert Fico voiced with regard to the refugee crisis in Europe have led to suggestions that European socialists should suspend Smer, the ruling party in Slovakia, from within their ranks.

Smer MEP Monika Flašíková-Beňová (l)(Source: TASR)

“The position made clear by Mr Robert Fico that the 'mass migration of Muslim immigrants who would start to build mosques will not to be tolerated' or regarding  the ´restriction of the freedom of Muslims in Europe´ or again that ´Slovakia is built for Slovaks, not for minorities´, has embarrassed the whole Progressive family," President of the S&D group Gianni Pittella said ahead of the September 23 summit.

Pittella also criticised Fico for “persistent unwillingness to take responsibility and show solidarity” and suggested that the Party of European Socialists (PES) begin the procedure for the suspension of Smer.

Smer however, maintains that they have backed their rejection of quotas with rational arguments and “never cast doubt over our preparedness to contribute to aid in an active manner”, the party spokeswoman Ľubica Končalová told the TASR newswire.

Smer’s MEP Monika Flašíková Beňová is, however, confident that Smer won't be expelled.

"The procedure for expelling Smer has not even been initiated yet," she said as quoted by TASR.

It is not the first time for Smer to have its PES membership doubted. In fact, the party currently ruling in Slovakia was the first political party to have its PES membership suspended, back in 2006, when it formed a ruling coalition with the Slovak National Party (SNS), against the tradition of the European socialists not to unite with nationalist parties.

Smer’s full membership was reinstated in 2009 at the PES congress in Prague.

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