The EUGC had previously refused another Slovak candidate, Mária Patakyová, because of her poor knowledge of the French language. The same could still happen to Procházka.
The cabinet approved Procházka’s candidacy on September 28, and it also approved the candidates for ad hoc judges for the European Court of Human Rights – Ondrej Laciak, Tomáš Ľalík and Ladislav Duditš, the TASR newswire wrote.
Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák will submit Prochazka’s bid to Jeppe Tranholm-Mikkelsen, Secretary-General for the Council of the EU . Now, Procházka faces a hearing before an EUGC advisory committee.
He was nominated by the Judicial Council on September 19 when he received the required minimum of ten votes out of a total of 17. Procházka is not worried that his political career could hinder him from being accepted by the EUGC. He will renounce his parliamentary mandate only after he has been assigned the prestigious international post.
However, his candidacy has not been perceived positively by all. The opposition Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party appealed to the government not to approve his candidacy on September 20. SaS leader Richard Sulík said that Procházka has neither the ability, nor the moral credit to resolve disputes at an international level.
Justice Minister Lucia Žitnanská (Most-Híd party) does not have a clear opinion on the candidacy of Procházka. “My personal opinion is just as ambivalent as I’ve described it,” she told the TASR newswire. “I think that a lot of us feel the same. I’ve known Rado Procházka as a professional for years, that’s why I’m wavering," said the minister, who had voted for him at the session. “It’s totally obvious that the nomination of Procházka wouldn’t be in doubt if it had happened two years ago, which attests to his erudition. A political career sometimes complicates further professional growth. Everyone views it this way and is waiting to see how Luxembourg will assess it. Nevertheless, we’ll get an answer and we’ll be shown clear boundaries for what’s acceptable and what’s not,” she explained.
Minister Lajčák said that he does not dare to evaluate Procházka as he has never met him in person before but he noted that the candidate’s resume impressed him.
Speaking to Sme daily, Zuzana Wienk, head of the Aliancia Fair-play watchdog said, “I think that a candidate for such an important European position should not be selected in this way. This nomination, despite Procházka’s expertise, feels rather like political bartering in reaction to the changing coalition. These circumstances, as well as vast suspicions over the non-transparency of the Sieť party's financing, raise grave questions over this nomination, and cast a light that will rather discredit Slovakia in the European community,” she summed up.
Some judges have opposed the nomination, too. „This is based on a serious dilemma over whether only excellent expertise is enough for such an important judicial position, if there are suspicions of moral failing,” president of the For Open Justice association of judges, Katarína Javorčíková, told Sme.
On the other hand, the biggest professional union, the Association of Judges of Slovakia, has no reservations about his suitability for the post.