Slovakia’s New Cabinet Led by Populist Ex-Premier Opposes Support for Ukraine
October 26, 2023 | by b1og.net
Slovakia’s newly sworn-in government, led by former populist prime minister Robert Fico, is poised to halt the country’s military aid for Ukraine. Fico’s return to power marks his fourth tenure as prime minister, following his party’s victory in the recent parliamentary election. With a pro-Russian and anti-American platform, Fico’s coalition government aims to reshape Slovakia’s foreign policy, challenging the country’s previous support for Ukraine and potentially straining unity within the European Union and NATO. Fico’s views will be put to test at an upcoming EU summit, where he is expected to present his stance on issues such as EU sanctions on Russia and Ukraine’s potential NATO membership.
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Slovakia has recently sworn in a new government led by Robert Fico, a populist ex-premier. This government is a coalition between Fico’s party, Smer, and two other parties, Hlas and Slovak National Party. Fico’s return to power raises concerns due to his foreign policy stance and controversial appointments in his new government.
Fico’s foreign policy stance is a major point of contention. He opposes support for Ukraine, signaling a shift in Slovakia’s previous support for the country. This includes ending military aid and questioning Ukraine’s ability to force out Russian troops. Fico also proposes blocking Ukraine’s NATO membership and suggests a compromise peace deal instead. These positions have significant implications for Slovakia’s foreign policy.
The controversial appointments in the new government have also raised eyebrows. Some ministers have been linked to disinformation campaigns or have been known to spread false news. Additionally, there are concerns about a crackdown on NGOs receiving foreign funding, as well as the continuation of anti-corruption efforts. These domestic policy priorities reflect the tone and direction of the new government.
Opposition to Support for Ukraine
One of the key areas of concern with Fico’s government is its opposition to support for Ukraine. This includes ending military aid to Ukraine, which Slovakia had previously provided. Fico’s party also opposes the European Union’s sanctions on Russia, further straining their relationship with Ukraine. Moreover, Fico questions Ukraine’s ability to forcefully remove Russian troops and advocates for blocking Ukraine’s NATO membership.
In place of support for Ukraine, Fico proposes a compromise peace deal. He believes that the European Union and the United States should use their influence to force Russia and Ukraine to negotiate a peaceful resolution. While this approach may aim to ease tensions, it has raised concerns about Slovakia’s commitment to supporting Ukraine and its alignment with Russia.
Implications for Slovakia’s Foreign Policy
Fico’s opposition to supporting Ukraine raises significant implications for Slovakia’s foreign policy. For years, Slovakia has been a staunch supporter of Ukraine, providing military aid and assistance. This has aligned Slovakia with the European Union and NATO’s stance on Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.
With Fico’s return to power and his government’s anti-Ukraine stance, there may be strained unity within the EU and NATO. Slovakia’s previous support for Ukraine may be undermined, damaging relationships with its allies. Fico’s proposed foreign policy priorities, such as opposing EU sanctions on Russia and blocking Ukraine’s NATO membership, represent a significant shift in Slovakia’s foreign policy direction.
Domestic Policy Priorities
Alongside its foreign policy stance, Fico’s government has outlined several domestic policy priorities. One of these priorities is a tough stance on migration. Fico’s party has campaigned against immigration, and this sentiment is reflected in their policy approach. The government aims to tighten border controls and restrict migration to Slovakia.
Another domestic policy priority is cracking down on NGOs receiving foreign funding. The government expresses concerns about foreign influence on NGOs and aims to limit their activities. This move has raised concerns about the suppression of civil society and freedom of speech.
Furthermore, the government has expressed concerns about disinformation campaigns. They plan to address these concerns by implementing measures to combat false news and propaganda. The government recognizes the importance of information integrity and wants to ensure that the public is well-informed.
Lastly, the government intends to continue its efforts to fight corruption. Since the previous government came into power with an anti-corruption agenda, several high-ranking officials and politicians have been charged and convicted. The new government pledges to maintain these anti-corruption efforts, emphasizing its commitment to improving governance and accountability.
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The Return of Fico
The return of Robert Fico to power has not been without controversy. In the past, Fico and his former Interior Minister, Robert Kalinak, faced criminal charges for creating a criminal group and misuse of power. Despite these charges, Fico has managed to secure the prime minister position once again.
Fico is known for his controversial statements and policies. He has frequently criticized journalists, campaigned against immigration, and threatened to dismiss investigators handling serious crimes and corruption. These actions have raised concerns about his leadership style and his commitment to democratic values.
Comparison to Hungary’s Orbán
There are concerns that Slovakia could follow in the footsteps of Hungary under Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Fico’s return to power and his alignment with populist and nationalist policies has drawn comparisons to Orbán’s leadership. Both leaders have displayed similar rhetoric and policies, including anti-immigration sentiments and a disregard for democratic institutions.
While it remains to be seen how closely Slovakia will mimic Hungary’s path, the similarities in rhetoric and policies are cause for concern. Many fear that Fico’s government could lead Slovakia down a similar path to Hungary, which has faced criticism for its erosion of democratic norms.
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Composition of the New Cabinet
The new cabinet in Slovakia consists of ministers from various parties. Fico’s party, Smer, has a significant presence in the cabinet, with six ministers representing the party. Hlas, the party led by Fico’s former deputy, has seven ministers in the cabinet. Another party, the Slovak National Party, has three ministers in the cabinet. This composition reflects the coalition government formed by these parties and highlights the collaborative nature of the new government.
The swearing-in of Slovakia’s new government led by Robert Fico marks a significant shift in the country’s foreign policy stance. Fico’s opposition to support for Ukraine and his controversial appointments in the government raise concerns about Slovakia’s commitment to democratic values and regional alliances.
The implications for Slovakia’s foreign policy are significant, potentially straining unity within the European Union and NATO. The government’s domestic policy priorities, including a tough stance on migration and crackdown on NGOs, further raise concerns about civil liberties and governance.
The return of Fico and the similarities between his rhetoric and policies with those of Viktor Orbán in Hungary intensify worries about the erosion of democratic norms in Slovakia. The composition of the new cabinet reflects the coalition government formed by Fico’s party, Smer, and two other parties, Hlas and Slovak National Party.
As Slovakia moves forward under the leadership of Robert Fico, the international community will be closely watching the government’s actions and their impact on the country’s foreign and domestic policies.