Friday, July 07, 2006

Embarrasment on the Danube

The Socialists in Europe are now seriously embarrassed by what their party in Slovakia has done after the election there.

Socialist Smer party leader Robert Fico has managed to get himself into the position of Prime Minister by entering into a coalition with the nationalist and anti-minority Slovak National Party SNS.

Its platform is very much directed against the Hungarian minority in Slovakia and its different demands and rights. The party of the Hungarian minority was a party of the outgoing reformist centre-right coalition.

In the past there have been serious tensions between Slovak and Hungarian national agendas. But it is one of the great merits of the Dzurinda government to have overcome them to a very large extent. It’s been policy with a true European spirit.

But the SNS party has been campaigning on a platform of xenophobia against all of this.

And suddenly the Socialist enters into coalition with them in order to get into power.

Most observers did not expect this to happen. It was seen as too much a step backward for the country after it has been establishing itself as a true vanguard of reform in Central Europe.

It’s a disgrace.

And to the credit of the Socialist group in the European Parliament it must be said that they are recognizing the disgrace for what it is and threatening to exclude the Slovak party from their group.

As to the policies to be pursued by the new Slovak government much is still unclear.

But there is every reason to keep a critical eye on what will happen by the Danube in Bratislava in the months to come.