Fico: Slovakia does not back the curbing of Hungary’s rights in the EU

Slovak prime minister Robert Fico told a press conference that developments “around Hungary and Slovakia” in the EU were concerning.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said in Budapest on Tuesday that Slovakia does not back the curbing of Hungary’s rights in the European Union, and “will never agree to a country being penalized for fighting for sovereignty and national independence."

Speaking after talks with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Fico told a joint press conference that developments “around Hungary and Slovakia” in the EU were concerning. The EP was planning to adopt a declaration on changes to the Slovak Penal Code and on the country abolishing the special prosecutor’s office, he said. Fico also slammed the Slovak opposition, saying “they harm the entire country just so they can harm the government.” Slovakia is monitoring the situation around Hungary too, as there have been proposals to strip the country of its voting and other rights, Fico said. He pledged to oppose any measures “aiming to punish countries for fighting for national independence and sovereignty.” Fico said Slovakia also rejected the EU migration pact and agreed with Orbán’s stance on the war in Ukraine and on the role of the Visegrad Group. Hungary’s rights can only be curbed with a consensus of all member states, “and I, President Robert Fico of Slovakia, shall never agree to such an attack, because it would be contrary to my stance on the protection of sovereignty and national interests,” he said. Fico invited Orbán to visit Slovakia, praised Hungary’s proposals on the EU budget and support for Ukraine as “intelligent and sensible”, and said Slovakia would back those proposals. Despite belonging to different political factions, Fico said he agreed with Orbán’s stance on rejecting the migration pact, Ukraine and the future of the Visegrad Group, as well as Europe’s future. He thanked Hungary’s help in protecting Slovak airspace. Regarding aid for Ukraine, Fico said Slovakia would continue to provide humanitarian aid but will reject delivering weapons. Meanwhile, Slovakia would like to allocate more EU funding to the fight against illegal migration and the secondary effects of the war in Ukraine, he said. “It is tragic that the Visegrad Group has been hobbled,” he said, and called on the Czech prime minister to convene a meeting of the heads of government of Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia “on matters concerning all four member states”. On the future of the EU, Fico said scrapping the veto rights of member states and introducing majority decision-making in important security and political issues “would be the beginning of the end”. On bilateral ties between Hungary and Slovakia, Fico called for opening further border crossings and said the Slovak government was planning to hold sessions outside of Parliament, including the regions inhabited by ethnic Hungarians. The ombudsman for ethnic minorities will also be an ethnic Hungarian, he added.