Thursday, 13 October 2011

Rob Burgeman: Slovakia hits headlines

Say what you like about the eurozone crisis, but it certainly does wonders for our knowledge of the peripheral nations of Europe and their domestic political situations.  Slovakia, it must said, has not made many headlines since its peaceful divorce from the Czech Republic in 1993.  It joined the European Union in 2004, adopted the Euro in 2009 and has, with all due respect to the good burghers of Bratislava, not made much of a noise since.  That changed this week when the Slovak parliament refused to ratify the expansion of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) to facilitate a resolution to the Greek debt crisis.

This is as much to do with the internal politics of a Slovak coalition in trouble as it is an economic issue and led directly to the fall of the government.  In all likelihood, a second vote will be held shortly and the logjam will be cleared.  However, with elections looming in larger states, the words of Richard Sulik, the leader of the Freedom and Solidarity Party in Slovakia, will be looked on with alarm by incumbent governments.  “I’d rather be a pariah in Brussels than have to feel ashamed before my children, who would be deeper in debt should I back raising the volume of funding in the EFSF bail-out mechanism” echoes sentiments that will be seized on by increasingly belligerent marginal parties across the Eurozone and will make the task of finding some kind of political consensus that can be approved by 27 different nations more challenging. 
Politicians seem to have woken up to the seriousness of the situation, but it remains to be seen if they can forge the kind of decisive action that is required to resolve the situation.

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