Slovakia – Following early parliamentary elections on September 30, Slovakia’s two social democratic parties – Smer-SD and Hlas-SD of former prime ministers Robert Fico and Peter Pellegrini, respectively – have just concluded a coalition agreement with the Slovak National Party (SNS). For this reason, the Party of European Socialists (PES) has decided to suspend their membership (or associate membership, in the case of Hlas-SD) in a move reminiscent of the ostracism suffered by Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz from the European People’s Party (EPP) before it eventually departed from it.
Moving away from European socialist “values”
According to the PES’ press release,
“This step has been taken following the clear divergence from the values of the PES family demonstrated by Smer-SD leader Robert Fico.
And additionally, as a result of concerns raised following the announcement of a government coalition between Smer-SD, Hlas-SD, and a radical-right party.”
Besides the coalition agreement with a party considered by the PES to be far-right, the European Socialists are criticizing Smer for its positions on the Ukrainian war (considered to be pro-Russian) as well as on immigration and the LGBT agenda.
The PES seems bent on taking things further. Pedro Marques, vice-president of the Socialists and Democrats group in the European Parliament, said he was “concerned by Robert Fico’s rhetoric”.
If this rhetoric continues and turns into action, a process of sanctions can begin, and exclusion is possible.”
The S&D group in the European Parliament fully supported the PES’ decision, and its leader, Iratxe Garcia Perez, explained: “This is a necessary step. As president of the Socialist Group in the European Parliament, I’ll be discussing the situation of the Slovak MEPs in my group next week.” The three Smer-SD parliamentarians, Monika Beňová, Robert Hajšel, and Katarína Roth Neveďalová, are to be suspended from the group as of next week.
Hlas-SD spokeswoman Patrícia Medveď Macíková expressed surprise at the PES’ decision: “We are firmly convinced that the Party of European Socialists will reconsider its decision and that negotiations on Hlas-SD’s membership in this political group will continue.”