Monday

9th Dec 2019

Slovakia's Fico warns of referendum 'adventures'

  • Referendums in the UK and Italy have created uncertainty, Fico argues (Photo: Aleksandra Eriksson)

Slovak prime minister Rober Fico has urged EU leaders to avoid referendum "adventures" on domestic issues because they are putting the EU and the euro at risk.

Fico, whose country held the EU rotating presidency until the end of last year and which is a member of the eurozone, warned of implications for the single currency.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

"I am asking EU leaders to stop with adventures like the British and Italian referendums ... on domestic issues which pose a threat to the EU," he told reporters on Monday (2 January).

The UK voted to to leave the bloc last June, while Italy's former prime minister, Matteo Renzi, called a referendum on constitutional reforms, which he lost, in December, forcing him to resign and creating political uncertainty in the eurozone's third biggest economy.

France's far-right leader Marine Le Pen has vowed to hold a referendum on the country's EU and euro membership if she wins May's presidential elections.

Austria's far-right party, the FPO, whose candidate came second in presidential elections last year has also toyed with the idea of a referendum on EU membership.

"Britain is not a eurozone country, Italy has a huge impact on the banking sector, the euro," Fico warned.

"What will we do if ... there is a referendum in Italy on the euro and Italian citizens decide they don't want the euro?”, Fico was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Slovakia's own anti-immigrant party, Our Slovakia, wants out of the EU and has also been gathering signatures to trigger a referendum on the issue.

Referendums left a mark on the Slovak presidency, which took over the rotating presidency a few days after the Brexit vote.

Hungary also held a referendum in October on rejecting an EU policy on migration quotas, something that Slovakia likewise opposes.

The Netherlands held a non-binding plebiscite on the EU-Ukraine association agreement in April, which it rejected, forcing EU leaders at the December summit to give fresh assurances to Dutch PM Marc Rutte that Ukraine was not in line to join the bloc to enable him to ratify the agreement.

Magazine

EU legitimacy in question

From lost referendums to growing contention of the EU's role in policies, people's commitment to the European project has diminished further this year.

Italy referendum spooks eurozone

Prime minister Matteo Renzi's resignation, followed by a crushing rejection of his reforms, has sent the euro plunging against the dollar and put the country's fragile banking system at risk.

Orban spins migrant vote result, as EU celebrates

Hungarians have rejected xenophobia with their resounding no-show to Viktor Orban's referendum on Sunday, according to European politicians. But the prime minister claims the vote has validated his battle with Brussels.

EPP wants to re-open accession talks with Balkans

An emergency resolution adopted at the European People's Party (EPP) congress in Zagreb calls on the EU Council and member states to take a positive decision on opening accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania as soon as possible.

Tusk pledges 'fight' for EU values as new EPP president

The outgoing president of the EU council, Donald Tusk, is set to be elected as the president of the centre-right European People's Party (EPP). Tusk will have to deal with the final decision over Hungary's ruling Fidesz.

News in Brief

  1. EU agrees future human rights sanctions
  2. Greens demand Zahradil conflict of interest probe
  3. EU commission to 'correct mistake' on enlargement
  4. Luxembourg pushes EU to recognise Palestine
  5. Minister: 'All Brussels kids should be trilingual at 18'
  6. Macron pushes pension reform despite protests
  7. Marin becomes Finland's youngest prime minister
  8. Greece denies access to fair asylum process, report says

Wilmès becomes first female PM of Belgium

On Sunday, Sophie Wilmès was appointed as the new prime minister of Belgium - becoming the first female head of government in the country's history. She replaces Charles Michel who becomes president of the European Council.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us