Saturday

17th Nov 2018

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 18 year's of archives. 30 days 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.

Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM puts Orban on spot

Authorities in Budapest confirmed the former prime minister of Macedonia, fleeing a jail sentence in his own country, has filed for asylum. Despite Hungary's strict asylum laws, the pro-Kremlin politician was not turned away.

Merkel calls for 'real, true' EU army

Angela Merkel's much-anticipated speech to the European Parliament was brief and to the point. Her message: Europe is alone in the world, the EU should be more united on defence, but not on the economy.

News in Brief

  1. US warns EU banks and firms against trading with Iran
  2. Merkel urged Romania not to move embassy to Jerusalem
  3. Protesters call for Czech leader to step down
  4. Former German chancellor labelled 'enemy' of Ukraine
  5. French lead opposition to Brexit deal on fisheries
  6. Private accounts of Danske Bank employees investigated
  7. UK's May defends Brexit deal to MPs, after ministers resign
  8. Brexit MP calls for 'no confidence' vote on May

Opinion

On Armistice Day, EU is still best gift we can give our children

While young people fought each other in 1918, young people in 2018 travel to study together under the Erasmus programme. But there is a risk of limiting our commemoration to representing the past through just speeches, museum exhibits and visits.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Brexit dominates EU affairs This WEEK
  2. How the EU commission got tunnel vision on self-driving cars
  3. No-confidence calls against May put Brexit deal in doubt
  4. Key points of the Brexit deal (if it ever comes into effect)
  5. Romania heaps scorn on 'revolting' EU criticism
  6. US steps in to clean up Cyprus
  7. 'Decisive progress' on Brexit as British cabinet backs deal
  8. Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM puts Orban on spot

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us