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PM: Anti.-system movements gain force in Europe

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Bratislava, Oct 22 (CTK) – Movements opposed to the European integration and the traditional party system are gaining force in Europe and Social Democracy must react to people’s fears, Czech PM Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said at a programme conference of the Slovak Smer-SD party Friday.
Sobotka told the conference of Smer-social Democracy (Smer-SD) of Prime Minister Robert Fico that “Social Democrats must regain their political dynamism (in Europe)” and warned of movements that profit from people’s frustration and from the negative impacts of globalisation.
Sobotka said the biggest danger threatening Europe are efforts at a gradual disintegration of integrated Europe.
He said Social Democrat parties must pay attention to the feelings ff the medium strata and low-income layers, employees, small business people, seniors and the young.
“We must react to citizens’ fears of the future. People are afraid of a worsening of security, of terrorism and of losing their current social status,” Sobotka said.
He said Social Democracy must guarantee people prosperity and security and it must defend freedom and liberal democracy which is threatened by populists, oligarchs and xenophobes.
German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, head of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD), said it is necessary to defend the ideas of freedom and solidarity. People must have the feeling that Europe helps them in their everyday lives.
Fico, who is the longest-serving Slovak PM, said the living standards in Slovakia should reach 85 percent of the EU average by 2020.
Fico convoked the programme conference before the party’s December congress.
According to documents for Friday’s conference, Smer-SD would welcome a strengthening of the responsibility of the European Commission in relation to the European Parliament and national parliaments’ participation in decision-making on the economy and the monetary union as well the process of approving international trade agreements.
Smer-SD is the strongest party in the current coalition government which replaced Fico’s one-colour government after the March general election.

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