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Politico: Slovak election will determine future of Europe

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Bratislava, Feb 29 (CTK) – The Slovak general election on Saturday will shape Europe’s future in its own way, since in the second half of the year, Slovakia will take up the presidency of the EU that has been tackling several crises, the server Politico has written.

As the EU-presiding country, Slovakia will have numerous powers and it will have to play the role of a “honest broker between different member states and European institutions, which often find themselves at loggerheads,” Politico writes.

It points out the danger of an easy outbreak of another debt crisis in the euro zone and of the possibility that, depending on the outcome of the British referendum, the Slovak presidency might oversee the beginning of exit negotiations with Britain.

“The Slovak presidency promises to be much more meaningful than the usual parade of national peacock strutting, as most others are,” Politico writes.

It says the Slovak election will also determine the character of the Visegrad Four group (V4), comprising Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungary.

“A strong mandate for Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico will reinforce the current drift of Visegrad countries toward a cohesive bloc that’s toying with illiberal democracy as an alternative to the Western liberal model,” Politico writes in an allusion to the expected election victory of Fico’s Smer-Social Democrats, who form the country’s present one-colour government.

“This political trend is sharpening divisions between ‘new’ and ‘old’ Europe — most importantly on the refugee issue — and playing right into the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin who’s looking to exploit cracks in the EU,” Politico writes.

It says Fico’s Smer-Social Democrats have convincingly dominated opinion polls, but their remaining in power is not 100-percent sure.

There are certain viable alternatives to Smer-SD, such as Siet (Network), which is a new party, Most-Hid (Bridge) and the Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), it writes.

“If these parties do reasonably well, they could form a reformist, pro-Western coalition. Failing that, Smer might still have to pick one of them as a junior coalition partner instead of Fico’s natural allies, the nationalists. That would provide a much-needed counterweight to his populist instincts and affinity for the Kremlin,” Politico writes.

“The alternative — a cohesive bloc of populists and nationalists in power in Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia — bodes ill not just for Slovakia, but the future of the European project,” the server adds in conclusion.

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