The European Commission (EC) sent Slovakia two letters warning that the country may lose money from the European Union (EU). The approval of the amendment to the Criminal Code was supposed to be in conflict with European law. In the National Council (NR) of the Slovak Republic, representatives of the opposition movement Progressive Slovakia (PS) informed about this at a press conference.
According to MEP Martin Hojsík (PS), European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders should have sent the letter on the day of approval of the amendment to the Criminal Code. In it, he was supposed to request the suspension of the approval of the amendment in abbreviated legislative proceedings. Hojsík also drew attention to the fact that the EC did not identify a similarity with the law in Austria or the Czech Republic, to which the government of Prime Minister Robert Fico (Smer-SD) refers.
“The EC has repeatedly tried to dialogue. In a letter dated January 24, Slovakia even pointed out that it had analyzed the legal systems of neighboring member states and found no similar penalty rates anywhere. This is because the government coalition tried to shamefully apologize even to the Commission,” said Hojsík.
According to Hojsík, the amendments proposed by deputy Tibor Gašpar (Smer-SD) only partially responded to the EC’s reservations. PS Chairman Michal Šimečka called on the Minister of Justice Boris Susko (Smer-SD) to publish the communication between Slovakia and the EC and to take political responsibility for ignoring the Commission’s reservations.
“We are asking for the publication of the EC’s reservations, which it sent to the government in the letters of January 24 and February 8. Show the Slovak public how the Commission has repeatedly warned us that this amendment is not in accordance with European law and how by adopting it you will de facto initiate proceedings against Slovakia,” Šimečka said, adding that European funds are at risk.
According to Šimeček, the European Commission clearly states that Slovakia may find itself in a situation where it will not be able to protect European billions. “It’s scary how the Fico government doesn’t care about the citizens. He is able to sacrifice everything, including money from European sources,” declared Šimečka.
Last week, the PS informed that the EC was suspending the assessment of the fourth payment from the recovery plan for Slovakia. This is more than 900 million euros, which the country can lose.