CAN YOU SUM UP FOR BRITISH READERS WHY YOU AND YOUR PARLIAMENTARY COLLEAGUES VOTED TO REJECT THE BAILOUT MOTION?
Many reasons – the moral hazard, the fallacy of trying to solve indebtedness with more debt which will only prolong the agony, the principle that poorer people in responsible countries must not pay for the irresponsibility of politicians in richer countries. This money would not go to people, but to the shareholders of the French and German banks – these profited heavily over decades from high-interest risky loans guaranteed by governments.
IS THERE ANY EVIDENCE OF WHAT THE SLOVAKIAN VOTERS THINK ABOUT THE ISSUE?
Over 50 per cent did not want Slovakia to participate in the bailout.
THE EU IS FAMOUS FOR MAKING PEOPLE VOTE AGAIN IF THEY COME OUT WITH THE “WRONG” ANSWER. A SECOND VOTE ON THE ISSUE HAS NOW PASSED – HOW DO YOU FEEL?
It is unfortunate that the European machinery makes those who vote no repeat voting until the vote changes to yes. We are displeased with yesterday’s vote, but it was clear to us from the beginning that the socialists in opposition would contribute votes for a heavy political concession – fall of the government and snap elections.
HAVE YOU OR YOUR COLLEAGUES BEEN PRESSURED FROM OUTSIDE SLOVAKIA TO CHANGE YOUR POSITION AND VOTE FOR THE BAILOUT – EITHER FROM EU INSTITUTIONS, BUSINESSES OR FOREIGN POLITICIANS?
All of these combined. SaS leader Richard Sulik had a private meeting with Guido Westerwelle [German Minister for Foreign Affairs], the Prime Minister was harshly pushed by Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy, we as Liberals received a decent and polite letter from our partners from the ELDR [the European Liberal Democrats, who both the SaS and the UK Lib Dems belong to], foreign diplomats mentioned the issue at every possible meeting occasion with any of us, and so on. The pressure even increased after this week’s No vote.
WHY DID YOUR PARTY SAY NO WHEN ALL OTHER EUROZONE COUNTRIES BACKED THE BAILOUT?
We are a new party, composed of people who were previously successful in the commercial sphere. Our bottoms are not glued to the political chairs, we are ready to leave anytime and even sacrifice our mere political existence for a principle as noble as pointing out the main troubles with EFSF and ESM.
IF THE EUROZONE CONTINUES WITH BAILOUTS AND FURTHER FISCAL INTEGRATION, CAN YOU FORESEE A DAY WHEN SLOVAKIA WOULD WANT TO LEAVE THE EU TO GO ITS OWN WAY?
No. Slovaks as a people are rather euro-optimistic, as evidenced in polls. We still believe that the euro is a good project. We are not against the common currency, we are against irresponsibility of governments and constant breaking of the basic rules.
Mark Wallace blogs at CrashBangWallace.com