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Fico confirms Slovakia not in opposition to Ukraine's EU accession talks

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk December 13, 2023 2:27 PM 2 min read
Slovakia's new Prime Minister, Robert Fico, in Prague on Nov. 24, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
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Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico confirmed his foreign minister's statement that Bratislava would not oppose the launch of Ukraine's accession talks during the upcoming EU summit, the Slovak news outlet Pravda reported on Dec. 13.

The statement comes shortly before European Council talks on Dec. 14-15, where Hungary is expected to try to block the launch of Ukraine's EU membership negotiations. Fico's positions on Ukraine often align with those of his Hungarian counterpart, Viktor Orban.

While open to the start of the negotiations, Fico added that Ukraine is not prepared for the process.

"We will not oppose the European Union's decision to start negotiations with Ukraine. It is a political decision that has nothing to do with reality," Fico told members of the Slovak parliament's European affairs committee.

"Ukraine is absolutely unprepared to open the negotiations," he added.

Slovak Foreign Minister Juraj Blanar earlier said on Dec. 12 that Slovakia is "ready to support the opening of accession negotiations," adding that Ukraine still has a "long and thorny road ahead."

Fico won the country's September elections running on a Ukraine-skeptic platform. The prime minister halted military aid to Kyiv from the Slovak military stocks, although he made no objections to arms deals on a commercial basis.

Slovakia's head of government previously said that he opposes Kyiv's membership in NATO and repeatedly labeled Ukraine as one of the most corrupt countries in the world.

He also boasts close ties with Orban, who is broadly seen as the most Kremlin-friendly leader within the EU.

At home, Fico faces criticism in connection to corruption himself.

Slovak political opposition launched protests in several Slovak cities on Dec. 12 over the government's decision to abolish a specialized prosecutor's office, primarily investigating corruption cases.

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