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Fico defiant as European Socialists & Democrats moot expulsion of Slovakian affiliate for stance on Ukraine

SLOVAKIA’S likely next prime minister Robert Fico is on a collision course with EU social democrats who have attacked his Smer party as pro-Russian.

Stefan Loefven, president of the Socialists & Democrats group in the European parliament, warned during Slovakia’s election campaign that Smer (an acronym for Direction – Slovak Social Democracy) might need to be expelled from the group because it called for an end to arming Ukraine.

“The Socialists & Democrats support Ukraine and we expect our member parties to,” Mr Loefven said — adding on Tuesday that action to expel Smer could be expected if it enacted in government the policies it championed in the campaign.

But Mr Fico said today he expected “congratulations, not threats” for coming first in the vote and added: “If our exclusion from the international party is to be a price for pursuing a genuine left-wing agenda in Slovakia and voicing sovereign opinions, we are prepared to pay such a price.”

Mr Loefven’s attacks were “undemocratic and authoritarian,” he added, saying Smer condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but would continue to push for a diplomatic resolution. If he forms a government, it would continue to send humanitarian aid to Ukraine but “not another bullet,” Mr Fico stressed.

Europe’s Greens piled in, with their parliamentary group’s co-presidents Terry Reintke and Philippe Lamberts saying the socialist bloc should “decide if they really want to continue sitting with a party that is spreading Kremlin disinformation.”

Mr Fico is currently seeking coalition partners to form a government, with Smer holding 42 of the 150 parliamentary seats.

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