Slovak PM defends 'no' to Greek bailout, wants EU apology
Slovakia's prime minister Wednesday launched a vigorous defence of her country's refusal to help pay for a joint EU-IMF bailout for Greece and demanded an apology from Brussels for criticising the decision.
Speaking in an interview with German daily Die Welt ahead of a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel, Iveta Radicova said she would call for an "official apology" from the EU for slamming the Slovak parliament's decision.
"The way in which (EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner) Olli Rehn, a non-elected official from Brussels, spoke about the freely elected members of the Slovakian parliament was insulting," she said.
Earlier this month, Radicova's centre-right coalition won a majority in parliament to overturn a decision by the previous administration to contribute 800 million euros (1.0 billion dollars) to the 110-billion-euro fund.
The decision prompted fury in Brussels, with Rehn describing it as a "breach of solidarity."
Merkel, who came under fire for her perceived dithering over whether to stump up the lion's share of the cash for the bailout, has also criticised Slovakia's decision.
"Everyone needs to know that he may one day be dependent on the solidarity of the others," her spokesman Steffen Seibert told the Financial Times Deutschland last week.
Despite refusing to contribute to the Greek bailout, Bratislava has approved a larger framework agreement on a 440-billion-euro package designed to shore up other EU member states that may need help.
And Slovak reticence will not in practice prevent Greece from drawing down the loan since it has already been put in place alongside stiff austerity measures.
© 2010 AFP