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article imagePM calls Slovakia 'pro-European island' after Czech result

By AFP     Oct 24, 2017 in World

Slovakia remains "a pro-European island", said leftist Prime Minister Robert Fico following the election victory of a eurosceptic billionaire in neighbouring Czech Republic at the weekend.

The populist ANO movement led by Andrej Babis, known as the Czech Trump, cruised to victory on an anti-euro and anti-migrant ticket.

"We remain a kind of pro-European island in the centre of Europe," Fico told reporters on Monday, while explaining he was making an "exception" to his rule of not commenting on election results abroad.

He spoke after releasing an unprecedented joint statement with President Andrej Kiska and parliamentary speaker Andrej Danko that said they will promote "clear and responsible communication of the pro-European and pro-Atlantic orientation of the Slovak Republic."

They will also support "Slovakia's future in the core of the European Union and the continual deepening of the Eurozone", as well as a "strong and wise EU budget".

Slovakia and the Czech Republic, which until 1993 formed the single state of Czechoslovakia, belong to Central Europe's so-called Visegrad Four group, whose other members, Hungary and Poland, have both defied Brussels in a series of disputes.

Slovak political analyst Grigorij Meseznikov told AFP on Tuesday that Fico "has lost a partner in the region" after the defeat of the Social Democrats in the Czech Republic.

"The fact that the ruling coalition in Slovakia is relatively stable, gives Fico a chance to promote himself," said Meseznikov, who is an analyst at the Institute for Public Affairs in Bratislava.

"He has basically claimed that 'it is thanks to my government that Slovakia is the island of stability' in the region."

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