"Until Robert Fico shows he is a progressive, he does not deserve a place in the Party of European Socialists" say S&D MEPs

Two leading Socialist & Democrat MEPs have today reiterated S&D Group President Gianni Pittella's call for Robert Fico's SMER party to be suspended from the Party of European Socialists (PES). S&D Vice-President Tanya Fajon and Birgit Sippel, S&D spokesperson for Civil Liberties, have said his anti-immigrant rhetoric and opposition to plans to tackle the refugee crisis are not compatible with the values of the party.

S&D Vice-President Tanja Fajon said:

"Our Group stands for a European Union based on principles of freedom, equality, solidarity, diversity and fairness. Robert Fico's recent comments show he not only does not support these principles, he actively opposes them. We understand that there are fears across Europe about the refugee crisis. However, the answer is not to pander to these with divisive rhetoric but instead to show that we have the capacity to tackle the crisis in a coordinated way. The Commission has put forward a plan that will allow us to do this, we urge Robert Fico to reconsider his position and help show that the EU can act together in times of need."

S&D Spokesperson for Civil Liberties, Birgit Sippel added:

"Mr Fico has said he believes his views have been misrepresented, if that is the case then he must come and explain his views both to the PES and to the European Parliament. What he cannot claim have been misrepresented are his actions. He has constantly blocked any attempt to find a common solution to the refugee crisis. We have seen the largest influx of refugees in Europe since the Second World War - no individual country can tackle this alone. As socialists, solidarity is the cornerstone of everything we do and Robert Fico has refused to show this at any stage. We need this now more than ever, both between Member States and with those in need of our protection. Unless the Slovak government changes its rhetoric and actions then they have no place in PES and no place calling themselves progressives."