Slovak PM under pressure in coalition dispute17/08/17Education
Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico has said that he wants to replace Education Minister Peter Plavčan over alleged mismanagement of EU subsidies in his department.
The call came a day after three party leaders had taken a step towards ending a political crisis following an announcement from the Slovak National Party (SNS) last week that it was quitting the coalition, demanding a new deal that would give it more influence.
Fico said: “I have to ask the SNS chairman to submit a proposal to replace the education minister as soon as possible.
“None of the coalition parties can afford to gamble with public trust. [Events] at the education ministry cast doubts on the government’s fight against corruption.”
Slovak media have reported that the ministry chose several companies with no history in research or innovation as recipients of EU subsidies aimed at supporting science.
SNS leader Andrej Danko reiterated yesterday (16 August) that allegations of the misappropriation of funds were unfounded.
Danko said: “The education minister will resign tomorrow, but I deny any corruption linked to SNS.”
Opposition lawmakers have alleged the SNS withdrew from the coalition last week to divert attention from a dispute over the distribution of €300m in EU subsidies by the education department headed by Plavčan.
The European Commission has sent a warning letter to the Slovak government and temporarily prohibited Slovakia from drawing money from the programme.