Slovakia. According to
countryaah, the government continued its fight against the EU's plans for quoting asylum seekers among the member
states. Prime Minister Robert Fico warned that terrorists
would enter the EU among refugees and migrants.
The refugee issue became the main topic of the campaign
before the parliamentary elections in March, despite the
fact that Slovakia received only 330 asylum applications in
2015 and granted eight. Fico's Social Democratic Party
Smer-SD went to election under the slogan "We protect
Fico's hard line against refugees and Muslims seemed to
receive broad popular support. According to some analysts,
his rhetoric helped make xenophobia hostile, and many voters
went from Smer-SD to parties with more extreme rhetoric.
Smer-SD lost a total of 34 seats in the elections and
remained at 49. The party thus lost its majority but
remained the largest in parliament. The Liberal Party
Freedom and Solidarity nearly doubled its support for 21
seats, and Conservative Commoners increased to 19. The
Slovak Nationalist Party (SNS) returned to Parliament by 15
seats, and the right-wing extremist Our Slovakia came in
with 14 seats under the leadership of Marian Kotleba, before
this neo-Nazi with harsh rhetoric against the Roma.
Fico formed a four-party government with Smer-SD, SNS,
the Hungarian minority Most-Híd and the center-right party
Siet. Later, the Siet left the government, but the coalition
retained the majority in parliament.
In May, a customs official opened fire on a car with
migrants who did not stop at the border from Hungary. In the
car was a Syrian woman who was shot and had to be operated
on. Human Rights Watch (HRW) said it was unacceptable to
shoot at people fleeing war.
At the turn of the year, Slovakia took over as the EU
Presidency, one week after the British voted for Brexit. At
the same time, Slovakia was at odds with the majority of the
EU and had appealed to the EU court to overturn the decision
to redistribute asylum seekers.
The right-wing extremist party Our Slovakia created
during the year the Citizens' Guard which patrolled trains,
where they targeted the Roma after a Roma was accused of
robbery. In October, Parliament decided to ban similar
More than a fifth of the first-time voters had cast their
vote on Our Slovakia in the parliamentary elections, and the
Ministry of Education wanted to teach schools about the
history of right-wing extremism. Voluntary organizations
also campaigned against racism and xenophobia, which
increased against refugees, foreigners and Roma, and in turn
led to physical attacks.
Parliament voted in November for a change in the law,
which in practice makes it impossible to register Islam as a
religion in Slovakia at present. To be accepted as a
religion with the right to state grants and own schools, at
least 50,000 members are now required, but there are only a
few thousand Muslims in the country.
Prime Minister Fico visited Moscow during the year, and
after his meeting with President Putin, Fico said that the
EU should lift the sanctions against the Russian Federation.