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Slovakia

Yearbook 2016

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.

2016 Slovakia

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 Slovakia".

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 patrols.

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.

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