Europe awaits Slovakia’s decision on bailout fund
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Steve Chiotakis: There’s an important vote today in Slovakia on the size of the euro currency fund, which would help bailout neighboring European countries. Now there’s no guarantee Slovakia will vote in favor of expanding the fund because of infighting between parties in the Slovakian parliament.
The BBC’s Bethany Bell is in the capital Bratislava, she’s with us now. Hi Bethany.
Bethany Bell: Hi.
Chiotakis: We’ve just heard that the junior partner in Slovakia’s coalition government has said it will abstain from the vote today. What does that mean?
Bell: Well, it means that the outcome of the bailout fund is in doubt at the moment. For the Slovakian leader, it means it could spell the end of her governing coalition because she will not get enough votes to get this key vote through on the bailout fund.
Chiotakis: How crucial, Bethany, is this vote in Slovakia to the eurozone bailout plan?
Bell: Well, all of the eurozone members have to vote in favor of this bailout plan. Now, the only country that has not done it is Slovakia, it’s the last one. And it’s crucial that it does it if the bailout fund is to go ahead.
Chiotakis: How popular is the idea of the eurozone bailout in Slovakia?
Bell: Well, a lot of Slovaks say, “we are the second poorest country in the euro zone, we saved and scrimped for years and years to try and be a member of the euro. And now we’re being expected to bail out countries which are richer than we are — it’s not fair.” Other people are saying Slovakia benefited a great deal from the E.U. and if the European economy starts to go downhill, it will take Slovakia with it.
Chiotakis: The BBC’s Bethany Bell in Bratislava. Bethany, thank you.
Bell: Thank you.
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