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European Debt Crisis

Will Slovakia pose another threat to the EU?

Steve Chiotakis Dec 7, 2011

Steve Chiotakis: Just ahead of a big European Union summit Friday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner says he feels good about progress being made to tackle the huge debt crisis there and to save the euro currency. The central part of the plan so far would change European Union treaties, and any one of EU member countries could derail that plan. Enter Slovakia — which almost thwarted the latest Greek bailout.

Vladimir Bilcik is with the Slovak Foreign Policy Association, and he’s with us from Bratislava. Mr. Bilcik, hello.

Vladimir Bilcik: Hello.

Chiotakis: I know the last time Slovakia had the vote over whether to expand Greece’s bailout package, that was a contentious vote. And now we’re talking about changing treaties and ammending them — how would that play out in Slovakia, do you think?

Bilcik: I think it actually is likely to play out a lot smoother than in the case of our vote on the extension of the bailout fund. Slovakia is understanding we are dealing with existential questions here now, and politicians have been saying today and yesterday that most of them — with the exception of two political parties in parliament — are willing to pass some major changes to the treaties because they understand this is really about not just the future of Slovakia, but the future of the eurozone and the EU itself.

Chiotakis: I know Slovakia’s just one country though. I mean, any one country in the EU could derail this. Do you think that if something like that happens, that’s it for the eurozone?

Bilcik: Ideally, it would be great if all 27 countries at the upcoming summit agreed that we would extend the treaties and go down further to fiscal integration. We need a quick solution. The EU has been extremely sluggish at coming up with a solution and I’m afraid we are facing a real split within the EU, and the deeper integration will apply only to a group of countries.

Chiotakis: Vladimir Bilcik from the Slovak Foreign Policy Association. Mr. Bilcik, thank you.

Bilcik: You’re very welcome.

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