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Slovakia’s Fico Vows No Compromise on Brexit

Visegrad Four countries continue to demand full rights for their citizens in Britain, EU or no EU.

19 September 2016

The mood among European Union leaders was generally calm after their summit on Friday, the first since the United Kingdom voted to leave the union.

 

But the host, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico (Pictured), afterward made plain that Britain would not be allowed an easy divorce, if the Visegrad group of countries (V4) had any say in the matter.

 

“V4 countries will be uncompromising,” he told Reuters in quotes carried by the Independent.

 

“Unless we feel a guarantee that [V4 citizens in Britain] are equal, we will veto any agreement between the EU and Britain. … I think Britain knows this is an issue for us where there's no room for compromise.”

 

The Visegrad group also includes the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland, and together and separately they have proved major irritants to EU bureaucracy, especially on the issue of migration into and within the bloc.

 

They want to drastically cut the numbers of especially Muslim migrants and refugees while protecting the rights of their citizens living and working in the UK.

 

He was even more forthright in an interview with the Financial Times, saying Europe will make Brexit “very painful” and, “It will be very difficult for the UK, very difficult.” 

 

Fico “gave voice to the truculent mood in eastern Europe over Britain’s post-Brexit privileges, saying Britain would not be allowed to make EU workers ‘second class citizens’ while continuing to enjoy the benefits of Europe’s single market,” the FT writes.

 

  • The Visegrad Four reluctantly agreed to some proposals on cutting welfare benefits for EU nationals then-British premier David Cameron made ahead of the Brexit referendum in June, bne Intellinews writes. But this failed to persuade enough British to vote in favor of staying in the union.

 

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May has yet to guarantee the status of EU nationals once the country leaves the union, but “insisted she wants them to stay after Brexit – if the rights of Britons overseas are respected,” the Independent says.

 

  • Fico repeated his earlier calls for sanctions on Russia to be lifted, as they damaged the EU and went against Slovak economic interests. Hungary’s Viktor Orban and Czech President Milos Zeman have similar views, CTK reports.

Compiled by Ky Krauthamer

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