Slovakia Refuses to Help Bail Out Greece

The country points out that Greece is richer than itself.

Slovakia’s new ruling coalition refuses to participate in the European rescue effort of ailing Greece. Prime Minister Iveta Radičová’s government complains that with Greece being much wealthier than Slovakia, it shouldn’t be held accountable for that country’s fiscal woes.

After the meltdown in Greece last April, European leaders agreed to an unprecedented bailout effort to save both Greece from bankruptcy and the euro from decline. Together with the International Monetary Fund, the European Union pledged €110 billion, or $143 billion, to Greece’s aid.

A month later, Europe scrambled together another €750 billion, or nearly $1 trillion, in stabilization funds, in an effort to ensure investors that the common market and currency were safe.

Slovakia, which joined the EU in 2004 and adopted the euro last year, is expected to contribute some €816 million to the Greek bailout.

The last government, composed of a broad coalition of Social Democrats, nationalists and conservatives, led by Prime Minister Roberto Fico, agreed to participate in the bailout. But Radičová, whose Christian Democrats won the election in June, won’t take responsibility for Greece’s inability to balance its books.

“I do not consider it solidarity if it is solidarity between the poor and the rich, of the responsible with the irresponsible, or of tax payers with bank owners and managers,” said Ivan Mikloš, the new finance minister.

During a vote in parliament, the socialist opposition largely abstained from voting on the bailout.

The Slovakian parliament’s decision won’t imperil future disbursements of the rescue package to Greece. “There will be no impact on the financial assistance to Greece,” said a European Commission spokesman. “It’s now to the euro area member states to decide how to proceed on practical terms.”

Economic Affairs commissioner Olli Rehn of Finland announced in a statement released on Wednesday that he expects Slovakia’s “breach of solidarity,” as he put it, to be discussed in the next council of European finance ministers.

Slovakia did reiterate its participation in the larger, €750 billion European Financial Stability Facility to which it contributes some €4.4 billion.