Slovakian government politicians Thursday defended the parliamentary decision not to have Slovakia participate in the European Union rescue effort for Greece, dpa reported
Finance Minister Ivan Miklos in comments to Slovakian media rejected criticism by EU economic affairs commissioner Olli Rehn charging Bratislava with committing a "breach" in eurozone solidarity.
"If this is about solidarity of the poor with the wealthy, of the responsible with the irresponsible or of taxpayers with bank owners and bank managers, then I don't regard this as being the right kind of solidarity," Miklos said.
The remark was in line with that of other politicians opposed to helping Greece on grounds that Athens was responsible for causing its own problems.
After the parliamentary rejection Wednesday evening of Slovak participation in the EU aid effort for Greece, speaker of parliament Richard Sulik hailed the decision.
"I am proud that we have shown that things can be done differently," he said.
Sulik said that if money is collected to pay the debts of those who had created their own problems, then it would send the "wrong signal" to financial markets because it would show that the eurozone countries were not taking their own financial stability criteria seriously.
Previously, the new Christian-Liberal premier, Iveta Radicova, had opposed helping Greece, arguing that it was richer than Slovakia and that Bratislava should not have to help foot the bill for Athens' "undisciplined budget policy."
The decision effectively means that only Slovakia, among the 16 current eurozone members, will not be part of the EU emergency aid effort for fellow-eurozone member Greece.
Rehn, in his initial reaction to the parliamentary vote, said it was "a breach of the commitment undertaken by Slovakia in the eurogroup to provide temporary and conditional financial assistance to Greece."
In a statement, Rehn said that he "regrets" the decision and expects eurozone and EU finance ministers to discuss it at their next meeting, which is scheduled for September 7 in Brussels.
Nonetheless, Bratislava's move will not prevent other countries from bailing out Greece, Rehn said.