Rule of Law in Slovakia threatened by new draft law

Author: Caroline Rhawi



Rule of Law in Slovakia landscape

The Renew Europe group is deeply concerned about the threat to the Rule of Law in Slovakia following the announcement of a new draft law intended to overhaul the country's penal code, which would dismantle the Special Prosecutor's Office that deals with the most sensitive corruption cases, and soften penalties for corruption. Ahead of a plenary debate in the European Parliament today, MEPs are urging the European Commission to closely assess the law and quickly act.

Slovak MEP Martin Hojsík from Progresívne Slovensko, said:

"Prime Minister Robert Fico's shameful and unprecedented attack on the rule of law in Slovakia needs counteraction from the EU institutions. Rushing modifications of this magnitude to the country's legal system through parliament, without a thorough debate or time to assess the consequences, is dangerous. The fact that this reform comes now, at a time when trials and investigations led by the Special Prosecutor's Office linked to the Fico's own party Smer are taking place, speaks very loud. But this is more than just a matter for Slovak citizens: it concerns all Europeans, as the Office also deals with corruption cases related to the misuse of EU funds. We must stop this before it is too late”

The Slovakian government approved using a fast-track legislative procedure to amend the criminal code, meaning that it will be up for vote in the Slovak parliament within a few weeks and that the prosecutor's Office could close already by mid-January.

Sophie in 't Veld (Netherlands), the Renew Europe group's coordinator in the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, added:

"The first measures of the new Slovak government are very alarming. For example the weakening the fight against high level corruption and attacks on journalists and media pluralism. There cannot be impunity for those involved in crime and corruption, this is an affront to Jan Kuciak’s family and legacy. Six years ago the people of Slovakia took to the streets and demanded an end to corruption. The 2023 election results are anything other than a blank cheque for the reintroduction of the old corrupted regime. Meanwhile the EU has also developed new tools to respond to breaches of the rule of law, and they will be applied. Parliament will closely monitor the developments in Slovakia."

Next step:
A resolution will be put to a vote at the plenary of the European Parliament in the 15-18 January session.


Stay up to date

Sign up to receive newsletters and communications from Renew Europe

I am a journalist
Subscription categories
* Please note that EN is the main communication language