Slovakia. During the year, Slovakia became an example of how a single coalition party in a member state can stop a major EU process – temporarily. The Liberal Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) said no when the government would decide in the autumn to strengthen the eurozone crisis fund EFSF for assistance to the crisis-hit Greece. SaS leader Richard Sulík explained that it was better to let Greece go bankrupt than that Slovak taxpayers would cover the debts of wealthier countries. Many voters supported Sulík’s line and felt that little Slovakia, the second poorest in the euro zone, had no obligation to sacrifice for Greece’s mismanaged economy. Slovakia had gone through a hard time of material sacrifice before reaching the EU and the euro.
According to Countryaah official site, Prime Minister Iveta Radičová did not want Slovakia to dump the big European project with the crisis fund, and she made the vote in Parliament a vote of confidence for the government. Radičová lost, and the government resigned, but the Social Democratic opposition promised to support the Prime Minister’s European policy against the demand that she vote in parliamentary elections. In a second parliamentary vote, Slovakia, as the last euro area member, was thus able to approve a strengthening of the crisis fund, while Radičová announced new elections until March 2012.
Opinion polls showed that most voters were opposed to Slovakia contributing to the Eurozone crisis fund at all. The average pension in Slovakia is less than a third of the average Greek pension, and SaS leader Richard Sulík said it was difficult to explain why Slovak pensioners would take austerity to help Greek pensioners or Italian MPs, who have the highest salaries among European Parliamentarians.
Slovakia has also undergone austerity with lower public wages and increased taxes, and in April the country had the third highest unemployment rate in the euro zone, about 14%, after Spain and Ireland.
At the end of the year, more than 1,000 doctors resigned in protest of low wages. In December, however, the doctors agreed with the state employer on salary increases and they returned to work.