May 23. 2024. 9:04

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Europe shocked by assassination attempt against Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico

Just one month before the European elections, the assassination attempt on Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico ignited a wave of condemnation against the shooting and sympathy across European capitals, for a political partner with whom they have not always seen eye to eye.

Since September 2023, Fico has held the office of the Slovak Prime Minister for a fourth term. He has become a controversial figure for his pro-Russian stance, attacks on the media and NGOs, and laws that his government is trying to pass, despite heavy criticism from the EU Commission.

EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen was among the first to have expressed outrage, European Council President Charles Michel followed up on X saying he was “shocked at the news”. “Nothing can ever justify violence or such attacks. My thoughts are with the Prime Minister and his family,” he wrote on X.

I strongly condemn the vile attack on Prime Minister Robert Fico.

Such acts of violence have no place in our society and undermine democracy, our most precious common good.

My thoughts are with PM Fico and his family.

— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) May 15, 2024

In neighbouring Czechia, Prime Minister Petr Fiala posted a statement on website X shortly after the incident.

“The news of the shooting of Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico is shocking. I wish the Prime Minister well as soon as possible. Violence must not be tolerated and must have no place in society,” he wrote on X.

Other European leaders expressed their shock at the shooting and denounced political violence, including Fico’s Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban, who wished him a quick recovery while Romanian president Klaus Iohannis condemned an “extremist act” that “threatens our core EU values.”

I was deeply shocked by the heinous attack against my friend, Prime Minister Robert Fico. We pray for his health and quick recovery! God bless him and his country!

— Orbán Viktor (@PM_ViktorOrban) May 15, 2024

In Germany, Chancellor Olaf Scholz denounced a “cowardly” assassination attempt and stressed that violence must have no place in European politics.

Die Nachricht vom feigen Attentat auf den slowakischen Ministerpräsidenten Fico erschüttert mich sehr. Gewalt darf keinen Platz haben in der europäischen Politik. In diesen Stunden sind meine Gedanken bei Robert Fico, den Angehörigen und den Bürgerinnen und Bürgern der Slowakei.

— Bundeskanzler Olaf Scholz (@Bundeskanzler) May 15, 2024

Meanwhile, in Southern Europe, far-right Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni declared being “shocked” to learn the news of the attack, which she too called “cowardly” and condemned all forms of violence as attacks on the cardinal principles of democracy and freedom.

Spain’s Prime Minister and fellow Social Democrat Pedro Sánchez also expressed his outrage, adding that nothing can justify violence.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy condemned the attack, calling for efforts to be made to “ensure that violence does not become the norm in any country, form, or sphere.”

The attack on Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico is appalling.

We strongly condemn this act of violence against our neighboring partner state’s head of government. Every effort should be made to ensure that violence does not become the norm in any country, form, or sphere.…

— Volodymyr Zelenskyy / Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) May 15, 2024

To read more on the Fico assassination attempt see our below coverage

Read more with Euractiv

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