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.

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.”

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

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.”

This story is being updated

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