15 May, 2024

PRESS RELEASE - Renew Europe Now Statement on the shooting of Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico

Renew Europe Now condemns in the strongest possible terms the shooting of Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico on 15 May, and all acts of violence against politicians and members of society. 

This despicable attack is an ideological assault on the right to free and safe political expression. Violence has no place in our political discourse or society; such actions undermine the safety and well-being of our democracy and our people. 

Liberals, centrists and democrats are staunch promoters of peace and respect in all forms of life and political expression. In politics there will be many times when we disagree, but dialogue and debate, not intimidation or violence, are the pillars of a healthy and well-functioning democratic society that we must protect. 

We call on Slovak authorities to bring those responsible to justice, and on all political forces to unite in solidarity against any form of violence and intimidation. Protecting the integrity of our political environment is essential to ensure that the upcoming European elections are free, fair, and respect the rights of all involved. 

“I am shocked and appalled by the shooting of Prime Minister Robert Fico in Handlová. We unequivocally and strongly condemn all violence. We hope that Prime Minister Fico will be all right and that this terrible act will be clarified as soon as possible,” said Michal Šimečka, leader of Slovakia’s main opposition party Progresívne Slovensko

We strongly condemn the use of violence in political debate: physical violence, as in the case of today's attack on the Slovak Prime Minister, or verbal violence, as in the recent election campaign in that country. The increasing polarisation of politics has, unfortunately, among its many harmful consequences.” - Sandro Gozi

"I was shocked to learn of the attack that has just wounded Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico. I condemn in the most explicit and unequivocal terms the use of violence against any political leader. Nothing in a democracy can be resolved by such acts." - Valérie Hayer.

The attack on Prime Minister Fico is only the latest in a spate of high-profile incidents of physical violence on politicians. Earlier in May, Franziska Giffey and Matthias Ecke, two members of the German Socialist Party (SPD), were physically attacked in two separate incidents in Germany. 

“I wish my colleague Matthias Ecke a speedy recovery from the bottom of my heart. It shocks me that people who are committed to our democracy are increasingly being attacked and put at risk. We have a responsibility as a society to take action against this,” - Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann

We are increasingly alarmed by the rising polarisation within our political sphere fuelled by extremist ideologies, both left and right-wing. This climate of heightened division is laying the groundwork for an environment where acts of violence are more likely to occur, and also wrongly justified by those who seek to disrupt and dominate rather than engage and debate.  

It is crucial that all political leaders and communities work together to counteract this polarisation and promote a more inclusive and understanding political dialogue, where we can work together to build a more united, safe, and free Europe for everyone. 

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