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    Slovakia's Prime minister Robert Fico arrives for an emergency Eurogroup finance ministers' meeting on Greece at the European Council in Brussels, on June 22, 2015

    Slovakian PM Warns Referendum 'Adventures' Are 'Threat' to EU

    © AFP 2019 / THIERRY CHARLIER
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    Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico has warned that calls for more referendums in Europe - on the back of the UK referendum on EU membership which resulted in the shock decision for Britain to leave the EU - pose a "threat" to the existence of the EU and the Eurozone single currency area.

    "I am asking EU leaders to stop with adventures like the British and Italian referendums (…) on domestic issues which pose a threat to the EU. What will we do if… there is a referendum in Italy on the euro and Italian citizens decide they don't want the euro," Fico told reporters.

    His comments come amid growing calls in France, the Netherlands and Italy for referendums on EU membership, driven by the rise in popularity of right-wing nationalist parties capitalizing on terrorism and immigration to call for more powers to be handed back to member states.

    Fico's remarks come as the latest EU poll shows that Europeans continue to see immigration and terrorism as the major challenges facing the EU. According to the Autumn 2016 Standard Eurobarometer poll, immigration remains on top of the issues facing the EU most frequently cited by citizens (45 percent) with terrorism (32 percent) cited as the second.

    ​Elections are being held, March 2017, in the Netherlands, where the right-wing, anti-EU Party for Freedom (PVV), led by Geert Wilders, has seen its popularity rise, with pollster Ipsos giving it a one-point lead, December 22, over Prime Minister Mark Rutte's People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD).

    Italians voted against major reforms to its own constitution, December2016, in a move seen by many analysts as a victory for the Eurosceptic Five Star Movement, which will press for a general election, which it will fight promising to hold a referendum on Italy leaving the Eurozone.

    A volunteer counts ballots for a referendum on constitutional reform at a polling station in Rome, Italy, December 4, 2016.
    © REUTERS / Tony Gentile
    A volunteer counts ballots for a referendum on constitutional reform at a polling station in Rome, Italy, December 4, 2016.

    Following the Brexit referendum, there were calls for similar votes across Europe. France's right-wing party Front National leader, Marine le Pen has promised a "Frexit" vote if she wins the 2017 presidency.

    ​(Twitter: "My objective is to create a presidential majority with all those who want France to be independent!")

    "This referendum on France belonging to the European Union, I will do it. Yes, it is possible to change things. Look at the Brits, they chose their destiny, they chose independence. We can again be a free, proud and independent people," Le Pen told a rally, September 2016.

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    EU citizens, EU divisions, EU membership, referendum, Robert Fico, Marine Le Pen, Italy, Germany, Europe, Slovakia, Netherlands, France
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