Ludovit Goga is a Slovakian MP representing the Sme Rodina (‘We are family’) party. After spending 25 years in business, he entered politics in 2016 and currently sits on the party board, responsible for foreign policy and bilateral relations. He represents Sme Rodina in the National Council of the Slovak Republic in the European Affairs Committee, and is the head of the Slovak delegation in the Europol Control Group. He is also head of the Slovak delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. Sme Rodina belongs to the European group, Identity and Democracy.
Since the 2020 election, Slovakia has had a coalition government composed of four parties: the conservative OlaNO (‘Ordinary People and Independent Personalities’); the right-wing Sme Rodina; the liberal SaS (‘Freedom and Solidarity’); and the centrist Za Ludi (‘For the People’). However, in September 2022 the liberals left the coalition and, in December, the government lost a no-confidence motion by three votes, leaving the country in an unstable political situation.
December’s no-confidence motion has left the Slovak government in a minority and early elections are set for 30 September. What will happen before then? What role will Sme Rodina play?
Basically, the government has now resigned, so both opposition and coalition proposals can be passed as the number of MPs is relatively equal. Each passed proposal must also be covered in the state budget. Sme rodina will continue to stick to its election plan, in which the main idea was to help people. We are a party which always delivers what it promises.
Your party is rising in the polls.
Our party has approximately 7-8% of the stable electorate, a figure which could rise to 15-20% in the next election. This is because we stand firm and, above all, are not concerned with political candidacies. We are a party which looks for solutions. We managed to impose subsidies and free lunches for children; we launched the law on rental housing; we renewed the 46-year-old building law. In other words, we helped the Slovaks.
Slovakia belongs to the Visegrad group, which has maintained a policy against the open borders proposed by Brussels. Has this been implemented in Slovakia? Has there been an effective policy addressing the problem of illegal immigration?
The migration policy in Slovakia is not effective, because we detain migrants, but we cannot send them back to the country they come from. Usually we are not their final destination; they go to Austria, Germany, or Scandinavia. So you could say the migration problem is not solved. We claim that there is a need for effective control at the borders of the Schengen area. If this doesn’t work, it will be necessary to introduce measures for controlling the borders of individual EU states.
Sme Rodina defends the family and is against gender ideology. Is the situation in Slovakia comparable to that of Hungary or Poland?
On these topics, we are closer to Poland than Hungary. The Hungarian government is taking stronger measures against gender ideology, and in support of the family. In Slovakia, we have opposed the same-sex registered-partnership law. We are not against people of the same sex living together, inheriting from each other, or accessing health services; but we are against them adopting children.
Regarding gender ideology, its real goal is not to support LGBT people or encourage equality but to bring chaos. We have seen it in the US, for example, with all the ‘me too’ propaganda, or the racism of the Black Lives Matter movement.
According to opinion polls, the Slovak population is very divided over the war in Ukraine. What is the Slovak position, and is the memory of the Soviet occupation still as strong in Slovakia as it is in the Czech Republic?
The Czech Republic was affected not only by the current Russian invasion of Ukraine, but also by the 20 years in which the former Eastern Bloc countries were occupied by the Soviet Union. In Slovakia, society is divided into a pro-Russian faction and a Euro-Atlantic faction, but we have to find a pragmatic solution here, because people are suffering and dying. The right thing to do would be to end the war at the negotiation table, and direct the reconstruction of Ukraine. Personally, I believe that Ukraine should remain a militarily-neutral country, whether or not it becomes an economical partner in the European Union. It is important to stick to treaties and international agreements. For example, the Minsk agreement stated that Ukraine would be a neutral country. I don’t think this should be undermined.
What is your opinion of the election of General Petr Pavel as President of the Czech Republic?
The Czechs had to choose between a Slovak-born Czech politician and businessman, who served as the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic from 2017 to 2021, and a Czech former army general; so the choice went to the general. I don’t know him personally, so I can’t assess how he will act, but it will probably become clearer during the first months of his mandate.
At the end of January you took part in the Chega National Convention, in Lisbon. How important are such meetings for your party?
Meetings between patriots are very important, not only for support and to exchange experiences, but also to present our political and personal beliefs, and act as a united community.