Slovakia's President Zuzana Caputova attends a joint news conference with her Czech and Ukrainian counterparts (not pictured) following their meeting at the Mariinskiy Palace in Kyiv, Ukraine, 28 April 2023. EPA-EFE/SERGEY DOLZHENKO


Slovakian President decries nomination of ‘climate-change sceptic’ as environment minister


Slovakian President Zuzana Čaputová is postponing the installation of her new government as she is against the nomination of Rudolf Huliak, whom she said was a climate-change sceptic, as environment minister.

Čaputová, a Liberal progressive, said she could not accept someone who does not believe in the threat of climate change in the role.

Huliak was nominated by the Slovak National Party, a Conservative nationalist party and part of the Identity and Democracy Group in the European Parliament.

Regarding climate change, Huliak said he had never denied its existence.

“I said that one side has turned it into a political ideology based on climate change. And on the basis of that, they want to destroy Slovakia’s national economy.

“They want to put us back to living in caves, not using fossil fuels, and not using combustion engines.

“Do they want us, depending on this industry, to end up in a state of economic, social and energy collapse? What will happen to Slovakia when it’s supposed to be a leader in carbon neutrality?” Huliak added.

“I approach these matters realistically in practice. Through me, funds would also be directed towards Slovakia’s nature. Currently, they flow into non-governmental organisations and indirectly fund the campaigns of individual political parties.”

Čaputová said she believed Huliak could not guarantee the proper functioning of the environment ministry because he opposes the government’s long-term environmental policy and Slovakia’s international commitments.

“A candidate who does not recognise the scientific consensus on climate change and claims that there is no real climate crisis cannot lead and represent a ministry whose main task is to protect nature, the landscape and the Earth’s climate system,” Čaputová said.

The Slovak National Party said it was not ready to comply with her request to nominate someone else.

The new Slovakian Government was always likely to run into conflict over progressive values; Robert Fico was elected as Prime Minister on September 30 after making campaign promises to end Slovakia’s support to Ukraine in the war against Russia.

On October 12, Fico and his Smer party sealed the deal with the centre-left Hlas party and the hard-right Slovak National Party (SNS).

A day later, the Party of European Socialists (PES) suspended its Slovakian members over their perceived pro-Russian views.

It also cited “concerns raised” by the announcement of the Slovakian Government coalition with the “radical-right” SNS.