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Slovakia: President To Fire Deputy Premier

Bratislava, 4 May 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Slovak Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda will today ask President Rudolf Schuster to fire Slovakia's deputy premier for European Union integration because of a scandal over alleged misuse of EU funds. Dzurinda said last night that he has decided to dismiss Deputy Prime Minister Pavol Hamzik. Dzurinda said Hamzik has refused a request to resign.

Dzurinda has blamed Hamzik for not promptly informing the government about a case of alleged fraud involving EU development funds.

The EU stopped approving tenders for new aid projects in Slovakia in response to the scandal, but lifted the suspension late last month.

The accused official, Roland Toth, was dismissed in March but has not been charged with any crime.

EU officials have said the scandal is not expected to affect Slovakia's negotiations to join the EU.