Slovak PM's Support for 2022 Winter Olympics Bid Draws Criticism

Whereas Norway and Switzerland are planning to hold referenda before submitting their 2022 Winter Olympics bids, the fate of the Slovak-Polish joint bid already seems decided: the Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico has declared his support for it, without waiting for the government's approval.

Slovakia's Olympic expenditures were initially estimated at €200 million, but later the Minister of Finance spoke [sk] of €300 million, while some estimates amount to nearly €500 million. Slovak NGOs, such as Aliancia Fair-Play, and the opposition parties are demanding [sk] the precise cost analysis and a list of funding sources.

Economist Richard Ďurana thinks [sk] that the “organization of the Olympic Games is a very expensive, short-term boost of national pride that only very rich or very irresponsible countries can afford.”

Imrich Body, a member of the non-parliamentary 99 Percent-Civic Voice party, sees the Olympics [sk] as another attempt to “feed the Gorilla“, referring to the corruption scandal that shook Slovakia a year ago.

Blogger Matej Bórik has these questions [sk] for the Prime Minister:

How do you ensure that there will be no overcharge scenario as in London, Athens, Sochi, Vancouver and other mega-cities? What steps will you take when it will occur? Do you have enough cash in [your] personal account?

Blogger Samo Marec writes [sk]:

It should be noted that we have already been fighting for the Olympics – and even twice. […] It is possible that I'm alone with this opinion, but I strongly believe that the sole purpose of the [Olympic bidding] is making public money private once again. Compared to [those who came up with] this plan, [Jaromír Ruda, known for the failed Deaflympics,] is a poor amateur. […]

Blogger Karol Šebo is optimistic [sk]:

Poland, not Slovakia, will play the leading role in convincing the International Olympic Committee.

Poland, which has only recently organized EURO 2012 successfully; Poland, which has a strong lobby in a number of organizations around the world. And not to mention that Krakow has a strong brand image internationally. That's why I think that this joint candidacy has a real chance to be successful, and any success provides Slovakia with a great chance to become more visible, something that does not happen often.

Blogger Tomáš Bosák writes [sk]:

A candidate to host the Olympics now, when we are languishing [under austerity measures]? What do we need the Olympics for? […] I am just wondering from where this or that government will have the money for this parade.

Because I remember what a show it was about [the hockey stadium in Bratislava] and how it kept growing more expensive. Now it would not be enough to build just one stadium. I don't know, it reminds me of organizing May Day celebrations. No calculations, no documentation, but let's do it, because people will have fun. And we will have a chance to show off.

Mikuláš Huba, an ecologist and a newly-elected MP, writes [sk]:

There is a threat to the nature, because the Tatras are not the Alps.

Not giving money to doctors and teachers, but giving it to officials, politicians, developers and sponsors?

The candidacy for the Olympics is such a serious decision that it cannot and should not be made by one person and in one day; it requires a serious, long-term and informed debate not just in the parliament, but in the society as a whole, following the example of Norway.

Prime Minister has openly demonstrated how serious he is about the consolidation of the public finances and also what (and who) his priorities are.

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