In an unprecedented symbolic gesture, at the request of the Socialist Group in the European Parliament, the European Parliament’s express delegation to Slovakia had to be postponed by one day.

This came after Slovak prime minister Robert Fico hinted that foreign forces, including billionaire philanthropist George Soros, were behind efforts to overthrow his government as it faces unprecedented pressure to resign.

Sven Giegold, Parliament’s rapporteur on transparency, integrity and accountability of the EU institutions, said:

“Never before has the European Parliament reacted so speedily to violations of fundamental rights in a member state. A 24-hour shift does not change that. Perhaps the Socialist Prime Minister Fico will need a few more hours to clean up his office. More importantly, the European socialist party family must finally distance itself unequivocally from Prime Minister Fico. The bashings against George Soros are just as intolerable as his insults to journalists. Fico is becoming the Orbán of Slovakia.”

By pointing to Soros, Slovak premier Fico joins thus other eastern European leaders who accuse the Hungarian-born financier of undermining their leadership at home. Fico, now mid-way through his third time as premier, rejects calls by the opposition and the president to revamp his cabinet or call early elections after a murder of a reporter sparked mass protests in Slovakia.

Fico has also refused to fire his close ally, Interior Minister Robert Kalinak, as demanded by the opposition during the protests. He fought back by accusing his rivals, including Kiska, of using the journalist’s murder for their own political gain.