|Member of the European parliament|
|Assumed office |
20 July 2004
|Member of the National Council of the Slovak Republic|
15 October 2002 – 20 July 2004
|Born||15 August 1968|
|Political party||Direction – Social Democracy, (PES)|
|Alma mater||Matej Bel School of Political Sciences and International Relations (PhDr.)|
Monika Flašíková-Beňová (born 15 August 1968) is a Slovak politician who has been a member of the European Parliament since 2004. She is a member of the centre-left Direction-Social Democracy party, which in turn is affiliated with the Party of European Socialists. She presently serves on the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs.
Originally a store manager and a media executive, she was recruited into politics in 1999, being one of the founding members of the Smer-SD party. Since then she has served in the National Council of the Slovak Republic as well as the European Parliament. She is known for her progressivism and left-wing views.
Early life and education
Born Monika Beňová on 15 August 1968 in Bratislava, she attended upper secondary school at the Gymnazium Vazovova in Bratislava. In 2000, she enrolled in the Faculty of Political Science and International Relations at the Matej Bel University in Banská Bystrica. She graduated in 2005, with a master's degree in international relations. She was awarded eastern Europe degree PhDr. in 2007.
Before starting her political career, she directed several companies between 1992-1999, among them several stores. In early she was made director of a new private radio station in Bratislava named Radio Koliba, owned by her future-husband Fedor Flasik. The radio station was criticized at the time for having a pro-government agenda, as well trying to squeeze politically neutral competitors out of the market by overbidding and overspending them.
In 1998, she was first approached with the idea of starting a political party by future prime minister Robert Fico, her future-husband Fedor Flasik and Frantisek Határ. As a result of these discussions, she co-founded and subsequently became vice-chairwoman of the new social-democratic party Direction-Social Democracy (Smer-SD), with Fico as leader.
Alongside others such as Fico, Robert Kalinak and Pavol Paska she was a part of the new generation of politicians hand-picked to start a new left-wing political party where the leadership would be without ties to the former communist regime nor post-communist corruption scandals, the so-called "clean hands" strategy. She was re-elected during the 2003 party congress.
Having been elected to the National Council of the Slovak Republic on 15 October 2002, she got involved in the Committee for European Integration, which she directed. After that she took part in the Joint Parliamentary Committee between the European Parliament and the Slovakian one. She was observer at the European Parliament from 2003 to 2004.
The European Parliament
In the European Parliament Elections of 2004, she became a member of the European Parliament. She was re-elected in the European Parliament Elections of 2009, receiving the most personal preference votes of any candidate in Slovakia. In the European Parliament, she was a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the vice-chairwoman of the Delegation for Relations with Israel.
Ranked as one of the most active members of parliament, Flašíková-Beňová asked 19 written questions in 2014. Almost all of those questions were delivered on February 12 and covered a wide range of topics, including the bee shortage in the EU, the origin of meat in the EU, demonstrations in Egypt, changes to the law on Ukraine, new rules for tobacco products, energy poverty and rising electricity bills. As for parliamentary speeches, Flašíková-Beňová mostly submits them in written form. Most recently she spoke, for instance, on the sound level of motor vehicles, rice imports from Bangladesh, in-vitro diagnostic medical devices, imports of timber and on vulnerable groups in Syria. During the 2009-2014 term, Flašíková-Beňová delivered one report as a rapporteur, on the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union (2010–2011), in November 2012. She was re-elected to a third consecutive term in the 2014 European election.
Bid for mayorship of Bratislava
In 2006 she was Smer-SD's official candidate for the mayorship of Bratislava, but eventually lost out to the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) candidate Andrej Ďurkovský. In April 2013 she was nominated as the official candidate to run for the governorship of Bratislava Region. Prime Minister and Smer-SD chairman Robert Fico opined that Flašíková-Beňová would win, calling her a strong personality that would turn Bratislava Region upside down. In the end, Pavol Frešo, backed by Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), Most-Híd, Party of Hungarian Community (SMK), Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), Civic Conservative Party (OKS) and Green Party, collected 74.2 percent of the vote and defeated Flašíková-Beňová who picked 25.8 percent.
2001 fraud case
In December 2001, while serving as vice-chairwomen for the Smer-SD party, Flasikova-Benova was formally charged with fraud and embezzlement for allegedly failing to provide former clients Radio Koliba with SK 1.35 million in goods and services she had received money for.
Crimean referendum controversy
On 18 March 2014, Flašíková-Beňová caused controversy by defending the highly controversial Crimean referendum, and the European Union's decision not to recognize the results. Flasikova-Benova commented that EU "should be ashamed", and that Slovakia's decision not to recognize the results was "irresponsible", adding that "If 85 percent of the citizens of an autonomous area participate in the referendum and 95 percent of them say they have a different idea about how they want to live, that cannot be ignored." Her own Smer-SD party distanced themselves from her views with a statement saying it is her "personal opinion" only. Opposition politicians reacted with fury however, with SDKU-DS chairman Pavol Frešo calling her "a disgrace" and accusing her of "shaming Slovakia's image, while harming its national interests". Opposition politician Ivan Štefanec called her comments "scandalous" and "outrageous, and demanded that she apologize. Others called for Smer-SD to withdraw her nomination for the upcoming European Parliament elections.
Monika Flašíková-Beňová has been married twice. Her first husband died in 1999, and she married her second and current husband, businessman Fedor Flašík, on 20 May 2006. Flašík is a Public relations and advertising strategist who was a media advisor for prime minister Robert Fico, and instrumental in launching the Smer-SD party in 1999.
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- "MEP: Not recognising Crimea referendum is irresponsible". Slovak Spectator. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
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- "Flašíková obhajuje referendum na Kryme: Aj Únia by sa mala hanbiť". Sme.sk. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
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- "Spoločný život i majetok". Novy Cas. May 2006. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
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