Czech press paints nightmare scenario for Lisbon Treaty

Vaclav_Klaus2_pic_com.jpg

Czech President Václav Klaus might push through his own idea for a new cabinet, which could take “anti-EU” and other controversial steps aimed at killing the Lisbon Treaty in tune with the prominent Eurosceptic’s views, a Czech commentator warned yesterday (1 April).

Although it sounds like an April Fools hoax, the scenario is realistic, Czech sources confirmed. Columnist Jiri Leschtina writes in the Prague-based daily ‘Hospodárske noviny’ that although Klaus assured the public he would appoint a new government on which parties in parliament would agree, a different scenario will more likely emerge. 

According to this hidden agenda, no progress in negotiations will be made in the next few days. Then, in a week’s time, Klaus will ask one of “his men” to form a cabinet. The PM-designate will form an “Easter government” with which Klaus will be in close contact. The cabinet will then ask the lower house to express confidence in it, Leschtina writes. 

Figures who became known during the 2008 presidential elections will re-appear in the lower house’s corridors, Leschtina continues, alluding to the controversial and tough behind-the-scenes battle that took place before Klaus’s re-election as president by parliament. 

The figures include Supreme Court deputy chairman Pavel Kucera, former justice minister Pavel Nemec, Presidential Office head Jiri Weigl and Miroslav Slouf, a lobbyist from the Social Democratic CSSD party. All of them will seek deputies’ support for the government initiated by Klaus, Leschtina writes further. 

Either the government will win the confidence vote, supported by the opposition Social Democrats (CSSD) and defectors from current government parties, after the junior opposition Communists’ (KSCM) walkout from the room, or it will lose but go on ruling until early elections, Leschtina believes. 

In any case, he expects that the government will start to act by withdrawing the Lisbon Treaty from the Senate, where it is waiting for a ratification vote. It will also withdraw Czech units from all foreign military missions. But before that, it will remove EU flags from all Czech official buildings, Leschtina forecasts. 

Furthermore, the government will scrap Topolánek’s promise to set a binding deadline for the Czech adoption of the euro. 

It will not unfreeze the Czech-US treaties on a US radar base on Czech soil, the editorialistfurther forecasts. He also foresees several reversals on environmental commitments by the Czech Republic with the EU. Klaus is known as a notorious denier of climate change. 

Lobbyists from coal, logging and other grateful companies will start working for the Free Citizens’ Party (SSO), an Eurosceptic entity that was recently established by Klaus’s “great admirer” Petr Mach, Leschtina continues. As a result, the SSO will become a party in parliament, he predicts. 

Russian interests 

The leader of the Czech liberals stated that Klaus harms the Czech Republic and promotes Russia’s interests, writes the agency CTK, quoted by the Prague Daily Monitor. 

In an online statement, Milan Hamersky, leader of the Liberals.cz party, blames Klaus for violating laws, threatening independence of significant institutions and enabling the Communists (KSCM) to participate in important decision-making. 

Liberals.cz (LIB) has launched a campaign called ‘Václav Klaus harms Czech national interests’ on its website, where Klaus is depicted wearing a bow tie in the colours of the Russian flag. 

The party also claims on its website that the largest advertising firm refused to display the ordered billboard and that some media refused to publish its ads. 

LIB presented its programme in January. It wants to attract voters to the idea of creating the United States of Europe. 

A similar view about Klaus being influenced by Moscow was recently expressed by a Czech analyst, speaking to EURACTIV in an interview.

The collapse of the government of Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek (EURACTIV 25/03/09) has undermined the country's position as the holder of the EU presidency, strengthened the role of Eurosceptic President Václav Klaus, and raised doubts about ratification of the EU's Lisbon Treaty. 

The Czech Senate will vote on the treaty by early May, and the chances of approval are relatively high despite last week's cabinet fall, politicians say. 

The Lisbon Treaty is a sticking point in the Czech Republic, where Klaus has been on a mission against the document, which he sees as an attack on national sovereignty. 

Klaus has a wide following in the upper house, or Senate, faction of the ruling right-wing Civic Democrats, whose votes are vital for ratification of the treaty, meant to streamline decision-making in the EU. 

Subscribe to our newsletters

Subscribe

Want to know what's going on in the EU Capitals daily? Subscribe now to our new 9am newsletter.