October 21, 2005


EU criticism has become fashionable, Czech leader says (Lisbeth Kirk, 10/21/05, EUOBSERVER)

The 64-year old [Czech conservative president, Vaclav Klaus, ] has had a busy schedule combining over the last few days with a speech at the Global Forum conference in Gothenburg, followed later by reception with the Swedish Royals before he headed to London to congratulate former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher on her 80th birthday.

Lady Thatcher and Vaclav Klaus are politically very close allies. He, more than anyone else in continental Europe, has been keeping alight her conservative ideals of freedom, liberalism, democracy and euroscepticism.

Five months have passed since one of their mutual bugbear, the EU integration ship ran aground following the rejection of constitution by French and Dutch voters.

Since then the EU has deemed itself to be having a ‘period of reflection’ which Mr Klaus believes is not enough.

"The pause for reflection is a pause for inertia. We should do something", he demands adding "Time will not wait and the opportunity we have now will not repeat itself any time soon".

"The EU needs a change. To be satisfied with recognition of the status quo and with an eventual slowing down in further unification, is not sufficient", he says.

The Czech politician calls for a revision of the whole EU project even if it goes against some powerful vested interests.

Arguing that "the State of Europe" should be forgotten he says that a "higher European-wide democracy is an illusion".

Mr Klaus also rejects the notion of variable geometry – the idea that different countries can integrate at different speeds and to a different extent.

"We should try to create something like an Organization of European States (OES), whose members will be individual European states rather than the citizens of these states directly, as suggested by the European constitution", Mr Klaus suggests.

He argues that such a construction would be different to the Council of Europe – the group of states keeping an eye on democracy in Europe.

"[This] is a different institution, created to help fighting non-democracy", says Mr Klaus.

"We should not Europeanise issues but fight for the preservation of basic civil, political and economic liberties …. The alternative is a non-state, post-democracy and administered society."

The young Czech Republic has already produced more great leaders just named Vaclav than the French Republic has produced even mediocre leaders ever.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 21, 2005 8:56 AM

There was that little Bonaparte fellow...

Posted by: sammler at October 21, 2005 9:32 AM

Actually Bonaparte was Corsican, thus closer to being an Italian.

Posted by: h-man at October 21, 2005 10:11 AM