Sunday, 20 April 2014

Reflex: PM's recent speech in Bavaria can complicate a lot

1 March 2013

Prague, Feb 28 (CTK) - Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas's (Civic Democrats, ODS) recent speech in Bavaria can be described with the words "no one wanted it, no one needed it, it solves nothing, but it can complicate a lot in the future," Bohumil Pecinka writes in weekly Reflex out yesterday.

Pecinka writes that Necas knows how to surprise, but the question is what the sense the speech he made in parliament during his official visit to Bavaria last week was to be.

He writes that Horst Seehofer was the first Bavarian prime minister to visit the Czech Republic in 2011, more than 20 years after the fall of the Iron Curtain.

It was a breakthrough visit also because the Bavarian side used to make mutual visits conditional on large concessions to the Sudeten Germans, Pecinka writes.

Bavaria is a representative of some 2.5 million Sudeten Germans who were transferred from the Czechoslovakia under president Edvard Benes's post-war decrees. The decrees provided for the confiscation of the property of collaborators, traitors, ethnic Germans and Hungarians, except for those who themselves suffered under the Nazis. They also formed a basis for the transfer of the two ethnic groups from Czechoslovakia after the war.

Pecinka writes, however, that Seehofer made an impression of a politician from another era who rejects the pressure rhetoric applied until then and who, on the contrary, is aware of the two countries' economic interconnection, Pecinka writes.

To put it briefly, he says, Seehofer showed that he wants politics to be set so as not to complicate the excellent economic relations.

It was only logical that Necas will reciprocate the visit. That is why he and Seehofer went to the former concentration camp in Dachau last week and spoke about joint research within the Galileo programme. Later Necas went to the land parliament where he made a speech that was entirely out of time and space, Pecinka writes.

He writes that Necas's speech is reminiscent of the 1990s when the Germans and Czechs were repeatedly discussing historical data to reach a compromise description of their common history.

The effort was eventually translated into the 1997 Czech-German Declaration in which the two sides said they close controversial past issues and are ready to pragmatically focus on the present and future that they can actively influence unlike the past, Pecinka recalls.

Sixteen years later, Necas appears as if coming from a different world and returning to the "pre-declaration" times, trying to improve history and "complete its interpetation," which is entirely beyond the political context of the two countries, Pecinka writes.

Characteristically, Necas did not at all mention business while Bavaria is the biggest importer of Czech products, Pecinka writes.

It is likewise characteristic that Necas's speech did not at all correspond to the current interests of Czech as well as majority Bavarian voters, Pecinka writes.

He did not mention experience of the joint internal market, the mutual employing of people, the police's cross-border cooperation, joint actions against car thieves and drug distributors or forests protection, Pecinka writes.

Instead, Necas was explaining history while his speech at times resembled a speech made at a conference on the influences of Bavarian Christianity on the Czechs, Pecinka writes with irony.

He writes that the whole text of Necas's speech was written with the eyes of German Catholic brochures while it contained no typical Czech position or Necas's own stand.

When Necas spoke about the sensitive moments of the 20th century, he again took over the concept of the past years: there are no guilty persons, there are only victims, Pecinka writes, pointing to that Necas only spoke about the transfer of Sudeten Germans without saying what preceded it.

This again arouses the question of why Necas reopened the theme that can never be satisfactorily "additionally explained."

In view of that Necas did not consult about his speech even with the narrow ODS leadership, not to say government politicians, the speech looks like a gesture that is made by a person who is in isolation and that is destined for a small group of professionals in charge of settling accounts with the past on both sides, Pecinka writes.

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