Monday, 29 July 2019

Zeman is biggest problem of Czech foreign policy, analysis shows

ČTK |
29 April 2016

Prague, April 28 (CTK) - The main problem of the Czech foreign policy is President Milos Zeman, according to an annual political analysis that the Association for International Affairs (AMO), a NGO seated in Prague, released yesterday.
The analysis criticises Zeman especially for his stances on Russia and the migrant crisis, which strongly harm the country's reputation abroad, according to the authors.
The analysis recalls that Zeman took part in the celebration of Victory Day in Moscow and the parade in Beijing marking the anniversary of the end of World War Two. In both cases, Zeman called for the lifting of sanctions against Russia after talks with Vladimir Putin, irrespective of the fact that the reasons for their imposing remained unchanged and that the Czech government supported them.
The refugee crisis is a new issue for Zeman to comment on and not a single bit of humanity can be seen in his statements, the authors write. Offences of other cultures and religions dominated, not an interest in helping those in need, they write.
Zeman wilfully violated the achieved consensus, according to the analysis.
The Czech government should clearly distance itself from the president's statements that are not in line with its foreign policy. The government must face the harming of the country's reputation by Zeman in a matter-of-fact way, the analysis says.
The prime minister and the foreign minister should be permanently explaining the positions of the government to the broad public and their foreign partners, it writes.
In a debate that AMO organised yesterday, opposition MP Helena Langsadlova (TOP 09) said the two different lines of foreign policy, represented by Zeman and the government, were a big problem that harmed the Czech Republic.
MP Kristyna Zelienkova (government ANO) said the foreign minister should say out loud that the president's foreign policy is not the official foreign policy of the country.
Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek (Social Democrats, CSSD) dismissed the view that foreign policy is not clear enough.
He said open clashes between the top representatives of the country do not make a good impression abroad. He said he tries to avoid such clashes through frequent political consultations. He talked with the president once in two or three weeks, Zaoralek said.
Zaoralek admitted that he did not always succeed in preventing the different statements from being made.
The AMO analysis recommends that the Czech Republic not view the migrant crisis in a reactive, isolationist way and that it promote plans that would maintain and reinforce the Schengen system. The analysis warns politicians against misusing the threat of migrants to become more popular and it says the image of Germany, harmed by the Czech attitude to the refugee crisis, should be improved.
The analysis praises Prague for launching a strategic dialogue with Berlin and for further development of relations with Seoul. It appreciates that disputes about economic diplomacy between the foreign and trade ministries ended.

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