Monday, 23 October 2017

Politicians condemn Zeman's spokesman's Third Reich comment

ČTK |
2 October 2017

Prague, Sept 29 (CTK) - The recent comment of President Milos Zeman's spokesman Jiri Ovcacek, by which he likened the EU to Hitler's Third Reich in his criticism of a EU food safety regulation banning an ingredient of a Czech potato-based alcohol called rum, was rejected by the majority of politicians CTK addressed on Friday.

Ovcacek's comment was quoted by Reuters yesterday as: "The Empire has decided that there will be no ‘tuzemak’ (Czech rum) to drink in the protectorate."

Czech PM Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said that Zeman's spokesman was but "a smart instrument" to "increase Zeman's promotion, offend opponents and divide society."

Sobotka also shared a Twitter statement of the Representation of the European Commission in the Czech Republic, which said that "the alleged EU empire" recommended "humbly" to the spokesman to study information before spreading fake news.

MEP Pavel Telicka (ANO) said on Twitter that the Presidential Office was a mess, questioning whether Zeman was a European federalist.

"It's another disgrace that is damaging us in the world, in particular if his superior does not object and does not sack him. He thus speaks for the head of state," Marek Zenisek, a TOP 09 deputy chairman, said.

Martin Kupka, the Civic Democrat (ODS) deputy chairman, said it was another Ovcacek's "unacceptable blunder" that was not worth taking offence.

Katerina Konecna, Czech Communist (KSCM) MEP, said she perceived Ovcacek as spokesman for himself alone, not as a spokesman for the president.

Ondrej Benesik, Christian Democrat (KDU-CSL) deputy chairman, said if Ovcacek had evidence that the EU institutions were being abused in order to damage Czech producers, he should have presented it. If he was voicing his opinion only to attract attention, it was entirely inappropriate, Benesik said.

Tomio Okamura, chairman of the Freedom and Direct Democracy (SDP) movement, was the only politician that backed Ovcacek with his view in the survey.

Okamura told CTK that the EU was a combination of states and supranational corporations that, in fact, directed Brussels. He said that national sovereignty was being suppressed, freedom of speech was disappearing and Brussel's enemies were being attacked.

"Fascistoid tendencies are clearly visible and cannot be overlooked. Indeed, we are in the claws of a Fourth Reich," Okamura said.

Ovcacek told the server iDnes.cz that he has not been rebuked over the comment by anyone in Zeman's office, because it was his personal opinion, insisting on his comparison being accurate.

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