Sunday, 22 July 2018

Presidential candidate Topolánek says yes to EU, no to euro

ČTK |
1 December 2017

Prague, Nov 30 (CTK) - Czech presidential candidate Mirek Topolanek insists on the country's membership of the European Union, but he strongly opposes the adoption of the euro as the single currency, he told journalists within a presentation of his views of foreign policy on Thursday.

The Czech Republic has no other geopolitical alternative to the EU membership, Topolanek said. The EU has been a successful project and its members have been living in peace for 70 years, he added.

"This does not mean that I agree with everything that occurs in the EU," Topolanek said.

He said the Czech Republic cannot afford to have a president who is without political experience.

Topolanek is the only one of the nine candidates, who want to replace incumbent President Milos Zeman, to have occupied top political posts. He was prime minister in 2006-09 and the leader of the right-wing Civic Democratic Party (ODS) in 2002-2010. He was a senator in 1996-2004.

Opinion polls indicated that Zeman is the favourite of the direct presidential election due in January and Czech Science Academy former head Jiri Drahos is his strongest rival.

Topolanek said he would promote pragmatic and effective diplomacy but also with the emphasis on human rights if he was elected president.

People should not let their country move eastwards and the Czech foreign policy should return to the path it started taking after the fall of the communist regime in 1989, he said, referring to the tradition of an emphasis on human rights defence.

He criticised Zeman for not making any difference between Persians, Kurds and Arabs. Zeman is known for his resolute criticism of Islam.

Topolanek said relations with the neighbouring countries are crucial for the Czech Republic.

He said the next president would have to be much more active in NATO and the EU than it is now.

Topolanek said the EU does not need any extensive vision of its future, it only has to return to its Jewish, Christian and Enlightenment roots. He said he wants to make people feel secure again, protect their rights and freedoms and defend democracy.

If the EU is incapable of protecting the borders of the Schengen Area and lets happen another migrant wave, the Czech Republic will have to protect its border itself, he said.

On the other hand, the Czech Republic needs workers from abroad, Topolanek said. People who arrive in the country must be ready to work, respect the law and observe the rules, he added.

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