We’ve heard a lot recently about priorities and agendas, Eurosceptic presidents and divided parliaments, but what about the practical side of it all? What will actually happen here when the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Eve?
Jan. 1 should be a moment to savor for Czechs: almost two decades after the Velvet Revolution ended communist rule, the country is about to take over the six-month rotating E.U. presidency. But while some Czechs may be flushed with pride, President Václav Klaus is not, and that has officials in Brussels riled.
As the country prepares to take on the EU Presidency, Czech President Václav Klaus increasingly has been thrust into the international spotlight.
As the Czech Republic prepares to assume European Union leadership for the first time, the nation’s two top officials are clashing over the EU’s merits – and in the process threatening to hamper its efforts to battle the economic crisis.
Doubt is the word most used by European media in connection to the end of French EU presidency that is to be followed by the Czech one for the next six months. Last week’s satirical programme on Canal Plus TV represented its latest form. The programme took advantage of hyperbole corresponding to the puppet show to address the question marks accompanying the Czech presidency, which were also underlined by a number of commentaries published in more serious media. A scene including European politicians targeted Nicolas Sarkozy, as it has done before, but this time the Czech president also became an object of satire. It was not his views concerning Europe, however, since Klaus’ puppet only managed to utter a few
European Union leaders, led by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, on Tuesday criticised the Czech Republic’s eurosceptic president, weeks before his country assumes the EU presidency. Among the main bones of contention is Klaus’s unwillingness to let the European flag fly from the presidential Prague Castle and a recent diplomatic incident when Klaus met a delegation of EU parliamentarians visiting Prague. “We were upset when all the European flags were withdrawn from public buildings,” Sarkozy said.
After taking over the rotating EU presidency from France next January, the Czech Republic will take all the necessary steps to reach agreement on the climate and energy package by adopting a pragmatic approach.