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Politico: Zdeněk Hřib named “a beacon of hope for liberals”

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Politico ranked Zdeněk Hřib among the 28 most influential people in Europe – class 2021. Along with the Mayor of Prague, Politico included such famous politicians as Angela Merkel (the most powerful person in Europe according to the ranking), Emmanuel Macron, Ursula Von Der Leyen, Boris Johnson, and Vladimir Putin.

According to its website, Politico’s ranking presents names of the people (16 men and 12 women) with the most power over European politics. Sixteen of those are politicians while others come from a rich variety of backgrounds not directly associated with politics, including J.K. Rowling and Pavel Durov (the founder of Telegram). The ranking is divided into three categories: doers, disrupters and dreamers. Hřib is included in the “dreamers” category on the ninth position while Ursula Von Der Leyen won the first place.

Politico titles the Mayor as “the city light” and describes Hřib in the following manner:

“Hřib wants to make the Czech capital the shining city on a hill, a beacon of hope for liberals in a region sliding toward right-wing authoritarianism.”

Politico proceeds to explain how Hřib dedicated the last two years of his political career to opposing both populists on the territory of Czechia, such as Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, and fighting those located in China and Russia. This refers to Hřib’s long-standing rivalry with the Chinese principals in relation to the Czech Republic, including his visit to Taipei and removal of the article connected with Prague’s support for “one-China Principal”. The Chinese officials saw his visit to Taiwan as a “serious infringement on China’s national sovereignty”.

Similarly, Russia was not fond of some of the Mayor’s actions: Prague renamed the square hosting the Russian embassy to “The Square of Boris Nemcov” honouring Putin’s rival who was killed in 2015. It is also planning to give one of the parks the name of Anna Politkovskaya – an investigative journalist murdered in 2006. Hřib highlighted that these figures deserve a memorial in his tweet. Later in April 2020, there were reports of a planned Russian poison plot aimed at Hřib, which were fully denied by Kremlin.

According to Politico, Hřib’s message to Brussels is clear:

“If you want to fight illiberalism in Central and Eastern Europe, give me the cash to build my progressive oasis.”

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