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Prague Forum 2000 warning of populists

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Prague, Oct 10 (CTK) – Mysterious populist parties are dominating the politics in Central European countries, former Slovak prime minister Iveta Radicova (2010-2012) said at the conference of world personalities Forum 2000 on Tuesday.

A new party lacking any anchored values appears on the political scene of the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland from time to time, Radicova said, adding that leaders of such parties then influence the thinking of the whole society.

As the parties have no anchored values, they can use populist rhetoric, she added.

Due to this, the leaders push the values of the whole society, Radicova said.

“I learn every day whom I should hate. One day, these are Czechs, the next day the Roma, on another day the refugees,” Radicova said.

In the panel discussion called “Central Europe. 20 Years After Today,” Hungary was represented by MEP Tamas Meszerics.

He said there was not any threat that the majority of Central European countries would embrace extremist political currents, although the rightist extremism had gained the ground in recent years.

In the years to come, the EU will have a large discussion on what to change so that the doubts about the sense of European integration were not deepened, he added.

The EU is facing problems and one has to work on their solution, but there is no alternative to its existence, former Austrian president Heinz Fischer said.

He said due to the turbulent developments in the world, the support for EU membership was growing in Austria.

It is unclear on which direction the EU would go, Fischer said.

The scenarios unveiled by EC President Jean-Claude Juncker have not given a clear picture of the future, he added.

The Czech Republic does not seem to be threatened by joining the eurosceptic and nationalist governments in Warsaw and Budapest after the forthcoming election to the Chamber of Deputies, French political scientist Jacques Rupnik said.

“The situation in the Czech Republic is rather different, there is not the threat of the same phenomenon as in Poland and Hungary where liberal democracy is directly jeopardised,” Rupnik said.

Former Polish dissident Adam Michnik, now heading the influential daily Gazeta Wyborcza, said the answer to the question of how populists could succeed in Poland after over two decades of successful development of democracy and economy was worth a Nobel Prize.

The answer can be partly given by the fragmentation of the democratic part of the political spectrum and the inability to face demoralisation of society by distributing social benefits, which was pushing Poland to the “Greek road,” Michnik said.

He also cited the Polish interwar tradition and the role of the Catholic church.

Under the Communist regime, it was a “great friend of freedom,” but at present its majority prefers the authoritarian regime, Michnik said.

He said he evaluated the current situation of Poland rather pessimistically, as a historical step back.

The sanctions against Russia do make sense, Refat Chubarov, a leader of Crimean Tatars, told the Forum 2000.

The sanctions were not sufficient to make Russia respect international law, to withdraw from Ukraine and to return Crimea, but this does not mean that they have no influence (on Russian policy).

Thanks to the sanctions, the civilised world has halted Russia’s direct aggression, especially against Ukraine, but perhaps also against some other neighbours of Russia, maybe in the Baltics or elsewhere, Chubarov said.

Hence the exceptional importance of the sanctions, he added.

The Czech politicians who claim that the annexation of Crimea is nothing terrible and that Crimea used to belong to Russia and that Moscow has a special right to Crimea are saying the same as the politicians who claimed before the war that Hitler has a right to the Sudeten [the Czech borderland, largely inhabited by ethnic Germans], Chubarov said.

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