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Experts: Czechs improve ties with Germany, do not manage migration

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Prague, Aug 13 (CTK) – Illegibility, inability to assert itself in relation to parliament and the president, the stance on migration and unfulfilled promises, these are things for which the experts addressed by CTK criticised Czech diplomacy some two months ahead of a general election.

They positively assessed an improvement in relations with Germany and more constructive steps taken in the EU under Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek (Social Democrats, CSSD).

The lack of progress in the preparation for introducing the euro, which the government of the CSSD, ANO and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) pledged to make in its coalition agreement was pointed out by Michal Koran, from the Aspen Institute Central Europe platform, and Vit Dostal, director of hte International Affairs Association (AMO).

The government pledged in its policy statement to adopt the fiscal pact.

Dostal said the agreement in which EU countries pledge to observe budgetary responsibility has made it through the Senate, but the government failed to secure support for it in the Chamber of Deputies.

Dostal said “the link of the government parties to Parliament did not exist at all. The long-lasting failure to pass the EU association agreement with Ukraine was a shame,” Dostal said.

Another example of the government’s failure in the Chamber of Deputies is the Paris climate treaty. The deputies will only take a vote on it after almost one year at their September session.

The absence of unity of Czech foreign policy was obvious in the relationship to President Milos Zeman, Koran and Dostal agreed.

They said the government did not sufficiently react to Zeman’s steps that were headed outside the government-declared position of the country.

Koran said this has been a longer-lasting trend of Czech diplomacy, which was also evident during the rein of previous president Vaclav Klaus.

Koran said the unpredictability of the steps taken by the Czech Republic in some respects is also a mistake.

“In most cases, we showed both a black and a white stance. This applies in relation to Russia, for instance,” he said.

“On the one hand, we perceive it as a relative security threat, on the other hand, we would probably be the first who would support the lifting of the economic sanctions,” Koran said.

Both Koran and Dostal praised the government’s activities aimed to reinforce relations with Germany. Czech diplomacy has reached this by establishing a strategic dialogue that extends relations between the two countries beyond the framework of the Foreign Ministry.

Koran said the Czech Republic’s performance in the EU has a positive trend.

“We have stopped taking unpredictable steps. We strove to push forward the mainstream and to handle EU issues in a constructive way,” he said.

The migrant crisis was an exception, both Dostal and Koran say. Together with its partners from the Visegrad Four (Hungary, Poland and Slovakia), the Czech Republic explicitly rejected a joint solution to the refugee influx through relocation quotas.

Being the Visegrad Four presiding country, the Czech Republic spoke about its wish to mediate a dialogue of the anti-migrant Central Europe and the rest of the EU calling for solidarity.

“Our Prime Minister may not have made such hard statements as (Hungary’s) Viktor Orban, but the interior or finance minister have. We were not definitely any kingpin in this respect, our position was on the edge,” Dostal said.

He said the statement of four supreme officials, in which the president, the PM and the chairmen of the two houses of parliament, in which they took a stance against Culture Minister Daniel Herman’s (KDU-CSL) meeting with the Tibetan Dalai Lama was a big failure.

“Anyone has strategic relations with China, but no one makes such dotty statements,” he told CTK.

This overshadows any Czech effort to commit itself on the international scene as a human rights defending country, Dostal said.

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