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Horáček: NATO, EU, euro are key for Czech security

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Prague, Oct 13 (CTK) – The memberships of the European Union and NATO guarantee independence and sovereignty of the Czech Republic and this is also why the country should adopt the euro, presidential candidate Michal Horacek has told CTK.

He said interwoven business and other interests seemed to him even more important for the security of the country than treaties. Czech allies would have a reason to defend the Czech Republic then, he added.

For the same reason, Horacek would like the country to introduce the euro, although the euro zone has its weaknesses given the differences among the economic strength of its member countries.

The decision to adopt the euro is a political one because there are arguments both for and against its adoption, he said. “Like it or not, it is simply unavoidable,” Horacek said about euro adoption.

He said Czechs should not give up the big European dream and they should try to improve this very ambitious project accompanied by a number of mistakes.

“No departure from the EU, but on the contrary a much harder inspiring work, together with our partners, allies in making the European Union better,” Horacek said.

To leave the EU will be a fall into insignificance for the Czech Republic, he said.

Horacek said he gathered the required 50,000 signatures in support of his presidential candidacy long ago.

In late August he had 82,000 signatures under his petition. “We have reduced the effort (to gather signatures from supporters) since then, I don’t know the exact number now,” he said.

His election team will count the vote before submitting his official candidacy to the Interior Ministry, he added.

Horacek, former co-owner of the Fortuna betting company and lyricist, started his presidential campaign one year ago, being the first serious candidate who might replace President Milos Zeman. Zeman announced last March that he would seek re-election.

Horacek said he wants to make his campaign even more intensive now that the date of the direct presidential election, January 12-13, is getting closer.

He wants to visit as many places in the country as possible and present his candidacy to people and be open to their opinions. He also wants to take an active part in political life.

Horacek hopes that debates of presidential candidates would be held and that Zeman would also participate in them. If Zeman did not take part in them, he would consider it cowardly, he said.

Horacek said he would give his presidential salary to a fund supporting senior citizens in need.

He said people who would pay their tax and insurance debts to the state should be exempt from paying the fine for late payment.

If elected president, Horacek’s first official trip abroad would be to Slovakia. He would pay special attention to the Baltic states whose modern attitude seems inspiring to him. He would also like to visit Russia, but not in an inferior position before President Vladimir Putin as it is now, he said.

In the presidential post, Horacek would declare that the Czech Republic backs Ukraine, considers it an important partner and condemns the Russian attitude to Crimea.

President Zeman said earlier this week that the anti-Russian sanctions are not working and that the annexation of Crimea seems irreversible.

Horacek criticised the amnesty that former President Vaclav Klaus declared at the end of his mandate in 2013 because it caused huge damage by undermining people’s trust in the rule of law.

Within Klaus’s amnesty, entrepreneurs suspected of extensive frauds related to the Czech economic transformation of the 1990s were pardoned, among others.

Horacek said he would order a financial audit of the Presidential Office and apologise to heirs of Czech democratic journalist Ferdinand Peroutka, whom Zeman wrongly accused of briefly admiring Adolf Hitler and refused to admit his mistake.

Horacek said he is strongly against the participation of the Communist Party (KSCM) in the national government. He said the party did not rename itself after the fall of the communist regime, which shows it did not admit that the word communist was burdened with similar problems as the word Nazi.

If he were president, Horacek would appoint somebody who is criminally prosecuted to the post of prime minister because he respected the presumption of innocence and the Czech constitution, but he would do his utmost to persuade this person to give up the idea of becoming prime minister.

Andrej Babis, whose ANO movement has been the clearly most popular Czech party for many months and is expected to win the general election to be held late next week, has recently been charged with a fraud concerning a European subsidy.

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