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Czech Republic’s image has suffered

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The image and reputation of the Czech Republic in Europe and the world is beginning to sink significantly and fast. Rumors have it that the Czech Republic will not meet – as promised – its deadline set for 15 December to launch the monitoring system for drawing EU funds which flow to the Czech Republic. We could lose dozens of billions of crowns and not just that. We could end up on the same boat together with Romania and Bulgaria, both of which have already seen reductions in funding from the EU for various reasons.

Let’s look at the problem in a wider context. The Czech government was brought down during the worst economic crisis since the end of the second world war (which also has serious social impacts) and in the course of its presidency of the EU. The Czech Republic left the EU alone, gave up on its leading position and de facto paralised and damaged the EU leadership. It damaged flagrantly the image and the position of smaller states which now can be accused of not being competent to govern the EU.

It looks like the Irish will say “yes” to the Lisbon Treaty. It will then be signed by the Polish president and the Germans will change the relevant laws as their Constitutional Court mandates. Thanks to the obstructions of ODS senators and the Czech president, the Czech Republic will become the last EU country with an incomplete process of Lisbon Treaty ratification. We will have an image of someone who sabotages someone else’s work for reasons that are hard to understand. In addition to that, we also make it more complicated for others to choose and establish the new European Commission.

Moreover, we are not able to come up with a credible candidate for the post of EU commissioner and our diplomats do not know who and what portfolio they should lobby for.

On top of all, there are the current disputes over the elections, the constitution, the interim government with its weak mandate and the worsening situation of our public finance and the growing risk of provisional budget.

If the Czech Republic in a situation like this demand (how many times before?) the launch of the monitoring system be postponed (yes, that’s why Jiří Čunek had to resign), the request will not likely get accepted (why would it when we only make lives of others more difficult). The tender for the monitoring system has not been called yet. The Minister for Regional Development Rostislav Vondruška reportedly asked several days ago if the launch could be postponed until no specified date and the government agreed.

The worst thing about it is that various regional and building lobby groups do not even want the monitoring system. They believe some EU money will always come even without the system. It won’t be as much but less transparent it will be. And that’s what some may consider useful – just like in Bulgaria and Romania.

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