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Talkback: Voice your opinion on today’s Czech news

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Welcome to Talkback, a forum to voice your opinion on today’s Czech news.

This week’s topic:How are Czechs handling the EU position so far?

The Czechs took over the rotating EU presidency at a time of global financial crisis, gas shortages from Russia to Europe and the new Middle East conflict. The whole world is watching how the small country is handling the critical situation. What are the results so far?

PM Mirek Topolánek negotiated an agreement on the resumption of gas supplies to Europe from Russia with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s Julia Timoshenko last week on the condition that a monitoring team would be put in place to check gas flows through the pipeline. This agreement, however, was in the end rejected by Russia.

The Gaza conflict seems to be a harder nut to crack for the Czechs, however. First, the EU presidency spokesman caused an international scandal by describing the Israeli strike as defensive. Then the EU mission to the Middle East led by the Czechs was overshadowed by French President Sarkozy, who held separate talks with the warring parties.

Nevertheless, the EU mission helped achieve a three-hour interruption of fighting every day in order to allow humanitarian aid to reach Palestine. Czech diplomats have also allocated CZK 5 million in aid to the citizens of Gaza.

Speculations have appeared though that the international conflicts are keeping the Czechs distracted from what should be the main job of the presiding country and that is to coordinate the EU.

  • Should the EU presidency focus more on EU related issues rather than trying to solve conflicts outside the region?
  • How are the Czechs handling their new position so far?
  • Are you satisfied or disappointed by how the Czechs have appraoched their new role?

    Email us at: [email protected].

    Related links

  • EU gas monitors in Ukraine after deal with Russia
  • Analysts: EU’s Middle East mission led by Czechs not unsuccessful
  • Der Standard: Czechs overburdened with EU presidency

    In reaction to last week’s Talkback (How can ČR help resolve the problem in Gaza?), Monitor reader Ol wrote he didn’t believe the EU mission led by the Czechs would be successful and said the Gaza conflict could create significant rifts within the EU. “To help the situation in that part of the Middle East, the Czech administration should first see the events as they are! 400 dead Palestinians and 4 Israelis (by friendly fire) so far can hardly be considered a defensive posture of Israel. Lobbing here and there a few home made missiles of 65-year old technology is also hardly serious threat to the existence of the State of Israel, especially since they did not cause any casualties nor major property damage.
    Why not to invite Israel to behave according to the ancient Jewish philosophy Kabbalah and together with them build production and service facilities in Gaza, help to train their police force, invite them for bilateral economic and customs agreements?”

    Reader Jacquie Butterfield wrote he was sorry to see Czech diplomats being forced into hypocracy because of the pressure to appease the powerful minority countries as it is a question of economics and politics. “For once, I was delighted that someone in that august organisation told it like it is! I was saying ‘trust the Czechs to be practical and forthright and insightfully succinct’.

    Not once have I heard an Islamic person say they might be slightly at fault in any kind of situation. Not once have I witnessed any display of humility from an Islamic man.
    And I’d be really astonished to find any Islamic man that would ever stand up straight and say ‘Yes, I did that, I admit it, however it shames me and my clan’. Admission of partial culpability, some humility and courageous honesty are, I believe, more akin to the other major religions, namely Buddhism, Hinduism, Judao-Christianity,” wrote Jacquie.

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