Politics

Obama Phoned Topolanek and Complimented for Czech Mission at Middle East

The Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek telephoned with the ingoing American president Barrack Obama, who called him as the head of the Europen Comitee, and also appreciate Topolanek’s role which the CR mission played in the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Topolanek stated he repeated his invitation to the Czech Republic; Obama could arrive to an unformal EU summit. What were the other themes he talked with obama he refused to comment.

The mission of Union representatives to the Middle East was led by the Czech foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg, accompanied by his colleagues from France and Sweeden, eurocomissary Benita Ferrero-Waldner and the high Union representative for foreign policy Javier Solana.

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Metropolis full of Euro-commissaries, Czech Chairmanship initiated

Organizers running in and out, air temperatures deep below freezing and fluttering of banners of the present demonstrators, sometimes honking of car horns. Such could be the short description of yesterday evening in front of the National Theatre.

Between seven and eight, it hosted 27 Foreign Ministers of all the EU member countries. Yesterday was the day of the ceremonial opening of our half-a-year Chairmanship. There were planned demonstrations, but only 30 people stayed in the bitter cold with no energy for public nuisance.

The chair of Vaclav Klaus and his wife Livia stayed empty through the evening, but the ex-president Vaclav Havel with Dagmar arrived as stated before. The evening started the Prime Minister, stating the Czech Chairmanship will be ‘in the sign of three Es’; effective, empatic, eclectic.

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Petition against communists signed by 51 thousands

Signers of the Internet petition ‘Na komunisty si zvykat nechceme’ (We do not want to get used to Communists) are 51 thousands already, the numbers steadily grow. The representatives prepare to go on 19th January to the house of the government to publicly appeal for support of court ban of the communist party.

The initiators point to communists getting back to the real power after the regional elections. They are afraid it is not far to the time communists would return to the central government. They state they would consider even the discussion about abandoning the communist party itself to be a success.

The petition, which renown surprised the initiators themselves appeal to the Czech politic representation to stand against return of communists to the real political power, and to put through consistent persecution of public propagation of communism and other motions leading to repression of human rights and freedoms.

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Vaclav Klaus sometimes replaced by Vaclav Havel for Czech Chairmanship.

vaclav havel This is not a joke. Lidove Noviny informed about the curious case in today edition. Not only other presidents do not invite Klaus anymore, but somebody found out Havel can be still a good representative for EU events, even when he has not been the president for five years already.

Klaus let us to know, through his speaker, he is going to miss today Euroaction connected to the EU Chairmanship in the National Theatre without explanation. Meanwhile, Czech diplomats started to explain foreign journalists, who meanwhile found in the pressure among the prime minister and the president the topic for their articles, that Klaus is not that important and that we can do it without him.

Tonight in National Theatre, there won’t be Vaclav Klaus, but other Vaclav and foreigners, who perceive it from the outside, maybe won’t even notice he is no longer the president. So the originally chimeric image of putting Havel to the front again became, at least for a little bit, real.

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Schwarzenberg: Gaza development goes in wrong direction

“European Union mission didn’t achieve immediate truce between Israel and Hamas motion, but hope it helped the future development” The foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg said after returning from the Middle East, where he tried with the EU delegation heads negotiate peace.

“The development goes in the dangerous direction” he continues. “Hamas is responsible for the present state of things and Gaza residents pay the price.” Shwarzenberg represents the opinion of Czech political majority.

“The main obstacle of peace are especially attitudes on both sides of the conflict. Israeli want to stop rocket attacks on their land and to have control of tunnels by which weapons are smuggled into Gaza zone. Without it, there will be no peace.” Schwarzenberg closes.

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Events connected to Czech European Chairmanship

Czech republic as the chairman of the European committee and by this Prague became after Belgian Bruselles de facto the second capital city of the EU. What does that mean for Prague citizens? Czech Metropolis is going to become, for half of the year, the city of politic elite, which comes for various negotiations. The most meetings and congresses will be hosted by the Congress Centre, close to Metro C Vysehrad.

But the Chairmanship doesn’t only mean limousines and police cordons, it will be also about cultural events. 7th January the International Year of astronomy starts on the Old Town Square. The opening starts at 15 the moving procession of Apostles of the Astronomical Clock.

Other event, this time aimed at music lovers is on 28 and 29th January in the Smetana hall – Symphonic orchestra of the Capital of Prague. After they finish their concerns, the other ones performing are the members of the National Folk Costume Ball. That will be quite an event, as there is going to be about 700 members in folk costumes.

Town Hall organizes Europe Day, listed on 9th May 2009. They have prepared concert, where the famous 9th symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven, known like “Ode To Happiness” presented by the Czech Philharmonics with the world renown conductor Jiri Belohlavek and with significant soloists.

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Law Proposal: Direct Presidential Vote in CR

The successor of Vaclav Klaus could be voted for directly. This is the option preferred by the team of Topolanek. What will be the verdicts? We will know in two weeks, but the true is, efforts for changing the voting law have been here since the First Republic, but never been successful. “Ministry of justice prepared three options, the government has became attached to the proposal of legislative court, according to which both the parliamentary chambers would decide about change of the constitution.

The form of the vote itself would be decided by an executive law. The same law would modify competences of the president elected by the majority or who is going to proceed into the second round of the vote.Direct presidential vote is supported by the Social Democrats, People’s party and the Greens, ODS and KSCM are rather against. The main reasons are obvious – the last vote was an international disgrace.

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Bem probably on his to Antarctica

Prague Mayor and the non-successful candidate for the ODS chairman Pavel Bem is on the way to Antarctia. By beating the local giant Mount Vinson (4892 metres) he would fulfill his dream of climbing all the five highest mountains at five continents.

During the last announced climb to Mount Everest he took two months of unpaid vacation from the town hall, however his absence was criticized from all the sides. Maybe that is the reason why he returned to his previous tactics when he didn’t talk about his expeditions very much.

The speaker of Prague town council Jiri Wolf stated yesterday, that “The Mayor has two weeks of vacation. It is his personal business.” Bem’s wife Radmila said the iDnes server that Bem is ‘at mountains’. But Bem himself stated he would like to head there a year ago.

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Sarkozy Criticized Vaclav Klaus... again

Sarkozy criticized Klaus that he is not able to get over his Euroscepticism and hang a flag of the European Union during the Czech Chairmanship from the Prague Castle. Klaus is the main refuser of The Chairmanship enthusiasm. “We would be hurt, if we saw European flags are not present at all the public buildings of Prague. “ Sarkozy stated.

At the same time Sarkozy criticized Klaus for his negotiations with Euro-parliamentary delegation, which visited Prague two weeks ago. The member of delegation and the leader of the Greens in the European Parliament Daniel Cohn-Bendit brought Klaus a small EU flag, after which a few harsh words followed.

“This is not the way one negotiates with the members of the EU parliament, regardless of what is one’s political involvement. This is not the way the symbols of the EU should be treated” Sarkozy added.

18 thousands signatures against Communist Party

The new petition which circulates the Czech Republic is a good one. So far, the ‘We do not want to get used to Communists’ petition starts to be renown. The organizers gained more than 18 thousands signatures under it during one month, which lists the petition among the biggest ‘signing hits’. It originated as a reaction on the outcome of regional elections, when to the region managements got the former leaders of the soviet era.

The Social Democracy, which won the regional election, do prop themselves upon communist support in many regions. The name of the petition comes from the quote of Jiri Parouberk, who stated that people should “get used” to comeback of Czech Communists to power. As a matter of fact, most of people still haven’t managed to deal with the crimes communist party did in the past.

Proposal of Solving Czech Gipsy Ghettos

Jiri Cunek brought another proposal of solving Gypsy ghetto situation in the Czech Republic, this time dividing the families into three groups, or classes.

The 1st Roma Category are, according to the conception, considered those families, who have paid taxes exemplary, from which at least one adult member has permanent employment, and their kids go to school regularly, without getting into serious troubles. As a reward, they would be promptly moved from a ghetto, gaining a year assistance of a social worker at the place of their new home.

The 2nd Roma category are those, who adult members are not unemployed longer than half a year, their kids go to school more or less regularly, and they do not owe too much on the rent. This class should, with the help of a social worker, get to gaining a new job, and returning at least a part of their debts.

The most strict regime would be implemented at the families in the third category, using houses with so called firm regime. After breaking the regulations of not using drugs and alcohol, exceeding noise limits or not paying the rent, they would be ejected from their accommodation. The all day assistance of a social worker should lead the family would be started towards regular life.

The problems are obvious – if a Gypsy family belongs to the first group, they probably don’t live in a ghetto anyway. The second group is the typical one, and the proposal doesn’t bring anything new. The third group – it is clear this means to eject a lot of Roma people from the ghettos. Where are they going to move them?

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News About Czech Chairmanship

When you open any Czech, and some of European, newspaper, they all talk about Czech chairmanship of the EU. And Czechs working by the Union start to work hard. It is not surprising, that they got an info they are going to wok on Sundays from January to June, full-stop. The parliamentaries awake and make interviews, what are their plans, informing, writing blogs.

The leader of Brussels branch of Financial Times Tony Barber mentions on his blog ‘wisdom’ of Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, praising his ‘sense of humor’. He is not alone – Karel Schwarzenberg enchanted many others, even foreign journalists start to call him ‘prince’ and they amuse themselves with his brisk comments and his ability to fall asleep during a boring press conference.

That other source of fun was brought by mode designers, who made the uniforms for lower officers around the event. The women are going to wear light blouses with many-coloured Czech EU chairmanship logo. Men will have a white shirt with a tie, again with printed colourful logos. It may look funny, but it least it isn’t boring.

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Lisbon Treaty Negotiations Now On Pause in CR

The Czech Parliament have agreed to discontinue the approving process of the Lisbon Treaty. The vice-foreign minister Zaoralek commented they did the maximum to pass it, however Mirek Topolanek commented that he is not able to get enough votes for constitutional majority. If there would be the vote, and it wouldn’t pass, it would be irreversible, meaning hard exposure for the Czech Republic.

The Prime Minister guaranteed, he is going to get enough votes at the first meeting of the Parliament in the upcoming year. On one hand, the government promised to ratify the treaty until the end of 2008, on the other hand they don’t want to blow it. Large part of the ODS, who still stand behind Klaus could vote against it, together with the communists. CSSD, The Greens and KDU-CSL would vote for.

The new Czech party already attracts rebels from ODS

And here it is. The Czech political scene is going to have a brand new, right-wing political party. “It is a question of days” says the close fellow-worker of Vaclav Klaus, Petr Mach. He has the ambition to be came the new party head. And, after the ODS congress ended, it seems that the foundation-stones are going to be mainly the dissatisfied ex-members of the ODS. Partly because of the president, who parted from the ODS, leaving many of his followers there, and openly stating support of the new subject. The new subject seems to have a lot of potential members – Mach says they are overwhelmed with mail of former and present members of the ODS, but also from other political parties and businessmen.

I just have to add – is the party gong to have enough voters, when half of the nation is dissatisfied with the right-win politics?

Klaus at Birth of a New Party

It is official – After Klaus lost at the ODS congress with his ideas about Lisbon treaty, the trend of moving more power from the hands of the president to the hands of the prime minister. Klaus loses his credibility by rocket speed, and he wants his influence back. So it is official: Klaus is going to be a godfather of a new political party.

Petr Mach is one of those who works on the ideas of the party right now. “Now it is clear, there will be a new party” says the 33 yo economist. Klaus’s co-workers have already addressed a few possible cooperators or potential members.

Clearly, some of the parliamentarians from the ODS who are dissatisfied with the pro-Europe direction of the ODS are going to join with the newly created subject. Mach has already indicated, by which the party should differentiate from the civic democrats – it shouldn’t be liable to environmentalist trends and it should speak against Lisbon Treaty and federalist activities in the EU.

ODS Congress – Go on Without Klaus, Bem

The results put simply: The angry president and founding father of the ODS left the party, the critique of the present lead and the ally of Klaus Pavel Bem lost as well, Mirek Topolanek was re-elected the ODS leader, and promised he is going to redeem himself.

The most visible change is the new vice-leader of the party, until now unknown 37-yo David Vodrážka, the Mayor of Prague 13. The Congress continued from Friday to Sunday, with the founder Klaus they grew apart definitely after 10 pm of the last day, when the party decided to support the Lisbon Treaty. That moves some state responsibilities to Brussels, which is something Klaus can’t come to terms with.

If we look at it closely, that wasn’t a battle of ideas, more like victory of reason. Even, when a part of the ODS don’t want Topolanek in the lead, they very well realize to change the leader, which is a prime minister at the same time, and to risk government fall in the moment the CR is going to Organize chairmanship of the EU. Topolanek won with 285/500 votes.

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ODS elects the new leader today

The congress of ODS starts today. Delegates vote for the new ODS leader, and choosing the final stance to the Lisbon treaty as well as to the lost elections. Those 500 ODS delegates are definitely going to think about what to do after the voters demonstrated they want less pro-reformist governmnet. At the occasion is going to appear even the honorary president Vaclav Klaus, who supports Pavel Bem and vice versa – if we look at Bem’s program, it looks like we would read Klaus’s declaration.

The two rivals have priorities, which they want to put through.

Mirek Topolanek
To keep the coalition government to the elections in 2010, but to modify it personally a bit.
To finish the health, pensioner and judicial reform
To continue in reducing company taxes
To lower the deficiency in state budget
To bind the parliamentaries to ratify Lisbon treaty

Pavel Bem
The coalition government have to demise, their operation is discreditable
To ask the president to nominate minority ODS government
To concentrate on early elections, which would be a referendum about the need of real reforms
To bind the parliamentarians and ODS senators to refuse the Lisbon treaty and to start negotiating about a new one.
To keep the original program of ODS (Klaus-wise)

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NATO stood behind the Czech Radar

The North Atlantic alliance have firmly stood behind the American Anti-rocket Umbrella in Europe. Ministers of 26 member countries of NATO in together final declaration stated, the defensive system in Poland and Czech Republic is going to be an essential benefit for the member countries security. At the same time, they appealed to Russia for more reserved attitude.

“We regard it to be a positive contribution for the future safetiness of our allies” is states the written declaration of the meeting. This is, among others, a clear proof, that those who see the Radar Base as a solely American action are wrong. The ministers have also appealed to Russia to step aside from “confrontation declarations” which could harm the collective relations. The alliance doesn’t like Russian declarations about spheres of influence and threats of rocket disposition in the area around Kaliningrad.

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Vaclav Klaus on the edge of popularity

The Verdict of the Czech Constitutional Court concerning the Lisbon treaty – it is not against the Czech constitution. The highly Euro-skeptic Klaus suffered a loss, and not a light one – all the 15 judges decided against Klaus and for European Union reformation. The judges have agreed that times change and notions with their explanations change as well. They put the Czech Republic into the context of the international politics development, they point out changes in words like sovereignty, they remind that it is not possible not to take notes of changes.

Lisbon treaty is good to go from the Czech Constitutional Court – now it goes to the parliament and to the senate. It won’t be easy, though, because Vaclav Klaus is going to fight, as he doesn’t want to live through another loss; he lost many times already last three months. Just to recall some: he became president only because back-stage machinations, the Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek openly argues with him, the government shows they have different opinion in key points, like Russia and Kosovo. Klaus steadily gets to the political isolation.

Klaus vs Lisbon

The Czech Constitutional Court has just decided that the Treaty of Lisbon does not collide with the Czech constitution. That means it can be ratified either by parliament, or by referendum. The latter option is not very likely at this moment, since all the major political actors, except the Communists, are in favour of the parliamentary way.

The court was asked by some ODS senators to examine the Treaty of Lisbon. The senators expressed their doubts about some of the treaty´s features, yet some of them are simply known to be anti- EU. Some suspect the senators of merely delaying the process of ratification. Unlike the government, they are more bound to the president than a wish for efficient cooperation with the EU member states. President Klaus seems increasingly unhappy with Czech EU membership and has recently called himself a dissident in the Union. It seems a bit awkward to call yourself a dissident while being a president of a republic, unrestricted in any way and with daily possibility to fill the media with your comments.

Read the whole article here

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