What will happen with Czech EU presidency?

Other News Materials 26 March 2009 11:35 (UTC +04:00)

RIA Novosti political commentator Andrei Fedyashi
In the late hours of March 24, the Czech opposition toppled its own government, and created a crisis at home and a difficult situation in the European Union (EU), where the republic holds the rotating presidency.

With a razor-thin lead - 101 (there are 200 MPs in parliament) the Mirek Topolanek cabinet received a vote of no confidence. The unforgettable Schweik would say that "in such difficult financial times, it is not surprising that governments are falling down." However, the financial and economic crisis is far from being the only problem.

Explaining the reasons for this event, European analysts are emphasizing the economic mistakes of Topolanek's cabinet without mentioning another important reason. Czechs were displeased with how simply the cabinet tried to address the issue of placing certain elements of a new U.S. missile defense system on Czech territory. The fact that now this question has been suspended did not help Topolanek.

Up to 70% of Czechs were against this deployment. They believed with good reason that Russia will have the right to take countermeasures that would not enhance Czech security. This discontent reflected on the alignment of forces in parliament. MPs who sided with the opposition were among those who opposed the deployment of a radar near Prague.

Be it as it may, but today, on March 25, or tomorrow Topolanek's ruling right-center Civil Democratic Party and Social Democratic leaders that toppled down its government will start consultations with President Vaclav Klaus.

He will have to decide what to do about the government. On the one hand, he has to accept its resignation by the Constitution. On the other hand, the Constitution does not fix any terms for early elections, and much will depend on the parties. Klaus does not have many options. He will either have to announce early elections, or persuade all sides to form a cabinet on the basis of "political consensus" and continue to perform sluggishly. Maybe, it will manage to survive until the next parliamentary elections. Topolanek insists on the latter option.

Resignation of the Czech government would not have been a big deal for Europe. Recently, Czech policy has become quite unpredictable or, to use the current stock market cliche, very "volatile." The Czech EU presidency has put Prague's domestic problems on a large European scale.  

Brussels does not conceal that it would be best if Czechs could come to terms, form a cabinet from all parties, and keep going until June 30, when the Czech EU presidency expires.

By and large, the rotating EU presidency is not such a high position. It is more of an honorable position of a coordinator of the already appointed events. It is true, that the presiding country can strongly influence priorities of the EU's six-month agenda. However, this will happen if these priorities are suggested or accepted by the old members - Germany, France, Britain, or Italy. In any event, the European Commission is in charge of the EU.  

The problem with the Czech EU presidency would not have been a big deal if it were not for the financial and economic crisis, and all of its bad political components. Europeans never liked Brussels bureaucracy. Many European dissidents are now making their compatriots ponder over a rhetorical question - why do they need such bloated bureaucracy that has missed an enormous financial and economic crisis? Isn't it time to restructure the EU, which is unable to overcome the crisis?

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of Trend .