As you will be aware, earlier this week the Czech Republic joined the UK in not signing the EU fiscal compact. This was a decision made by the Prime Minister, Petr Necas, most likely under pressure from elements within his own party, the Civic Democrats (ODS). Necas’ decision has caused a major rift within his centre-right government, attracting sharp public criticism from foreign minister Karl Schwarzenberg, and leader of TOP 09, a junior partner in the coalition. The Social Democrats, our sister party, have criticized Necas’ move as being counter to the interests of the Czech Republic, and drawing attention to the fact that the Prime Minister had previously stated that he had no problems with the agreement that was reached by EU leaders in December. The Prime Minister was praised by members of his own party, and by the Czech Republic’s Eurosceptic president Vaclav Klaus. The acrimonious nature of the rift within the coalition may well lead to it’s early demise, which would in turn lead to a period of uncertainty. I will keep you posted on developments.
I have tried to summarize the situation as briefly as possible, but do let me know if you have any questions.
All the best,
PS The following links might be of interest:
1) A press release yesterday by the Social Democrats’ Foreign Affairs spokesman Lubomir Zaoralek: http://www.cssd.cz/en/media/press-releases/we-demand-a-change-in-the-stance-of-the-czech-republic-on-the-eu-fiscal-treaty-we-do-not-want-to-be-on-the-outside-of-the-euro-zone-looking-in/
2) For those more interested in a detailed account of the impact of the fiscal compact on the Czech coalition, here’s a piece I wrote for the Foreign Policy Centre in December: http://fpc.org.uk/articles/536