Thursday

27th Apr 2017

New Czech government could herald U-turn on EU policy

  • Prague: Rusnok's government must ask the Czech parliament for a vote of confidence (Photo: pavelm)

The new Czech government sworn in earlier this month could alter the country's position on several EU topics.

In recent years, the Czech republic has been an ally of the United Kingdom in several high-profile political punch-ups in Brussels.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

For one, its previous government refused to join the "fiscal compact" on EU budget discipline.

The centre-right former PM, Petr Necas, was also opposed to taking the country into the euro and opposed to joining the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) on EU banks.

We all know what the former president, Vaclav Klaus, thought about the EU.

But the new centre-left government of PM Jiri Rusnok is very close to the country's new President, Milos Zeman, who advocates swift euro-adoption.

Rusnok's cabinet also contains several pro-EU ministers, at least when measured by Czech standards.

On top of this, Rusnok worked for the Dutch bank ING for several years, making him more sympathetic to the SSM.

A senior Czech official who knows him personally told this website: "He knows, that the integration of financial markets and banking is a reality in Europe."

The official gave similar opinion about the new finance minister, Jan Fischer.

Fischer headed the Czech caretaker government during the second half of the Czech EU presidency in 2009. Afterwards, he worked as the vice-president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

For its part, Vit Dostal, from the Czech think tank Association for International Affairs, agrees the new government will not see European issues from an ideological perspective, as was, in his opinion, often the case with the previous administration.

Dostal also highlighted the pro-EU credentials of the new foreign minister, Jan Kohout.

Kohout was the Czech ambassador to the EU and later served as a foreign minister in Fischer's technocratic government.

However, Dostal is sceptical the new government can achieve anything substantial in practice.

"They might not get the possibility to make their mark, as the EU will not be deciding on anything important until the formation of the new government in Germany after the [german] elections [in September]," he told this website.

Meanwhile, Rusnok's government must ask the Czech parliament for a vote of confidence in one month or so from now.

At this point in time, opposition parties are unwilling to give their support.

But the Czech political scene is full of speculation that President Zeman will find a way to make sure the new government stays in office even if loses the potential no-confidence vote.

Some analysts and politicians even predict Rusnok will remain PM until the next elections, which must be held by mid-2014.

Rusnok is thought to have already asked for a meeting with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso in Brussels.

It might be interesting for the top EU official to meet a Prime Minister who has not yet been endorsed by his own parliament.

Czechs abandon EU fiscal pact, for now

The new EU treaty on fiscal discipline will be signed by 25 instead of 26 member states after the Czech Republic joined the UK in staying out.

Czech PM mulls euro referendum

The ruling euro-sceptic ODS party in the Czech Republic wants to push for a referendum on the country's future eurozone accession, claiming that the rules have changed since 2003 when Czechs said yes to the EU and the euro.

Analysis

Orban set to face down EU threats

The European Commission and Parliament are to debate Hungary's slide into illiberal democracy. But the bloc continues to think that Hungarian leader Viktor Orban is not a systemic threat.

France still anxious over possibility of Le Pen win

Despite opinion polls that place centrist Macron well ahead of the far-right leader Le Pen in the 7 May presidential run-off, doubts are emerging about his capacity to unite the French people around his candidacy.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ECR GroupSyed Kamall: We Need a New, More Honest Relationship With Turkey
  2. ACCARisks and Opportunities of Blockchain and Shared Ledgers Technologies in Financial Services
  3. UNICEFRace Against Time to Save Millions of Lives in Yemen
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  5. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  6. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  7. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  8. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  9. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  10. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region and the US: A Time of Warlike Rhetoric and Militarisation?
  12. European Free AllianceEFA MEPs Vote in Favor of European Parliament's Brexit Mandate

Latest News

  1. Russische Fake-News überschwemmen die sozialen Medien Frankreichs
  2. EU agency stuck with London rent bill
  3. EU anti-fraud office ditches Martin Schulz probe
  4. Commission launches bid to make Europe social
  5. MEPs act to strip Le Pen of immunity in fake jobs case
  6. EU starts legal action against Hungary
  7. Brexit is about Europe's future as well
  8. Power struggle in Greenland: Three reasons why the EU should care