Prague - Czech Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) humiliated PM Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) by pushing through his own variant of agreement with the Paskov coal mine´s owner on the unprofitable mine´s further operation, Martin Zverina writes in daily Lidove noviny (LN) today.
Compared with the variant promoted by Sobotka, Babis´s one counts with almost a half lower state subsidy and the mine´s one-year longer operation, which is more advantageous for both the state and the region concerned, Zverina writes.
Even the staunchest Social Democrats can but recognise that Babis has dealt a political blow to Sobotka, he adds.
However, it is not good if Babis struck similar agreements without sharing the plan with Industry and Trade Minister [Jan Mladek, CSSD] who is responsible for coal mining, Zverina continues.
If Babis wants to act "above" all ministers, he should have a majority in the cabinet or become prime minister himself, if possible. He should not exercise power without being accountable, as this is at variance with democracy, Zverina writes.
The agreement on a limited extension of the Paskov mine´s operation, which Finance Minister Andrej Babis´s (ANO) reached with the owner, NWR, on Monday, is a compromise that shows realistic positions on the part of both the state and NWR, Petr Honzejk writes in Hospodarske noviny (HN).
One may ask what happened that made Babis change his mind abruptly and declare the 600-million-crown subsidy to Paskov a good business though he resolutely refused to spend a single crown on it last week, Honzejk writes.
Nevertheless, the final compromise reflects his and NWR social responsibility as it will help not only the miners and their families but the whole Ostrava region, north Moravia, Honzejk says.
It is up to Babis to introduce the agreed-upon scenario in practice. As a result of the Monday deal, Bohuslav Sobotka´s (Social Democrats, CSSD) authority as prime minister has further diminished, Honzejk writes.
It is not known what helped Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) solve the problem of the Paskov mine so easily and all of a sudden on Monday, but the deal extending the mine´s operation has definitely pleased the miners and ANO´s voter preferences may go up as a result, Alexandr Mitrofanov writes in Pravo.
Babis, in addition, has nothing against Labour and Social Affairs Minister Michaela Marksova´s (Social Democrats, CSSD) plan for the government to raise pensions. This, too, can boost his and ANO´s popularity, though Babis would have neither raised pensions nor nodded to the Paskov mine´s further operation if he had not been urged to do so by the senior ruling CSSD, Mitrofanov writes.
It is a matter of political skills that Babis may benefit from the steps more than CSSD chairman and Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, Mitrofanov says.
Babis, nevertheless, still refuses to yield to the CSSD´s demand that the state financially support the health sector by raising the health insurance fees it pays for selected groups of population, Mitrofanov recalls.