Prague - The new Czech coalition government of Social Democrat (CSSD) chairman Bohuslav Sobotka is like a dud cheque: it wants to pay an expensive social programme wile money to fund it merely exists in the notion of Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) that he will save the needed hundreds of billions of crowns, Jiri Hanak writes in daily Pravo today.
Zleva předseda ANO Andrej Babiš a předseda ČSSD Bohuslav Sobotka 6. ledna v Praze na tiskové konferenci po podpisu koaliční smlouvy. ČTK Doležal Michal
However, Babis immediately reacted with a "no" to the new ministers´ announcement that they want to raise the salaries of police, firefighters, or teachers, Hanak writes.
Does this mean that the policy pursued by former finance minister Miroslav Kalousek (TOP 09), notorious for budgetary cuts, will be also carried out by the new government? Hanak asks and adds that this would be the end of this team.
Will "Mr No" save a couple of billions by the year´s end at least. This would require a miracle. If not, tax progression will be tabled, but will businessman Babis agree with it? This again would require a miracle, Hanak writes
Will those who were humiliated, offended and impoverished by the centre-right government of Petr Necas (Civic Democrats, ODS) be ready to peacefully wait for the miracles? Hanak asks.
Bohuslav Sobotka´s government is going to destroy one clumsy attempt by former Necas´s government to reform the pension system that is threatened with the demographic development, but it is unable to offer an operable alternative, Pavel Paral writes in Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD).
This will further extend the time of waiting for a genuine reform that can only be carried out by a government that will not talk about a functioning state without having any idea of how long it takes to build a well functioning state, Paral writes.
More time is needed than one election term for this. It already seems like waiting for Godot, but some government will eventually have to deal with the situation, Paral writes.
He writes that the longer a real reform is adjourned, the more painful and costly it will be for all the concerned, that is both the active generation and seniors who will probably be living on charity by then, Paral writes.
Russia like any other big player (the United States or China, for instance) will always try to abuse the specific construction of the European Union to their benefit, political scientist Michael Romancov writes in Lidove noviny (LN) and adds that the best way of coping with this is to strengthen mutual trust and promote integration.
Unless the Czech Republic and the whole Central Europe are to become a buffer zone between Russia and "Brussels" in the better case, or a part of Euro-Asian integration in the worse one, they should actively strive for averting this, Romancov writes.
At home every country can best contribute to this goal with combating extremism and xenophobia that are represented in the Czech Republic by such individuals as Dawn of Direct Democracy chairman Tomio Okamura, Communist Miroslav Grebenicek or former president Vaclav Klaus, Romancov writes.