Czech press survey - July 12


12.07.2014 13:30

Prague - MEP Jan Zahradil "heads" a two-member representation of the Czech Eurosceptic Civic Democratic Party (ODS) in the EP, but he feels self-confident enough to challenge the election-winning EPP´s right to fill the seat of EC president, Jan Keller writes in daily Pravo today.


Europoslanec za ODS Jan Zahradil. ČTK Doležal Michal

Keller, a sociologist and newspaper commentator, was elected a MEP for the Czech Social Democrats (CSSD) in the May polls.

The European socialists face an easy choice before the EP´s Tuesday vote on the new EC president. If they support Jean-Claude Juncker (EPP), they risk to see him not fulfil the promises he has given to them, Keller writes.

If the socialists did not back Juncker, he would not be elected. In retaliation, the EPP would sink a possible candidate fielded by the socialists, Keller writes.

This would provide space to various groups that are striving to dismantle the EU using its money. These groups include Zahradil´s ODS, which speaks on behalf of slightly over one percent of the Czech electorate, in view of its May election result, Keller writes.

Chaos would break out as a desired triumph of the ultra-right stream, in whose hands Zahradil and his colleagues [in the Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists (AECR] are playing, Keller writes.

The socialists will solve the dilemma by submitting further, concrete demands to Juncker before the key vote, and requiring guarantees for their fulfilment, he adds.

There would be nothing wrong about it if the Czech Financial Office checked the tax discipline of double Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova, but it should not do so based on populist waves of people´s envy, Martin Zverina writes in Lidove noviny (LN).

He reacts to Social Democrat (CSSD) lawmaker Stanislav Huml who challenged the fact that Kvitova has chosen Monaco as her place of residence and that she does not pay income tax in the Czech Republic.

The largest tax evasion is usually inconspicuous, hiding behind postal boxes in tax paradises whose owners remain in anonymity. Similarly, this applies to the entrepreneurs who present their firms as loss-making but they still live luxurious lives, Zverina says.

However, indignation about such people cannot be voiced as comfortably as about Kvitova, a popular celebrity whose incomes have been publicly known, Zverina writes.

The Financial Office should be "merciless" and able to wring out the highest possible taxes from taxpayers. However, let´s not believe that any concrete profession can be "enslaved" and tied with a concrete state. Any such attempt would fail, followed by the "defection of further hunted taxpayers," Zverina concludes.

Commenting on the same issue, Pravo´s commentator Jiri Pehe says the public´s indignation at Kvitova as an alleged tax evader amounts to hypocrisy.

In fact over 13,000 Czech firms are seated in tax paradises, according to the latest data. More than 300 billion crowns have been transferred by foreign companies, whose branches operate in the Czech Republic, to the accounts of their mother companies abroad, Pehe writes.

In the global dimension, over 33 billion dollars end in tax paradises. This is an equivalent of more than 600 billion crowns, six times the annual Czech national budget, Pehe points out.

This problem can only be solved by forming globally functioning political structures that would prevent the existence of tax paradises and create clear rules for tax collection and for untaxed leak of dividends across the border, Pehe writes.

This will not happen soon. Maybe it will never happen. As a result, the national states will continue to face waves of hypocrisy such as the current Czech one related to Kvitova, Pehe adds.

($1=20.184 crowns)

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