Czech press survey - July 15


15.07.2014 07:44

Prague - The struggle for Afghanistan starts in Prague, Daniel Anyz writes in daily Hospodarske noviny (HN) today.


Vojenský speciál přepravil 10. července do Česka ostatky čtyř českých vojáků, kteří zahynuli v Afghánistánu při útoku sebevražedného atentátníka nedaleko základny Bagrám. Na snímku vojáci na letišti v Praze-Kbelích stojí čestnou stráž u rakví. ČTK Krumphanzl Michal

Czechs have received bad news from Afghanistan. Last week´s attack of a suicide bomber claimed the lives of five Czech troops serving in Afghanistan, and another Czech soldier was wounded there on Sunday, Anyz recalls.

He says Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka is in a difficult situation when supporting the Afghan mission. He confirmed that the Czech participation in it is part of the country´s commitments ensuing from its NATO membership and Czech troops would stay in the allied mission in 2015-16.

However, Anyz adds, the parliament will decide on the continuation of the Czech mission in Afghanistan in the autumn.

Sobotka need not fear the right-wing opposition´s stance since both the Civic Democrats (ODS) and TOP 09 said they would support the mission. But he might face problems in his government coalition.

The position of ANO chairman Andrej Babis is uncertain, especially if public opinion were against Czechs´ deployment in Afghanistan, Anyz notes.

He says Sobotka cannot rely on his own party, the Social Democrats (CSSD), either as a number of CSSD MPs do not share his view of Afghanistan.

"Prime Minister Sobotka may get an opportunity to confirm his words about the allied commitments of the Czech Republic in a fight - with his own party," Anyz concludes.

Czech deputies face a fundamental "battle for the state," Miroslav Korecky writes in Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) today, commenting on the upcoming extraordinary session of the Chamber of Deputies to deal with the civil service bill.

The bill is to depoliticise the state administration. However, hardly anyone wants to fully do so except for "the last of the just," Human Rights Minister Jiri Dienstbier (Social Democrats, CSSD), who is unfortunately in charge of the legislation, Korecky says.

It is generally anticipated that the arbitrary behaviour of politicians is a lesser evil than that of clerks who cannot be replaced in elections, Korecky writes. He indicates that the current amendment to the civil service bill, if passed, would introduce such an arbitrary rule of civil servants.

Under such circumstances, it is appalling that the legislation is being debated so hastily without taking its articles´ real impact into consideration, Korecky says.

PM Bohuslav Sobotka argues that the civil service bill must be approved as quickly as possible, since without it the Czech Republic would have no access to EU subsidies as of January.

However, in view of the nonsensical projects on which they are spent, it would be better if Czechs lost them since now something more serious is at stake, Korecky concludes.

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka intentionally distances himself from the steps taken by Deputy PM and Finance Minister Andrej Babis and refuses to "give any guarantees" for them, Lukas Jelinek writes in Pravo today, referring to the clashes between Sobotka´s Social Democrats (CSSD) and Babis´s ANO.

Sobotka has left the criticised line-ups of the supervisory boards of state firms fully up to Babis as head of the Finance Ministry, for instance, Jelinek recalls.

It is namely more advantageous for the CSSD if Babis, who enjoys a high popularity, and his people gradually disgrace themselves in the executive during the four-year term than making him leave the coalition government, which may fall consequently, and winning the reputation of a martyr, Jelinek points out.

There is a question whether the public will understand this strategy, he adds.

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