Czech press survey - June 24


24.06.2014 08:13

Prague - Czech President Milos Zeman has again confirmed his fascination with experts and his elitist view of politics by his effort to cancel the practice of "political deputy ministers" from other coalition parties, Miroslav Korecky writes in Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) today.


Ilustrační foto - Prezident Miloš Zeman. ČTK Eret Petr

Zeman would therefore like to push through the strictest possible version of the civil service bill, which would end the common practice of the government parties sending their "watchdogs" to the ministries that are headed by other coalition partners, Korecky says.

Zeman also claims that ministers should be mainly experts in the respective field.

However, Korecky says, the core of democratic politics is different in any case. The health minister is not to be the best physician in the country since he will not be "the minister of physicians, but of all citizens."

"A minister should be a professional politician with broad knowledge who is able to manage his office and at the same time to co-decide about tax on cigarettes, state secondary-school leaving exams and the stance on the developments in Ukraine in the government," Korecky writes.

It is praiseworthy that Czech President Milos Zeman will finally award former Soviet dissident Natalya Gorbanevskaya, who protested against the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, but he should have done it earlier when she was alive, Jana Bendova writes elsewhere in Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD.)

Gorbanevskaya, who died in November 2013, will receive a Czech state decoration in memoriam, Bendova adds.

She recalls that Gorbanevskaya was one of the "Magnificent Eight" dissidents who staged a protest against the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia, which crashed the Communist-led reform process, on Red Square in Moscow in late August 1968.

This act required an immense courage. Therefore she absolutely deserved an award for it, Bendova says.

A Czech senator proposed a decoration for her last year but the Prague Castle (the Presidential Office) objected that it would no manage it then. And it did not - as she died at the end of last year, Bendova adds.

Let us hope that Prague Castle will act more quickly in the case of the 105-year-old British Sir Nicholas Winton, who saved hundreds of Czech Jewish children before WWII, Bendova writes.

After all, the president can decorate foreigners anytime and anywhere, she points out.

"Solidarity is not a priority task of the state but of us," Petr Kambersky writes in daily Lidove noviny (LN) today, commenting on asylum seekers´ problems with pensions.

He says the Czech Republic is a "socially sensitive country" where asylum seekers have the right to the same health care as Czech citizens. However, old-age pension is not the same as antibiotics or an appendix surgery since it depends on how long and how much people have paid to the social insurance system.

The asylum seekers who are not entitled to pension have the right to the subsistence level in the Czech Republic at least, Kambersky recalls.

It would be generous to look after asylum seekers with dignity and most of them would deserve it. But the state is primarily responsible for its own citizens, Kambersky notes.

Not the state but their more successful fellow countrymen can help refugees - or "the others of us who are not indifferent to the fate of the old Sudanese and Chechens," Kambersky concludes.

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