Czech press survey - March 14


14.03.2014 08:35

Prague - Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka´s (Social Democrats, CSSD) approach to the EU profoundly differs from that of his predecessor Petr Necas (Civic Democrats, ODS), which Sobotka´s current official visit to Germany has confirmed, Petr Janousek writes in Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) today.


Německá kancléřka Angela Merkelová a český premiér Bohuslav Sobotka na tiskové konferenci po berlínském jednání. ČTK/AP Markus Schreiber

Necas, together with Britain´s David Cameron, ostentatiously used a train to go to an EU summit that was to discuss budget responsibility. In doing so, he confirmed his siding with the Atlantic wing of the Czech politics, Janousek writes.

Sobotka´s government, on its part, wants to move the Czech Republic to the centre of European integration. Sobotka no longer wants Prague to be viewed as the EU´s disobedient child, Janousek writes.

Sobotka´s current German trip means a reset of bilateral relations. The Czech Republic cannot stay in opposition to Berlin for long, also for the sake of the distribution of EU subsidies, Janousek says.

Germany is a good and stable partner. That is why it is actually good that Sobotka´s ongoing German visit is rather boring, as bilateral visits between leaders of befriended countries usually are, Janousek concludes.

The newly formed team of PM Bohuslav Sobotka´s (Social Democrats, CSSD) advisers will not only supply Sobotka with ideas and plans, but also offer strategies, or strategic thinking, which the Czech political scene has lacked so far, Petr Fischer writes in Hospodarske noviny (HN).

This will be guaranteed by the team´s head, former CSSD prime minister Vladimir Spidla, who has never viewed a politician´s work as a mere effort to be re-elected, but considers it a search for ways to improve the life of society, Fischer writes.

The problem is that Spidla´s visionary style failed when he was prime minister in 2002-2004, Fischer says, alluding to Spidla´s early resignation halfway through his term of office.

At the time, his CSSD did not understand him because the other CSSD leaders viewed politics through purely pragmatic and selfish lenses, Fischer writes.

This has changed in the meantime. Neither Sobotka nor other ministers for the CSSD, such as Jiri Dienstbier, Lubomir Zaoralek, Jan Mladek and Michaela Marksova Tominova want to gain the reputation of politicians who changed nothing and pushed through no crucial plans, Fischer writes.

All of them can also benefit from the visions produced by the Sobotka´s team of advisers, which comprises respectable personalities who are genuine experts in their respective fields, Fischer concludes.

Former Czech president Vaclav Klaus, his aides in the Vaclav Klaus Institute and also the Prague Archbishopric may be grinding their teeth in reaction to the news that the Templeton Prize has gone to Czech Catholic Priest Tomas Halik, Petr Kambersky writes in Lidove noviny (LN).

As the prestigious prize´s fresh holder, Halik has joined its previous winners, great personalities such as South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Taize founder Brother Roger, physicist Paul Davies and others, Kambersky writes.

It will be interesting to see how Halik´s success will be approached by Czech Christians, by promoters of Vaclav Havel´s legacy and by Halik himself, Kambersky writes.

Halik seems to enjoy a bigger authority outside the Catholic Church than inside, which is why his fame raises the embarrassment of Prague Archbishopric´s dignitaries, Kambersky writes.

As a Templeton Prize winner, Halik has become the supreme priest of "the truth and love" (a motto linked to the late Havel). It will be interested to see the Vaclav Havel Library´s reaction to this, Kambersky says.

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