Prague - Former president Vaclav Klaus (2003-2013) told CTK today he had voted against the Czech Republic's EU accession in the referendum on it, held in 2003.
Bývalý prezident Václav Klaus poskytl 16. dubna v Praze rozhovor ČTK u příležitosti 10. výročí vstupu České republiky do Evropské unie. ČTK Doležal Michal
The Czech Republic joined the EU on May 1, 2004.
As Klaus is a well-known Eurosceptic, there has long been speculation about his vote. Briefly before the referendum was held, he signed the Czech Republic's accession treaty.
As prime minister (1993-1998), he officially submitted the Czech Republic's application for EU entry in January 1996.
He said despite many reservations about the current form of the EU, he did not regret the step.
"First, I think that in its correct, rightful effort at becoming a standard European country, the Czech Republic had to follow the European mainstream in the 1990s," Klaus said.
He said it had been mentioned in the debate that avoiding the European mainstream would have meant a desire to follow Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic.
Klaus said at that time he already had doubts about the EU.
"I have always had some doubts and I say publicly that in the 2003 referendum on EU accession I voted no, which is a different matter," Klaus said.
He signed the EU accession treaty at the EU summit in Athens in April 2003.
Klaus said after the first integration period, during which it tried to liberalise itself, the EU had strayed from its path and now it was heading towards unification and centralisation.
He said in this respect, the turning point had been the Lisbon Treaty, after which the EU stopped being a Europe of state, becoming a European of provinces or governorates.
Klaus also signed the Lisbon Treaty, but he had an opt-out inserted it.