Czech opposition seeks to draw closer to liberal allies and revive euro adoption
The Czech Republic is expected to strengthen ties with the more liberal members of the European Union and take steps towards the adoption of the euro, opposition Pirate Party chairman Ivan Bartos said on Friday before legislative elections next month. Bartos, 41, a dreadlocked software engineer, wants the country to weaken its ties to some extent with its partners in the Visegrad Four (V4) group, Hungary and Poland due to their democratic failures and is looking for alternative alliances.
“The Czech Republic should aim for liberal Western Europe,” Bartos told Reuters in an interview. He said he appreciated the benefits of cooperation in culture, education and transport of being in the V4, which also includes Slovakia.
However, “in the European context, you don’t want to be in a group of countries where the interests of (Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor) Orban prevail, with authoritarian tendencies, where human rights are violated, where people are harassed for a different sexual orientation, in Hungary and Poland, “he said. The Pirate Party has been in parliament since 2017, focusing on transparency, direct democracy, e-government or legalization cannabis, and describes himself as liberal-progressive.
He has frequently clashed with Prime Minister Andrej Babis, whom he accuses of putting personal business interests ahead of the country. The pirates’ European views distinguish them from Babis, who militates in defense of the sovereignty of Brussels and maintains friendly relations with Orban.
He is part of a coalition with the centrist party STAN as one of two opposition groups hoping to overthrow Babis in the October 8-9 elections. The Pirates / STAN coalition topped the polls in the spring when the government came under fire for its handling of the pandemic.
It has since fallen to third place, behind Babis’ populist ANO party and center-right opposition coalition SPOLU (Ensemble), but Bartos said he believed the party had taken the leap and would be the partner. the strongest of a new administration. He said a hacker-led government should revive euro adoption plans, abandoned after the 2008 financial crisis, by joining the European Exchange Mechanism (ERM-2), a waiting room where a country must stay for at least two years while keeping its currency stable and its budget deficit and public debt under control.
“The commitment is to get (budget deficit) less than 3%, meet the Maastricht criteria (for the adoption of the euro) and enter ERM-2,” he said. . Such a move would be a hard sell for the Eurosceptic Civic Democrats who lead the Ensemble coalition.
Bartos said his party would consider a bidding process for a new block at CEZ’s Dukovany nuclear power plant (CEZP.PR), which the government plans to open after the elections. “This includes a price cap and the involvement of Czech industry as well as research,” he said, adding that China and Russia would remain excluded for security reasons.
(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)