Czech president bashes EU leaders, economic policy

Earth Times (Link) (July 24, 2009)

Czech President Vaclav Klaus, an outspoken critic of the European Union, slammed Friday the bloc's leaders as well as its planned policies aimed at preventing future financial crises. In a newspaper interview published Friday, Klaus said top EU leaders had frustrated him during the EU summits under his charge during the Czech Republic's recent rotating half-year EU presidency.

"When I sit there next to Mr (Jose Manuel) Barroso, (Javier) Solana and other gentlemen, it totally drives me crazy (to hear) what they say," the Lidove Noviny daily cited him as saying.

"These are empty phrases prepared by their advisors. These are sentences that do not tie one with another, the jargon of international politics that lacks substance," said Klaus, who chaired top-level EU meetings with Japan, South Korea, China and Russia.

The president also wrote in an opinion piece for Hospodarske Noviny daily that the EU has abused the global economic woes in order to seize control of the members' economic policy.

He said that planned EU-wide regulatory bodies, the European Systematic Risk Board and the European System of Financial Supervisors, would weaken national financial regulation and economic policy.

"This so-called new model of European financial supervision covertly aims to centralize economic policy of the member states, and that behind the backs of their executive and legislative bodies, outside the framework of agreements, the European Commission or the European Parliament," he wrote.

In the Lidove Noviny interview, Klaus also said German Chancellor Angela Merkel could not be moved by "some male charm" and he questioned whether she had "really" experienced what life was like under communism.

Merkel, then a scientist, had lived in communist East Germany before the country's reunification in 1990.

"I tried to (show) her that we understand each other after all. We are the only ones who lived under communism, so we can tell the phoniness of this sham Europeanism," Klaus said, recalling their conversation on the failed European Constitution. "She did not take the bait, I have to admit."

"I am not sure whether she had really experienced communism," he continued. "Whether - on one hand a parish and on the other hand a chemical institute - there (was) not some sort of immunization."

He also said that Merkel, unlike former British premier Margaret Thatcher, has not followed "an ideological compass" in politics.