Influential former Czech President calls for EU exit, says EU doomed anyway
As scepticism grows across the European Union and debate thickens in Britain, former Czech President Vaclav Klaus says the EU is in any case doomed, like empires of the past, including communism
The architect of formerly communist Czechoslovakia's economic transition from communism has called for his country (now the Czech Republic) to quit the European Union.
One time finance minister, prime minister and president of the Czech Republic Vaclav Klaus made his appeal at the launch of his new book in Prague, the Czech capital. Mr. Klaus caused ructions within the EU during his time as a senior politician but he has rarely been so bold as to compare the European Union with his country's former imperial masters, including the Soviet Union.
The Czech news agency CTK quoted Mr. Klaus, the country's leading voice on the political centre-Right, as saying: "It would be a great victory for our country if they did not control us from Moscow, Vienna, Berlin or Brussels."
Echoing the views of eurosceptics in Britain, which is due to hold a referendum on quitting the EU in 2017, he said:
"Absolutely nothing", would happen if the Czechs gave up their EU membership," CTK reported. Mr. Klaus added, in remarks that will cause consternation in Brussels:
"The whole Europe will leave the EU sooner or later and it will leave (European Commission President) Jose Barroso and (European Council President Herman Van) Rompuy sitting alone in Brussels. And the continent would develop in a different way."
Vaclav Klaus is among the last of the generation of political intellectuals that inaugurated and then saw through the transition from Communism to Capitalism. He is an avowed supporter of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
He is also a professor of economics, and he is regarded in Brussels as a trouble maker, a description which he openly acknowledges. His book has not yet been translated into English.
His remarks will cheer eurosceptics in Britain.
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