Brexit likely to delay Czech adoption of European currency, says Industry and Trade Minister

Jan Mládek, photo: CTK

Prior to the Czech Republic’s joining the European Union in 2004, the country committed to adopting the European currency. But since, the timeframe has since been pushed back, with estimates suggesting the Czechs would not adopt the euro any time before 2020. The Brexit, Great Britain’s decision last week to withdraw from the bloc, may push back adoption even further.

Photo: Filip Jandourek
Czech adoption of the euro is something which not that long ago was pushed with some determination by the country’s president and somewhat more cautiously by the government. The question now for the Czech Republic is how to keep adoption in its sights or whether it will be pushed back following the earthquake that is the Brexit. Some analysts are without a doubt delay will be the outcome but others argue that with increased roles for Germany and France following the UK’s departure, it will be important than ever for the Czech Republic to join the Eurozone. Former foreign minister Cyril Svoboda told Czech Radio the country would well to get on board sooner than later.

“I think that the proper reaction to Brexit is to join the Eurozone and to strengthen the European Union, because – in my view – the bloc will return to its six founding members, the Benelux, Italy, France, and Germany. It will be a call for other member states to join the hard core or instead to orbit just outside, which is dangerous for the Czech Republic. What is important is for us to find a joint-route with the six founding members.”

Radek Špicar, vice president of the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic, agrees that the Czechs should seize the opportunity presented.

“I am afraid that Brexit will see the Eurozone now strengthen and that the European ‘motor’, and by that I above all mean the German and French alliance, will now be more active and will decide on the new direction of European integration. I think that it would not be in the Czech Republic’s favour to not be there, that means together with the hard core which includes the Eurozone.”

Jan Mládek,  photo: CTK
Others are not so optimistic the Czech Republic position itself so quickly, saying that Brexit will – or should – push adoption of the euro back. Communist Party leader Vojtěch Filip told Czech Radio that he was against the country speeding up entry to the Eurozone even if all criteria were met, suggesting the matter needed to be viewed through the prism of national interests. Some are taking the view that for the moment the EU faces such an array of issues in the wake of Brexit, euro adoption is not of the first order; Industry and Trade Minister Jan Mládek:

“It means another delay of the Czech adoption of the currency because the rest of the bloc is now discussing many other problems and will not be discussing the enlargement of the Eurozone.”