Civic Democrats team up with UK Tories for new anti-federalist EP platform
Civic Democrat leader Mirek Topolanek may be deeply embroiled in talks on forming a new government, but he still found time this week for a major international political initiative - the founding of a new faction in the European Parliament. The Civic Democrats met Britain's Conservatives in London on Thursday, and agreed to leave the European People's Party in 2009 and form a new alliance called the Movement for European Reform. Attending the talks was the Civic Democrat MEP Jan Zahradil.
You're looking a bit lonely though aren't you? The Conservatives have 27 MEPS, the Civic Democrats have nine. Not very many, is it?
"This is one of the reasons we decided to prepare the whole project properly. We decided to start with it later, because we want to work with well-defined, well-established, real political forces, democratic parties. It's necessary to work on that, and spend some time on defining structures and programmes and platforms."
So what will be the priorities of the Movement for European Reform?
Right, but there is something of a paradox here isn't there? Senior Civic Democrat officials like yourself often describe themselves as Eurosceptics, and you certainly sound like Eurosceptics, yet most of the people who vote for the Civic Democrats are actually in favour of European integration.
"I think this might be a kind of misunderstanding. No-one in the Civic Democrat Party is against European integration. We joined the European Union because we wanted to be part of a successful project. I think there is no contradiction. The problem is that there are some politicians in the European political spectrum who in fact monopolise European thinking and who are trying to present themselves as the only defenders of European values and European integration, and they tend to label all the others as Euro-sceptic. Which is the wrong attitude, because you can have more than one approach to the European future than the federalist one."