Czech leaders say "Grexit" now looms large
Politicians across the Czech political spectrum have been reacting to Sunday’s resounding 61 percent rejection by Greek voters of a bailout package put forth by the country’s creditors. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said that with Sunday’s “no” vote, Greece has chosen the least favourable path — for itself, and for all of Europe.
Finance Minister and Deputy PM Andrej Babiš also reacted to the vote, telling ČTK that given its weak economy, Greece should never have been allowed to enter the eurozone in the first place. Babiš argued that as far back as five years ago, it was clear that Greece was going to be unable to repay its growing debts, and added that a significant part of the country’s debts would now likely have to be written-off.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the opposition Civic Democrats, Petr Fiala, accused the European Union of wasting 240 billion euros in pursuit of what he termed the “political dogma” of closer European integration. He also said the current crisis served as a warning to the Czech Republic against “irresponsible socialist policies”. The party’s deputy chair, Jan Zahradil, echoed this eurosceptical stance, calling on the EU to ready itself to permit Greece to leave the eurozone.
Meanwhile, former finance minister and TOP 09 chairman Miroslav Kalousek told reporters that while difficult to predict, he believed the most likely outcome was that Greece would now leave the eurozone.
The Greek crisis is also making headline news in the Czech press. The daily Mladá fronta dnes carried the headline on Tuesday “Greeks reject the euro”. iDnes.cz commentator Vladimír Votápek argued that while the Greek government was understandably defending its interests, it should not be surprised that its creditors are doing the same. While in Hospodářské noviny, commentator David Klimeš argued that Greece lacks the necessary political leadership to guide it from its current crisis. On the other side of the political equation, Deník Referendum commentator Ondřej Vaculík noted that a country that had given the world such Greek tragedies as Aeschylus, Euripides and Sophocles requires greater European solidarity. If every European contributed 10 euros, he argued, Greece might stand a chance of returning to its former glories.