Czech MEP: European conservatives would prefer Romney at White House

Mitt Romney, photo: CTK

Czech MEP Jan Zahradil will appear at the US Republican Party convention in Tampa Bay, Florida, later this week. The convention will formally nominate Mitt Romney as the party’s presidential candidate, and Mr Zahradil, who is a deputy chair of a conservative group in the European Parliament, says conservatives would welcome Mitt Romney’s becoming the next US president. Jan Zahradil will appear at a panel entitled Hey America, Don’t Take This Road. RP spoke to the Czech MEP and asked him what his message to the Republican delegates will be.

Mitt Romney,  photo: CTK
“We decided to deliver a message to the delegates of the convention and describe our view on what’s going on Europe, on what the real roots of the single currency crisis are, where the bottlenecks and blind alleys are of European integration, and we want to present a realistic approach to the process.

“We think there is a lot of misunderstanding in the US; we can always hear from the State Department that they are very much in favour of a united Europe speaking with one voice. But we want to deliver a different message. We want to show it’s not that easy and that European integration has its problems, too. I hope it will be interesting for the delegates and visitors who will be able to hear a different voice, a voice of dissent let’s says, from what they usually hear from Europe.”

Jan Zahradil
Would your group, the European conservatives, prefer the election of Mitt Romney to a second term of Barack Obama?

“Well, it is of course no secret that we keep our fingers crossed for Mr Romney. If not for anything else, it’s because we share with the Republican Party the same international organization which is the International Democrat Union.

“But that’s not the only reason we think Republic administrations traditionally put more emphasis on the agenda that is also very close to us, like lower taxes, de-bureaucratization, de-regulation and also a more active role of the US in the world which is something we always welcome.”

Some people here complain that Eastern European nations like Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and others have been marginalized by the Obama administration. How do you think the US policy towards the region would change?

Barack Obama,  photo: Štěpánka Budková
“I hope it will change. I don’t want to slam the administration of President Obama but it’s true that during his presidency, a major and in my view the most important strategic project – the anti-missile defence that was to be shared by the US, the Czech Republic and Poland – was cancelled. I think that was a big mistake because that would have had a great impact on the position of the Czech Republic. So I hope that the potential Romney administration will able to adopt a more realistic approach and will talk to its Central European allies more actively than the current administration.”