Czech officials react to EU report

The release on Wednesday of the European Commission's progress report, which ranks and analyses the preparedness of candidate countries for EU membership has met with mixed reactions from Czech politicians. The report placed the Czech Republic in a third group for membership, along with Slovenia, just after the second, comprising of Poland, Hungary and Estonia. Although the report noted that the Czech economy has improved and that progress has been made in adopting EU legislation, it made it clear that the EU has observed delays in industrial and banking sector restructuring, and that reform of the civil service and judicial system are necessary. Dita Asiedu spoke to political commentator Vaclav Zak and asked him whether he believed the report to be fair:

The Czech Republic's ranking behind Poland, Hungary, and Estonia has angered many Czech politicians. Foreign Minister Jan Kavan noted that he would take the issue up with the EC, whilst Minister of Industry and Trade Miroslav Gregr claims that it lacks objectivity. Czech Interior Minister Stanislav Gross stressed that many key reforms made by the ministry were not taken into account. We asked Mr. Zak to assess these reactions: The EU's commissioner for enlargement, Guenter Verheugen, has made it clear that if anyone is to blame for the Czech Republic's ranking, then that person would be former Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus, whose government failed to tackle economic issues that the Czech Republic now faces. We asked Mr. Zak whether he believed this statement to be true: Ever since the current Social Democrat government came to power in 1998, it has claimed that one of its main priorities is to prepare the country for EU membership. Is this claim true, and can they take any blame for the problems now facing the country's EU accession prospects? Vaclav Zak again: