Czechs must choose Lisbon or Russia, says PM Topolánek

Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek says there are two choices before the Czech Republic: accept the European Union’s Lisbon treaty, or become a vassal of Moscow. In an article in the newspaper Mladá fronta Dnes, he said it was better to be in than out of the EU, which like NATO could be a barrier to Russia’s imperial ambitions. He said President Václav Klaus, one of Lisbon’s most vocal critics, had had to make a similar choice when he signed an association agreement with the EU when he was Czech prime minister.

Mr Klaus is regarded as being relatively pro-Russian in his views. He is close to the anti-Lisbon Pavel Bém, who is standing against Mr Topolánek in a vote for the leadership of the Civic Democratic Party in two weeks’ time.

The Czech Republic is one of the few states in the European Union not to have ratified the Lisbon treaty, which is aimed at reforming how the bloc is run. The Czech Parliament is expected to vote on ratification during the first quarter of next year; that is, during the country’s first presidency of the EU.

Author: Ian Willoughby