Honeymoon over for Klaus and government as row breaks out over EU
A war of words erupted on Thursday between members of the Czech government and President Vaclav Klaus, over differences of opinion regarding Czech membership of the European Union. President Klaus's comments leading up to Wednesday's signing ceremony in Athens - among other things that EU membership was a marriage of convenience rather than a marriage of love - have angered the government. On Thursday Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda accused President Klaus of making superficial statements about the EU, while the prime minister, Vladimir Spidla, has warned him that foreign policy is exclusively the domain of the government, not the president. Not so, says Mr Klaus's spokesman, Tomas Klvana.
"I would suggest that it's just a matter of differences in degree and not in kind. They agree the Czech Republic has to be a member of the European Union as soon as possible, and when the president says it's a marriage of convenience, not of love, that's not anything new, he's been saying these things for a while now."
"I don't see how they can do the country a disservice. That is his position, and he stands by his position, and he's able to discuss these issues that pertain to the Czech Republic's membership of the EU. And when he says that this a marriage of convenience, it's still a marriage, it's still an important treaty that the Czech Republic acknowledges and ratifies and cares about, and there are important responsibilities implied by the treaty. And the president wants to emphasise these responsibilities, because he feels that not enough people in Czech politics today are talking about these responsibilities."