How much can the far-right gain from the Temelin dispute?
Prague and Vienna are on relatively good terms but there is one issue that has been causing friction for almost a decade and I'm afraid it's an issue that will be very hard to solve. Nuclear free Austria fears that the Temelin nuclear power plant in south Bohemia - which is some 50 km away from the border with Austria - is dangerous and puts its citizens at risk. The Czechs, on the other hand, say their plant is safe and follows all safety precautions by the book.
I honestly do not know who is in the right and I would welcome more effort on both parts to resolve this dispute. But due to their history, Czechs have an aversion to countries meddling with their affairs and so I can, to a great extent, understand Prague's reluctance to share information on internal affairs.
In an effort to put more pressure on their government, Austrian activists have been staging continuous blockades of Czech-Austrian border crossings. This may be serving their purpose at home but it is certainly doing more harm than good here in the Czech Republic. Ordinary Czechs are losing patience with the activists but also with the Czech government. Not because it refuses to change its standpoint on Temelin but because it has not fought back and made it clear - with actions and not just words - that such behaviour among neighbours is unacceptable.
While I believe that the National Party is genuinely tired of seeing no result on the Temelin affair, I fear it is using it to attract more members. Even if Czechs will be hesitant to join the party, actions like these may lead to them tolerating the far-right extreme. The dispute over Temelin is clearly moving in the wrong direction.