Press Review

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Most of today's papers feature commentaries on the fortunes of the centre-right Christian Democrats, who form part of the opposition Four Party Coalition, and which has been hit by several internal disputes recently. The latest news concerns Christian Democrat MP Miloslav Vyborny, who has been asked by the party's current leader, Jan Kasal to run for his post.

Miloslav Vyborny announced publicly on Wednesday that he would not run for party leader at the party's congress at the end of May. According to the daily Hospodárské noviny, Mr Vyborny has refused the invitation from party leader Jan Kasal to become party chairman and thus rescue the party. His reaction is quite transparent, the paper says. In reality, if Mr Vyborny became leader now, he would be taking a leap into the unknown. And MiLoslav Vyborny, comments Hospodárské Noviny, always chooses his battles very carefully.

Mlada fronta Dnes writes that the Czech government, just like any other left-wing government, has paradoxically provided more advantages for wealthier people and has merely worsened the lot of those less fortunate. As an example, the paper describes life in Sweden, a state in which the Social Democrats have ruled for decades. If a government - as part of its left-wing ideology - imposes high taxes on millionaires, they simply move their tax residences outside the country. The only people left who care about high taxes are company employees.

The Czech Republic has also been discriminating against the poor in favour of the rich, the weak in favour of the strong, Mlada fronta Dnes continues. Due to a lack of millionaires in the Czech Lands, the government has done its best to meet the demands of foreign investors by providing them with numerous advantages, such as tax free periods, subsidies or free land. According to the paper, the Czech Republic now stands on a threshold of a new era, in which it naively perceives foreign investments as a panacea for all of the problems facing the Czech economy.

"After joining the EU, the Czechs will have less rights," reads a headline in today's Lidove noviny. Although strong Euro-scepticism is only typical amongst extremists, the number of European enthusiasts, nevertheless, has been decreasing. The biggest threat to Czech politicians in this respect, the paper says, is, and has been for some time, Germany. German, together with Austrian MPs, have been trying to put through a proposal preventing citizens from the new EU members moving and working freely in current EU member states for seven years after expansion.

Lidove noviny continues by saying that most Germans and Austrians are now not only against the free movement of labour, but against EU expansion. Politicians in these countries have found themselves in a trap. On the one hand, there's a commitment that has been repeatedly made to former Soviet Bloc countries, on the other hand there's the will of the country's voters. This only goes to show that uniting the interests of fifteen states is just as difficult as ever. Can't we try a more roundabout way, the way of Euro-realism,? the paper asks.

Recently, the Czech defence minister announced his intention to create a professional army in the Czech Republic and to cancel conscription. Today's Pravo has been considering the advantages and disadvantages of this move. Czech soldiers very often view one year's service in army barracks as a waste of time and extremely boring. Even those who look forward to military service are disappointed within two or three weeks. According to the paper, instead of learning about weapons and improving their physical condition, as is the case in western armies, recruits mostly just clean, as apparently there´s not enough money for proper training.

Some psychologists, however, claim that many young people have no interests or drive to do anything. Military service is just the right place for them, claims Pravo. These people feel comfortable in the army, as there are rules there for everything, which gives them a feeling of security. However, nothing is ever just black and white. As the Czech Prime Minister, Milos Zeman, said on Wednesday, young men who decide not to serve in the army, will lose out on grand memories of military service. At the same time, he added that the year they spend doing something else will more than compensate for this loss.

Author: Lucie Krupičková
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