Commentary EU

PM Babiš: We are not leaving the EU nor nodding to it either

The Czech Republic commemorates the 15th anniversary of joining the European Union.

The following is in Prime Minister Andrej Babiš’s own words:

We managed to enter the EU successfully. Czechs succeeded in building democracy and a market economy with all the necessary institutions. The accession of our country to NATO and the EU was the result of the work and responsibility of all honest, decent, hardworking and enterprising people in our country. Thanks go to all those people who went to work in the 1990s and were not discouraged by the corruption they witnessed in their place of work, in politics and businesses.

Even though the mistakes of the transformative period of the 1990s have an overlap to the present day, the EU membership is a return to Europe, where we have always belonged. The continuity was disrupted by World War II and the period of communism. Our place in the EU is, however, unquestionable and irreversible. Though, we will be not only active and cooperative in the EU but also critical, if necessary.

Thanks to the EU, we can benefit from several things, such as a common European market or security and defense guarantees. EU membership has helped to consolidate our role in Europe and has provided us with a stable functioning market economy.

European subsidies are also a positive gain, but, in several cases, we have not used them effectively. We should have supported more infrastructure projects, especially the construction of roads and railways. However, Erasmus student exchange programs and the Schengen area belong among successful European projects. However, it would be great if the EU could play a more important role in international affairs. It is unacceptable that when trying to find a peaceful solution to the situation in Syria, nobody cares about the EU standpoint.

On the other hand, membership in the EU also brings many negatives. For example, because of excessive regulation, people think that deputies in Brussels only deal with little nonsense issues. Furthermore, excessive political correctness forbids us to call things by real names. And combating climate change is certainly important, but the EU cannot be the only one in the world that is concerned by it.

Czechs are also upset about the unreasonable redistribution of migrants when all we want is the airtight protection of the EU's external borders. We will determine who will live in our country and grant asylum under our laws.

The EU also criticizes the Czech Republic for not having a positive agenda towards the current fragmented single market. But in my opinion, trying to unify it is very positive.

And though all these negatives are not a reason to leave the EU, they should certainly make us more active in dealing with European issues.

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