“Sanctions are always unnecessary. They do nothing to help; on the contrary, they damage both parties from an economic as well as political point of view,” the head of the Czech state repeated his rejection of the sanctions adopted against Russia because of its actions towards Ukraine, including the annexation of Crimea. Zeman pointed out the possibility that Italy, or the Visegrad Group, might initiate the ending of the sanctions in the EU if one of these countries was brave enough to do so.
The TOP 09 Chairman Jiří Pospíšil disliked Zeman’s repeated rejection of sanctions. “He said this at a time when the EU is seriously debating tightening of the sanctions because of Russian aggression in the Azov Sea. But such a pro-Kremlin president´s attitude cannot be a surprise,” Pospíšil criticized Zeman on Twitter.
As for Russia’s tense relations with the North Atlantic Alliance, Zeman does not believe in the possibility of a military conflict between NATO and Russia. He would consider it political and military suicide.
According to Zeman, there is no strong leader today in the EU. “Russia undoubtedly has a strong leader. China has a strong leader, America has a strong leader. Please, find a strong leader at the level of the EU. I look to the left and the right; I look forward and backward – I do not see any strong leader,” the president said. He pointed out that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is leaving, and that the position of French President Emmanuel Macron is no longer as strong as it seemed half a year ago, because of the current anti-government demonstrations in the country.
Zeman also commented on sovereignty within the EU. He stressed that he wants the Czech Republic not to be an EU province and to maintain its independence, which in his view means independent decision-making in certain areas.