Civic Democrat Zahradil believes it is time for the EU to reform itself and that some competencies will be given back to the nation states, and that integration went too far. Zdechovský from KDU-CSL agrees that the EU needs reform, however there are many things that have to change and it’s not enough just to criticize the Union.
According to Zahradil, the EU didn’t enter the new year 2019 in good shape, in some regards the integration simply went too far and not everything could be effectively resolved on the European level. The EU mainly failed in tackling the migration crisis, he added. Zdechovsky disagreed, he rather thinks that nation states failed during the crisis – cheating Italians, Greeks and those who opened up their borders.
As Zahradil believes, in almost every member state there are voices calling for a reconstructed Union, in which national states will have a stronger voice. The current course, when European institutions have increasingly more power, is about to stop and revert. He also pointed out that France and Germany are not against strengthening of the European institutions as they play an important role in them. Juncker’s chief of staff, General secretary of the EP and a deputy negotiator for Brexit are all German bureaucrats, reminded Zahradil.
Regarding the Romanian presidency, Zahradil noted that in Brussels, there are mixed feelings as the country is facing domestic political turmoil. Expectations are rather low, and he worries that the EU would try to use Romanian weaknesses and coach its presidency. As Luxembourg and the Baltic states have proved, member states are able to be strong negotiators, reacted Zdechovsky, adding that a vacuum cannot exist in politics, so if Romania won’t be strong enough, someone else would have to step in. Regarding the people in the European institution, Zdechovchy reminded that the Czech Republic, for example, didn’t nominate anyone for Brexit negotiations. On the other hand, he mentioned Hungary as an example of a smaller state able to be visible in the institution.