Czech President Miloš Zeman has offered his thoughts on the new government’s first steps, criticizing ministers for putting the search for a national bird on the agenda and its vague plan to cut the budget.
For the government to fulfill its promises to reduce the state budget deficit, Czechia would have to grow at a rate of 10 percent, and even China is not capable of that, Zeman noted as he critiqued the government’s program statement.
He also expressed his disapproval of a planned search for a national bird, revealing he considers the matter a bit silly. Czechia has had a falcon as its symbol for 200 years, Zeman pointed out.
On the contrary, he praised Fiala’s government for the planned pension reform, but offered the caveat that a change in the pension system had already been promised by several previous governments but never followed through on.
Gross interference in the internal affairs of Hungary
In the interview, Zeman strongly criticized members of the governing coalition over statements about Hungary and Kazakhstan. The Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Markéta Pekarová Adamová (TOP 09) recently said that the Czechs had already expelled their Babiš and the Hungarians should do the same with Viktor Orbán in the elections.
“It is a gross interference in the internal affairs of an allied state. The Hungarian opposition, which Mrs. Pekarová is a fan of, is made up of some racist, anti-Semitic groups. Mrs. Pekarová would do much better if she was quiet,” the president said, who indicated he only wanted to debate foreign policy with Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS).
The head of state likened the demonstrations in Kazakhstan to the yellow vest movement in France: “You will be surprised by the comparison. In both cases, the impetus for the demonstrations was the price adjustments of fuel or energy. Because we live in Europe, the protests in France were not as violent as in Kazakhstan.”
Zeman’s health is improving
Zeman also did not pull his punches in his criticism of President of the Senate Miloš Vystrčil.
“He is in my bad book,” Zeman revealed. “Although, that is weak wording. I consider his statements at the time of my illness to be hyenism,” he added, referring to Vystrčil’s efforts to remove Zeman from presidential powers.
The Czech president also used the interview as an opportunity to offer an update on his health: “I started walking again. I have a cane in one hand, and a bodyguard holds my right hand.
“I am pleased that I am able to make a few steps,” he said.