Czech Republic is ready to adopt the euro, but will wait for EU reforms, says PM Babiš

In an interview with Harvard International Review, Babiš also talked about refugee quotas and comparisons with Trump


Written by ČTK
Published on 17.08.2020 09:49 (updated on 17.08.2020)

Washington/Prague, Aug 16 (CTK) – The Czech Republic is ready to enter the eurozone, but it prefers waiting until the European Union adopts some necessary reforms, Czech PM Andrej Babiš said in an interview released in the Harvard International Review journal.

Among the reforms, he mentioned those enabling the EU members to force the heavily indebted Southern countries to act more reasonably as far as their budgets are concerned.

In the interview, Babiš also talked about the refugee quotas and challenged similarities between him and U.S. President Donald Trump.

“No one has the power to force heavily indebted countries to act more reasonably. That is the main problem that must be urgently solved,” Babiš said.

He added that “tensions between the prosperous northern members of the EU and the stagnating south were clearly visible during the post-pandemic recovery package negotiations.”

“Still, the fact that we criticize some aspects of the EU integration process does not mean that we are against the idea of the European integration in general. Constructive criticism in the post-Brexit EU is necessary,” Babiš noted.

In the quarterly journal published by the Harvard International Relations Council at the prestigious Harvard University, he reiterated his negative stance on the EU refugee quotas.

“The quotas? Over my cold dead body… EU refugee quotas are a symptom of something more serious — an inability of some EU members to defend their territory, their citizens, and the provisions of the Schengen Agreement at the same time,” he said.

“Any system of redistributing illegal migrants can only worsen the situation of desperate people in Africa and Asia, and the Czech Republic cannot participate in these short-sighted and useless solutions,” Babiš stressed.

He also denied his ANO movement being populist.

“Populist politicians are hotshots, they skyrocket in popularity using catchy promises, but the reality of day-to-day decision-making in office makes them highly unpopular and they then fall into oblivion. ANO has succeeded in every election since 2011. We have MPs, senators, MEPs, mayors, and thousands of ordinary members. ANO became the most stable and successful political force in the Czech Republic in a few years. That cannot be done only through marketing or efficient PR. You must be in touch with people, especially with those who were left out by traditional parties,” Babiš told the magazine.

He also opposed being compared with Trump.

“The comparison with the 45th US president is not accurate. Donald Trump was born with a silver spoon in his mouth in one of the richest cities in the world, in contrast to me: born into a middle-class Slovak family with no business background in socialist Czechoslovakia. So, our life and success stories are completely different,” Babiš pointed out.

Babiš is of the view that the Czech Republic is on the path to become “one of the top ten most successful countries in the world.”

“We have a large pool of experienced and highly innovative experts in many promising areas such as gaming and nanotechnology, we are European leaders in e-commerce, and we have one of the best public-funded medical systems. As we combine healthy public finances and a society that sticks together, we can make the 21st century our century,” Babiš said in the interview.

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