Czech President: Democracy and Freedom Are Losing Ground in Europe

Excerpts from the meeting between Václav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic, and members of the Conference of the Presidents of the European Parliament, Friday 5 December 2008, Prague Castle. (Via Saormheain Eireann)

 Daniel Cohn-Bendit MEP: I brought you a flag, which – as we heard – you have everywhere here at the Prague Castle. It is the flag of the European Union, so I will place it here in front of you.
It will be a tough Presidency...

Lisbon Treaty – I don’t care about your opinions on it. I want to know what you are going to do if the Czech Chamber of Deputies and the Senate approve it. Will you respect the will of the representatives of the people? You will have to sign it.

I want you to explain to me what is the level of your friendship with Mr Ganley from Ireland. How can you meet a person whose funding is unclear? You are not supposed to meet him in your function. It is a man whose finances come from problematic sources and he wants to use them to be funding his election campaign into the EP.

President Vaclav Klaus: I must say that nobody has talked to me in such a style and tone for the past 6 years. You are not on the barricades in Paris here. I thought that these manners ended for us 18 years ago but I see I was wrong. I would not dare to ask how the activities of the Greens are funded. If you are concerned about a rational discussion in this half an hour, which we have, please give the floor to someone else, Mr Chairman.

EU Parliament President Hans-Gert Pöttering: No, we have plenty of time. My colleague will continue, because anyone from the members of the EP can ask you whatever he likes. (to Cohn-Bendit:) Please continue.

President Vaclav Klaus:
This is incredible. I have never experienced anything like this before.

Daniel Cohn-Bendit: Because you have not experienced me…

President Vaclav Klaus: This is incredible.

Daniel Cohn-Bendit: We have always had good talks with President Havel. And what will you tell me about your attitude towards the anti-discrimination law? I will gladly inform you about our funding.

Hans-Gert Pöttering: Brian Crowley, please.

Brian Crowley MEP: I am from Ireland and I am a member of a party in government. All his life my father fought against the British domination. Many of my relatives lost their lives. That is why I dare to say that the Irish wish for the Lisbon Treaty. It was an insult, Mr. President, to me and to the Irish people what you said during your state visit to Ireland. It was an insult that you met Declan Ganley, a man with no elected mandate. This man has not proven the sources from which his campaign was funded. I just want to inform you what the Irish felt. I wish you that you get the programme of your Presidency through and you will get through what European citizens want to see.

President Vaclav Klaus: Thank you for this experience which I gained from this meeting. I did not think anything like this is possible and have not experienced anything like this for the past 19 years. I thought it was a matter of the past that we live in democracy, but it is post-democracy, really, which rules the EU.

You mentioned the European values. The most important value is freedom and democracy. The citizens of the EU member states are concerned about freedom and democracy, above all. But democracy and freedom are loosing ground in the EU today. It is necessary to strive for them and fight for them.

I would like to emphasize, above all, what most citizens of the Czech Republic feel, that for us the EU membership has no alternative. It was me who submitted the EU application in the year 1996 and who signed the Accession treaty in 2003. But the arrangements within the EU have many alternatives. To take one of them as sacrosanct, untouchable, about which it is not possible to doubt or criticize it, is against the very nature of Europe.

As for the Lisbon Treaty, I would like to mention that it is not ratified in Germany either. The Constitutional Treaty, which was basically the same as the Lisbon Treaty, was refused in referendums in other two countries. If Mr. Crowley speaks of an insult to the Irish people, then I must say that the biggest insult to the Irish people is not to accept the result of the Irish referendum. In Ireland I met somebody who represents a majority in his country. You, Mr. Crowley, represent a view which is in minority in Ireland. That is a tangible result of the referendum.

Brian Crowley MEP: With all respect, Mr. President, you will not tell me what the Irish think. As an Irishman, I know it best.

President Vaclav Klaus: I do not speculate about what the Irish think. I state the only measurable data which were proved by the referendum.

In our country the Lisbon Treaty is not ratified because our parliament has not decided on it yet. It is not the President’s fault. Let’s wait for the decision of both Chambers of the Parliament, that is the current phase of the ratification process in which the President plays no role whatsoever. I cannot sign the Treaty today, it is not on my table, it is up to the parliament to decide about it now. My role will come after the eventual approval of the Treaty in the Parliament...

Hans-Gert Pöttering: … In the conclusion – and I want to leave this room in good terms – I would like to say that it is more than unacceptable, if you compare us, compare us with the Soviet Union. We are all deeply rooted in our countries and our constituencies. We are concerned about freedom and reconciliation in Europe, we are good willing, not naive.

President Vaclav Klaus: I did not compare you with the Soviet Union, I did not mention the word “Soviet Union”. I only said that I have not experienced such an atmosphere, such style of debate in the past 19 years in the Czech Republic, really.

non-responses 6?

@ kappert


What's the problem? Why the non-response? Even that Arch-Pacifist Gandhi knew the answer to my question.


"Among the many misdeeds of British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest".

Re The New Left trumpets psychoanalysis over psychology

The New Left applies a phony psychoanalysis to everyone except itself. If they did apply psychoanalysis to themselves they would get a heart attack from what they would find out. For example, the Left projects its own evil on those it considers its opponents then attacks itself in the other. This shows a lack of awareness of Self. Unaware of the shadow that they project, they become captive to it and have become dangerously dogmatic, dictatorial, and self righteous.

deadend 2

You wrote about Europe's need to abandon "gangster capitalism" if it expects to realize its ambition of becoming a serious economic leader in the world and, as a pacifist yourself, I'm asking you if that European economic leadership role would be best achieved at the expense of a European military defence budget/sector? 


Leadership through arms, no thank you. That BAe, Thompson, Heckler&Koch, Skoda, Pirelli, etc wash their hands by arming ANYBODY in this world is actually part of the 'gangster capitalism' we enjoy these days. By the way, any idea what happened to the 700 billion USD given to bankowners in October by Mr Poulson?

Red pedophiles for democracy!

I share many views with Vaclav Klaus, this is the only respect deserving leader in Europe. However I don't share his faith in democracy, neither belief that the EU could be reformed. This is simply naive to expect such outcome.

Here I would like to point out that Vaclav Klaus was elected by the Czech parliament. Who elected Cohn Bandit? The people? They are able to elect (not for the first time!) such arrogant left wing radical? They are able to elect even such an ugly proud paedophile? One could ask how disgusting a politician must be to discourage the people from voting for him?!? We already know that communist paedophiles still have a change.

While for a conservative free marketers there is no place in democratically elected bodies. How could open minded conservative tolerate this circus?

for Monarchist

Klaus was elected President of the Czech Republic by secret ballot of the parliament on 28 February, 2003 after two failed elections earlier in the month, in the third round of the election (both chambers vote on two top candidates jointly). He won with a narrow majority of 142 votes out of 281, with, notably, support of the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia whose parliament club he visited before the election.

Cohn-Bendit is elected by the people for the European Parliament in 1994, 1999, 2004.

Thank you kappert

This is exactly what I wanted to say.

1. The only democratic leader in Europe was NOT elected by the people.
2. While communist paedophile Cohn Bandit was re-elected once again.

It show clearly that the people should not vote.


Elections are the tool of the oligarchs: they give the Cohen-Bendits electable positions so that they are always elected (in exchange for obedience).

That's the reason why Athenian democrats didn't believe in elections and 'parties': anyone could apply for the job and was chosen by lot, not by election.

Anyway, that's why the Cohen-Bendits are elected, because they are obedient EU-slaves and the system rewards them with electable positions. The Cogen-Bendits know this all too well ofcourse, their behavior is just the arrogance of corruption.


I agree with your comment. I say that if people are always so easily fooled then they don't deserve the right to vote.

While speaking about political parties, I have bad news for conservatives who have any faith into mainstream parties pretending to be 'rightist'. Of course for careful political observer, this is plain obvious. Polish parliamentary election was a disaster for our ruling leftist party (SLD) duo to heavy corruption. Two supposed centre right parties won. One could think that conservative voter should be happy! No way!

Instead to form coalition, they became the greatest rivals with common interest to marginalize the left. It seems that they succeed to realize this party interest. The next elections although changed the winner but the left was still third and very weak. What is the cost? Both parties start to seek votes of leftist voters, one (PiS) using stronger socialistic demagogy and the second (PO) moving from conservative positions on moral issue to the centre.

Really, nothing changed for better. This system cannot be reformed.

leadership 2

From whom would Europe procure its defence weaponry, or are you advocating that Europe simply becomes a totally weapons-free zone?


I'm not giving you anything. I'm asking you a simple question.Well?

non-responses 5



Let's say you get the Eurotopia of which you dream. Would it have a military component that would be prepared to fight, kill and die, if necessary, in defence of its peoples and 'values'?


I do not know what 'Eurotopia' you are talking about and much less I mentioned any 'military component'. That's crap.

non-responses 4

How can VK comment that 'democracy and freedom' are loosing cause in Europe. The czech economist honoris causa is from the old school and already proofed his inability to foresee economic changes. His defining issue since 1990 has been a vocal enthusiasm for the free market economy (we see it right now) and as exemplified by Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman and practised by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, together with his stated belief in Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand", ... all together a bunch of .... If Europe is engaging a 'gangster capitalism' of the style of VK (pronounce: 'watch love close'), it may forget any attempt of 'leadership' whatsoever.

non-responses 3

Thanks for your support. If 'I want you to explain' is regarded as an affront, European leaders are going straightforward to authoritarianism. They would like their speeches interrupted by 'hail' acclamations, 'bravo' shouts, followed by a generous lifting of their right arm with a devotional wave of the hand towards the plebus. Come on, crooks like these are filling the parliaments in Brussels, Luxembourg and Strasbourg, they have no idea what to do with 'Europe', no clue about the financial disaster, very ancient economic standpoints, and are shitting on the environment and the social welfare of Europeans. I am a voter in Europe.


«I want to know ...', 'I want you to explain ...', that's far too much for the European rulers: President Klaus did not respond a single question, the process of ratification of the treaty can be read in any infoservice. Klaus is arrogant and vain. "With all respect, Mr. President, you will not tell me what (we) think."

Soviet / European Union

Pöttering thinks it is all right for the EU to trample democracy so long as it remains generally accepted that the former Soviet Union was even worse. At least, the Soviet Union did not organize the replacement of its citizens by third-world people.

Vaclav Klaus Deserves a Medal

Cohn-Bendit: Will you respect the will of the representatives of the people? You will have to sign it.

Will you respect the will of the people?

Pöttering: I would like to say that it is more than unacceptable, if you compare us, compare us with the Soviet Union. We are all deeply rooted in our countries and our constituencies.


Klaus never mentioned the Soviet Union or made any such comparison. Perhaps the Chairman might have committed a Freudian slip of the tongue? Given that the New Left trumpets psychoanalysis over psychology, this cannot be overstated.