As our readers know, an angry verbal exchange between members of the European Parliaments (MEPs) and Vaclav Klaus, the President of the Czech Republic, took place on December 5, 2008 in the Prague Castle. Vaclav Klaus, soon-to-be president of the European Union for 6 months, replacing Nicolas Sarkozy, faced off with Brian Crowley, the Irish leader of the UEN party, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, a Green Franco-German politician, and Hans-Gert Pöttering, a German Christian-Democrat who is the president of the European Parliament.
The Observatoire de l'Europe reports that the row began when Brian Crowley, who would like to run for President of Ireland in 2011, accused President Klaus of having insulted the Irish people by dining in Dublin with Declan Ganley, leader of the “no” faction opposed to the Treaty of Lisbon. The “no” faction won the Irish referendum on the Treaty. According to pro-EU politicians, such as Daniel Cohn-Bendit, the CIA, in a plot against the EU, poured hundreds of thousands of euros into Libertas, Ganley's anti-Lisbon movement. (When questioned, the surprised officials from the United States Congress responded: "Are you Europeans serious?")
Observatoire de l'Europe states that this interview comes from unspecified diplomatic sources, but there is another version in the French leftist newspaper Le Monde, in which Vaclav Klaus is portrayed as "ultraliberal, choleric and Europhobic", while Dany Cohn-Bendit emerges as the hero of the day.
Le Monde’s version of the confrontation between Klaus on the one hand, and Cohn-Bendit, and Pöttering goes like this:
"What are your political relations with Declan Ganley?" asked Dany Cohn-Bendit. Vaclav Klaus turned to Hans-Gert Pöttering: "Could you interrupt Mr. Cohn-Bendit and let another deputy speak?" The president of the European Parliament refused: "Mr. President, you have taken a public stand in Ireland in favor of Declan Ganley, this question is legitimate."
Excerpts of the dialogue follow:
- Vaclav Klaus: Nobody has ever spoken to me here in this tone. You aren't on the barricades of Paris. I have never heard anything so insolent in this hall!
- Cohn-Bendit: Naturally, it's the first time that you have met me in this hall...
- Vaclav Klaus: What if I were to ask you how the Green Party is financed? We'd learn some interesting things.
- Cohn-Bendit: I didn't ask you how you received financing, but what your political relations were with Declan Ganley. It's strange that you associate this with the issue of financing.
- Vaclav Klaus: The way Daniel Cohn-Bendit is speaking to me is exactly the way the Soviets used to speak.
- Pöttering: To compare the European Union to the USSR is inadmissible!
- Vaclav Klaus: I was speaking of the manner of in which he intervenes in the discussion...
- Cohn-Bendit: We do not intervene with tanks.
Le Monde closes with references to Vaclav Klaus' economic policies: “This dedicated ultra-liberal is counting on the Czech presidency to ‘stop the irrational debate on the regulation of capitalism, which will kill the market and capitalism’.”
And to his views on Europe: “The Treaty of Lisbon and the behavior of Europe will lead to ‘the liquidation of freedom and democracy’.”
In conclusion, for Le Monde, the agent provocateur of the discussion on December 5 was Vaclav Klaus.
According to Yves Daoudal in the latest editorial to his paper newsletter Daoudal-Hebdo (available through subscription in pdf format also) remarks were made following the confrontation on December 5 that impelled Vaclav Klaus to publish the interview:
In violation of diplomatic custom, Vaclav Klaus decided to publish the text of the discussion after remarks made by Cohn-Bendit following the meeting. Specifically, he declared that Vaclav Klaus was "paranoid" and that any discussion with the Czech president was "madness."
Now, what is important to note, above all, is that this meeting not only allowed Daniel Cohn-Bendit the chance to be grossly provocative, but that the meeting itself was set up as a provocation, on the eve of the Czech presidency of the European Union, to discredit Vaclav Klaus and to show him as an irresponsible paranoiac. It's well-known that if you want to drown your dog, say that he has rabies.
This provocation was not set up by Cohn-Bendit, but by the very respectable, dignified and very Catholic Hans-Gert Pöttering.
That is what the text reveals. Hans-Gert Pöttering used two acolytes, like a Mafioso who punishes a reluctant merchant with two of his henchmen. The heavy was Cohn-Bendit, but also Brian Crowley, who is at least as insolent [...]
Finally this text is of interest because of what the Czech president says. This for example:
"To consider one of the organizational methods of Europe as sacrosanct, untouchable, that cannot be questioned or criticized, is contrary to the very nature of Europe."
"It is necessary to return to the Laeken declaration and to re-negotiate the Treaty of Lisbon. It is necessary to decentralize, to speak in such a way that powers are restored on the national level, closer to the citizens, in order to change supra-nationalism into inter-governmentalism."
The Laeken declaration is the text by which the Convention on the future of Europe was summoned, and which led to the Constitutional Treaty. It is indeed necessary to return to the point of departure, and then to move in another direction: that of respect for the peoples.
As of this writing the Czech Parliament has delayed examination of the Treaty of Lisbon for another month.
Illustration: Byzantine Sacred Arts blog.