Czechs and Slovaks snub EU’s Nobel ceremony

Published on 3 December 2012 at 15:28

Neither the Czech president Václav Klaus nor PM Petr Nečas will attend the Nobel ceremony in Oslo on December 10, when the EU will receive the peace prize for promoting democracy and human rights over six decades. Klaus, a notorious critic of the EU who has previously called the Committee’s decision a “tragic joke,” gave no reason for his absence, writesMF Dnes, and Nečas has cited “previous engagements.” Only the foreign minister and candidate for the January presidential election Karel Schwarzenberg “would like to go, but nobody has invited him.”

The fact that none of the Czech “big cheeses” are attending the Oslo ceremony is not a big deal, says the daily

Hardly anyone will notice and Brussels will save money on having to keep an eye on various small stationery items. [A reference to when Klaus was caught on camera pocketing a pen at an offical engagement.] The entire affair wouldn’t be worth mentioning if it wasn’t a symbol of the muddled and faulty relationship of our country to the EU. Without the EU, the existence of not only the Czech Republic but of Central Europe as such is just as precarious as it used to be in the past.

If giving the EU the prize today is a mistake, the paper suggests, it is only because “the Union’s founding fathers – such as Adenauer, Churchill, Schumann or Spinelli – should have received one while they were still alive.” Lidové Noviny, for its part, calls for a “Critique not boycott.” The daily admits that the EU “may not be the ideal winner” and believes it is better to make specific criticisms of EU policy, rather than expressing dissatisfaction simply by boycotting the entire ceremony.

Yet it is “not only the Eurosceptic Czech Republic and Britain, but also Slovakia” who are snubbing the festivities, adds SME. The Bratislava daily explains that due to “acute problems” requiring his immediate attention at home, the Slovak PM Robert “Fico is not going to attend the Nobel Prize ceremony,” either. And neither is President Gašparovič, who will instead be heading for Prague – to say goodbye to the soon-departing Klaus.

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