No one should underestimate the importance of Germany to the Czech republic. The Czech economy is indeed heavily tied to Germany. Close to thirty percent of Czech exports head next door to Germany. Today, the Czech economy is strong and its people are enjoying the benefits. So yes when Merkel decides to visit, she should be welcomed.
Yet, Czech leaders should not act as mere “teen girls” at a Merkel rock concert. In the past, Czech PM Sobotka has acted as a subject of Berlin, rather than an equal. While the other three V4 leaders challenged the EU migrant quotas, Sobotka meekly accepted the diktat. Indeed, Sobotka’s CSSD advisor, former PM Spidla, is Germany’s preferred choice to represent Czech in negotiations between the two. Spidla is virtually a German-EU lobbyist. First and foremost, he needs to be sidelined. In my opinion, he is a negative influence on the Czech Republic and others outside of the CSSD do not trust his ideas.
Merkel needs to be told that all is not well and there is more to this relationship than trade, which BOTH countries benefit from. Merkel’s vision for Germany regarding the migrant crisis and multiculturalism is not shared by Czechs. She needs to respect this; the culture and way of life of Czechs is far different than France or Belgium. There is absolutely no “solidarity” on open borders, no limits and endless resettlement quotas. She needs to be told that this is a “red line” that V4 nations will not cross and that its time for Plan B.
Plan B was actually the proposal the V4 nations outlined one year ago. First and foremost, the external EU border must be secured. The open entry, wave-through of Greece and Italy is exposing all Europeans. This must end immediately. Turkey is a lost cause, the EU must take the responsibility to secure the border themselves. This is what serious leaders do.
The refugees-migrants must be processed outside of the EU border with the migrants sent back immediately. This would ease the masses engulfing the borders and allow room for refugee claims to be processed in hot spots before entry. The dangerous roaming of undocumented migrants in Europe must be stopped; this is a common sense with terrorists “blending-in” with the migrants.
From there, individual nation states would be able to decide just who and how many (if any) refugees they decide to grant asylum too. There can be no forced orders from EUCO on the subject of migration. Pushing this or fining nations for not accepting migrants will only break the EU in the long term. Again, Czech leaders must plainly but politely explain to Merkel that there can be no EU solution without securing the border. Drop the nonsense of migrant quotas.
The Czech republic and V4 nations must realize they have some leverage in this relationship (please read my earlier article on Juncker and EU funds to Eastern Europe). Germany, an export machine, is dependent on a stable EU and a healthy V4, especially with the southern Mediterranean States in meltdown mode. Merkel cannot afford to lose the V4 and vice-versa. There must be a mutual respect with neither party attempting to dominate the other, which never works out well.
At this stage, there seems to be no leaders in Germany willing to challenge Merkel. Even the talkative CSU, her “sister party”, seems unwilling to dump her in order to remain in power with her. It will be up to others outside of Germany to adjust her misguided attitude. If Merkel is not defied, she will press on with her present course, which could be a shipwreck for Europe.
The Czech leaders need to take advantage of this visit not only to reaffirm their economic relationship but to strongly inform Merkel that they are not or will not be boarding her “Migrant Solidarity Ship”. In my opinion, Sobotka will not tell her this, he is just too weak and too loyal to Brussels. However, he is not the sole voice of the Czech Republic. It will be up to President Zeman, Finance Minister Babis, the ODS, Interior Minister Chovanec, and others to answer the bell for the Czech Republic and Europe. The time is now!