* Czech Republic. “Krtek” was easy to understand. Andrej Babis is another matter.
** FYI: Neither the title nor the contents of the linked article below are the opinions of the V4 Report. The article was published by the Gatestone Institute and is their opinion.
Whatever one thinks of Andrej Babiš, we continue to be amazed at the various worldwide attempts trying to describe the so-called “Czech Trump”. For the record, we believe this comparison with Trump is inaccurate.
The international image of Babiš, from the Gatestone Institute to the Economist magazine, is remarkably different than the opinion of many Czechs. Gatestone believes he will be an ally of the V4, while the Economist thinks he will embrace the EU Core. Many Czechs are convinced Babiš will follow the “Babiš Core” or whatever is best for Babiš.
While Czechs understand and know Babiš well, we believe many others in Central Europe and elsewhere may find the current political situation in the Czech Republic confusing and hard to understand. It is not easy. For instance, while the conservative Gatestone Institute appears to admire Babiš, many conservative Czechs seem to despise him and do not trust him. Something is misaligned.
It is quite clear that Andrej Babiš is not trusted by many Czechs, but he did receive 30% of the vote, easily outdistancing his rivals. Czechs trust the establishment even less. The people who voted for Babiš have little knowledge of the ALDE group in Brussels or the vague platform of the ANO Party. They voted for Babiš, who passionately campaigned against the establishment, EU Solidarity on migration and the euro. The debate is not about what Babiš said he would do; rather, it is about what he will do.
We decided to publish some of his campaign quotes to remind all, including Babiš, of some of his pledges to the Czech people. We have offered our opinions regarding Babiš over the past several months, but will now judge him by his actions.
Babiš, like most Czech politicians, has a “credibility issue” with the Czech people. In order to repair his image, we believe he must honor his word. Here are six quotes from Babiš straight from the article:
1. Babiš does not want the Czech Republic to leave the EU. Instead, Babiš has pledged to reform the European Union from within, especially regarding migration policy: “I want to play a more important role in Europe. But we have to fight for our interests and make proposals. If I were a prime minister, I would say: ‘Close this cursed external European border at last.'”
2. “No euro. I don’t want the euro. We don’t want the euro here. Everybody knows it’s bankrupt. It’s about our sovereignty. I want the Czech koruna, and an independent central bank. I don’t want another issue that Brussels would be meddling with.”
3. Babiš has expressed his opposition to multiculturalism and mass migration: “I have stopped believing in successful integration and multiculturalism. I do not want to have a French or German migration policy; we want our migration policy to be completely different from other countries. Every state has some interests, we have to fight for Czech national interests, we do not want to have that multicultural model.”
4. Babiš has rejected pressure from the European Commission, which has launched infringement procedures against the Czechs, Hungarians and Poles for refusing to comply with an EU plan to redistribute migrants:
“I will not accept refugee quotas for the Czech Republic. The situation has changed. We see how migrants react in Europe. We must react to the needs and fears of the citizens of our country. We must guarantee the security of Czech citizens. Even if we are punished by sanctions.”
5. In June 2017, Babiš reiterated that the Czech Republic would not be taking orders from unelected bureaucrats in Brussels: “We have to fight for what our ancestors built here. If there will be more Muslims than Belgians in Brussels, that’s their problem. I don’t want that here. They won’t be telling us who should live here.”
6. In an interview with the Czech daily Pravo, Babiš said:
“It is unthinkable that the indigenous European population should adapt themselves to the refugees. We must do away with such nonsensical political correctness. The refugees should behave like guests, that is, they should be polite, and they certainly do not have the right to choose what they want to eat. Europe and Germany in particular are undergoing an identity crisis. There is a deep chasm between what people think and what the media tell them.”
*** These are some of the statements that helped elect Babiš. Obviously, we agree with his statements above but question his sincerity to keep these promises. We really hope to be proven wrong. As of this moment, Babiš is finding it difficult to even form a government coalition. The situation is not clear and will remain complex.
However, if Babiš is the pragmatist or “populist” as many say, he will be well-aware that Czechs are overwhelmingly opposed to the EU’s migration agenda and have the second-lowest trust in the European Union of all 28 member states (behind Greece). We can only urge Czechs to demand that he keep his word.
We would also advise Babiš not to try to take the Czechs where they have no desire to go (EU Core). If he does, the ANO Party will soon share the same brief lifespan as the now-defunct VV Party.