The Czech Parliament and European Integration
The Czech Republic has had a somewhat ambiguous pattern of relations with the European Union (EU).1 On the one hand, there is a strong tradition of both public and party-based Euroscepticism, which is present in both centre-right parties such as the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) and the ‘unreformed’ Communist Party (KČSM). On the other hand, even the Eurosceptic former president, Vaclav Klaus, agreed that joining the EU was the only viable option to ensure the country’s development. Since the accession in 2004, however, public opinion on the EU has become increasingly negative. The reluctance to sign the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, delays in the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty and the decision not to sign the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union are all vivid examples of the rather sceptical stance towards the EU. Nonetheless, it is noteworthy that the most recent general elections, in 2010, were totally devoid of debate pertaining to EU affairs. The victory of Miloš Zeman, a self-proclaimed ‘Eurofederalist’, in the first direct presidential election in the Czech Republic in 2013 has thus far had little impact on the Czech attitudes to the EU. This raises questions about the salience of the EU to Czech political affairs and the domestic debate.
KeywordsEuropean Union Staff Member National Parliament European Union Level Lisbon Treaty
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