Concerns are growing over the Czech Republic’s ability to lead the European Union at a time of multiple and fast-moving crises.
Gas and Gaza head the list of problems facing Prague, along with the global economic situation. President Vaclav Klaus is an unashamed eurosceptic who openly campaigned against the Lisbon Treaty. Alongside Ireland, the Czech Republic is the only country still posing a stumbling block to the document. Klaus is refusing to fly the EU flag at Prague Castle – the presidential seat – for the next six months. His role, however, is largely ceremonial. The country has its own, Europe-related, problems to deal with. Weakened by electoral losses in October and a leadership challenge, Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek could face losing a confidence vote while at the helm of the EU.