The Czech Republic has taken the helm of the EU for a six-month stint.
And it’s not going to be plain sailing. Prague must help the bloc tackle its worst economic crisis in generations and deal with the renewed conflict in the Middle East. Concerns have been raised over the Czech government’s suitability for the role. Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek’s minority centre-right administration has dragged its heels over the Lisbon Treaty, making it one of just three EU members who have yet to ratify it. While Czech President Vaclav Klaus is a staunch eurosceptic who has campaigned against deeper integration with other EU members. The Czech Republic takes up the EU baton after the initiative-filled tenure of France, during which President Sarkozy tackled ranging from financial turmoil to the conflict in Georgia and climate change.