The Czech leaders will share the duties of their country’s presidency of the European Union. Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, for instance, will chair the European summits while President Vaclav Klaus will handle some with non-EU countries. EU partners have expressed doubts over Klaus’s euroscepticism and whether Topolanek’s government will last till June.
They are both centre-right liberals, but the one is far more outspoken than the other. Monika Pajerova is the head of the Czech organisation ‘Yes for Europe’. She says: “Wherever you go today if you’re Czech, you’re asked ‘What’s with that president of yours? Has he gone crazy or something?” Topolanek has played down the head of state’s critical personal attitude to the EU, and Klaus softened his tone for a New Year’s speech. As for his own attitude to managing the bloc’s presidency, Topolanek has been quoted by news media in Prague as saying he is “looking forward to the end of the presidency”.