Attending the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday, outgoing Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, outlined his vision of a strong and united EU that would successfully preserve and develop what it had already achieved. Mr. Babiš is the first Czech top political leader to attend the forum in 18 years.
Andrej Babiš, who is in the process of trying to form a second government, left a tense political situation back home to attend the Davos meeting of chief executives, bankers and political leaders, a milieu where the Czech billionaire businessman –turned-politician, clearly felt right at home.
It was moreover one of his first opportunities to make good on his promise to make the Czech Republic’s voice heard internationally and take a greater initiative in the process of moulding EU and world affairs.
Addressing a panel on Creating a Joint Vision for the EU, the Czech prime minister spoke of a strong and united EU which should preserve and develop what it had already achieved. It was essential, he said to intensity the freedoms of the internal market as the main source of its prosperity, adopt crucial decisions unanimously on the level of prime ministers and define and maintain a clear strategy with regard to the EU’s future development.
Mr. Babiš stressed that the EU needs to reconnect with citizens and drum up support for a future vision. “European citizens must know where Europe is heading and they must agree with this direction. This unfortunately is not taking place, but it is precisely this which would give the process legitimacy” he said.
The Czech prime minister argued that instead of strengthening its position the EU had recently been squabbling over trifles and had undermined its stability by mistakes such as trying to enforce the mandatory redistribution of migrants. Rash decisions do not benefit Europe. If anything, they pose a risk, Babiš said.
The Czech prime minister used his time in Davos to meet with heads of government, representatives of financial institutions and business leaders, praising the potential of international forums such as this. “Davos is a fantastic project that enables one to settle dozens of issues quickly and efficiently. I am surprised that no Czech leader has attended the Davos Forum for so long,” Babiš said.
The prime minister said he wanted to come back next year and attend the Davos Form for a longer period –if he was still in office at the time.