The election of Ursula von der Leyen as the new president of the European Commission has elicited both enthusiastic and sceptical reactions from Czech MEP, who were divided in the vote according to party lines. Those in favour of her election highlight her understanding of Central and Eastern Europe, those against point to her weak mandate.
The Czech Republic is likely to push for the post of new digital economy commissioner, Lidové Noviny reports, citing a source close to the prime minister. The reserve option is the position of commissioner for the internal market. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has not yet commented on what position the Czech Republic will try to secure. However, he tweeted on Friday that he has spoken to the future commission president Ursula von der Leyen and told her his government’s preferred portfolio, while stressing the need for adequate Visegrad Four representation.
The European Parliament elected its leadership on Wednesday and two Czech MEPs – Dita Charanzová from the Liberals group and Marcel Kolaja from the Greens –were elected vice-president. I asked Libor Rouček, himself a former vice-president of the European Parliament, whether he considers this a significant success for a country the size of the Czech Republic.
Two Czech MEPs have been elected deputy chairpersons of the European
parliament. Dita Charanzová (44) of the ANO party is a member of the
Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe political group. Before being
elected to the European Parliament in 2014 as an independent, she worked in
the Czech diplomatic service for over a decade. In the past election term,
she was a deputy chairwoman of the Committee on the Internal Market and
Marcel Kolaja is a newcomer to the European Parliament, serving as an MEP for the Pirate Party since the 2019 election. Mr. Kolaja, who is 39, is a computer expert working with free software and the copyright and is a member of the Greens group. As an MEP, he wants to focus on the digital agenda, IT and consumer rights.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has hailed the EU compromise on nominations for the bloc’s top jobs as a big success for the Visegrad Four grouping which fiercely opposed the system of Spitzen candidates and particularly the candidacy of Frans Timmermans for EC president. But, while the prime minister is cheering, there have been mixed reactions from Czech MEPs, some of whom have criticized the fact that the deal reached does not reflect the outcome of elections to the European Parliament.
After failing to reach a decision during over 18 hours of talks on Sunday and Monday, EU leaders are reconvening in Brussels to try to agree who should lead the bloc’s institutions for the coming five years. Dutch socialist Frans Timmermans, a frontrunner for European Commission president, faces strong opposition from the Czech Republic and fellow Visegrad Four states.
The presence of so-called dual quality food in European stores was confirmed this week, when the results of a European Commission study showed that the labelling on 31 percent of analysed products was either fully or partly misleading. What is more, it seems dual quality is not just a problem in Central and Eastern Europe, but across the whole union.
The Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, says it is important that none of
the so-called “spitzenkandidats” received majority support to become
president of the European Commission at a European Council meeting last
week. Spitzenkandidats are the leaders of the parties in the European
Parliament that did best in elections in May. Some of them don’t like the
territory of the Visegrad Four countries, Mr. Babiš said at a conference
on economic diplomacy at the Czech Foreign Ministry on Monday Morning.
The Czech leader said it was important that the successor to Jean-Claude Juncker not comment on political matters but rather focus on implementing the conclusions of the European Council.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš says the Czech Republic doesn’t want a new president of the European Commission that would bring back migrant quotas. As he left for a summit in Brussels, he also said he would not now be discussing a Commission audit finding him in conflict of interest with its outgoing chief.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš remains defiant in the midst of a storm following the leaking of a preliminary EU audit which states that he has a conflict of interests and the country many have to return close to half a billion crowns in EU grants as a result. The prime minister insists that the country will not have to return anything and has refused a call for him to ask the lower house for a vote of confidence in his minority government.