Changing faces

Philippe Riboton

SO HERE WE ARE: in the European Union. Finally. Hundreds of new laws have been voted on. Thousands of new regulations have appeared on the Czech landscape. Millions of pages of EU norms and documentation have been translated. It all seems like the end of a long journey. As one result, the first Czech EU commissioner has been named; the trouble is that on the occasion of his first European press conference, he discovered that most of the European journalists in Brussels don’t speak Czech. Subsequently, it didn’t take him long to realize that he simply wouldn’t be able to do the job. Bad luck – particularly for the one who appointed him, who simply fainted when confronting the reality. No problem, a second EU commissioner has been named. Now we discover that he joined the Communist Party just before the Velvet Revolution, and word is he doesn’t make much distinction between right and left. Let’s at least hope that he knows the difference between right and wrong. This is rather bad timing, as the government would certainly be in serious trouble if confronted with the obligation of nominating yet another person. At the same time, thousands of Czech companies have been fine-tuning their strategy for entering the EU; needless to say their representatives speak the language of the markets they want to enter – and not only the language of business. They are ready to confront this new challenge, and have already prepared themselves for quite some time. At the end of the day what this remarkable discrepancy says is that most Czech businesses are – quite thankfully – miles away from Czech politicians in terms of EU integration. This certainly provides an optimistic outlook for the Czech economy, as those driving it seem ready and eager to face the opportunity. On the contrary, it should also serve as a final confirmation for the Czech voters that time has come to give a new face to the people that will represent them in the new Europe.


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