The response to yesterday’s no-confidence vote in the Czech government, holder of the EU Council Presidency, was a standard “move along folks, nothing to see here”.Â Normal service would not be interrupted, the remaining 3 months of the Presidency would continue, and the grip-and-grin festival with Barack Obama next week would continue as before.
That was presumably before the lame duck PM Mirek TopolÃ¡nek’s bizarre speech to the European Parliament today, which is going to go down like a lead balloon in Washington (and probably London too) —
AÂ top European Union politician on Wednesday slammed U.S. plans to spend its way out of recession as “a way to hell.”
Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, whose country currently holds the EU presidency, told the European Parliament that President Barack Obama’s massive stimulus package and banking bailout “will undermine the stability of the global financial market.” … Topolanek bluntly said that “the United States did not take the right path.”.
He slammed the U.S.’ wideningand protectionist trade measures â€” such as the “Buy America” â€” and said that “all of these steps, these combinations and permanency is the way to hell.”Â “We need to read the history books and the lessons of history and the biggest success of the (EU) is the refusal to go this way,” he said.
“Americans will need liquidity to finance all their measures and they will balance this with the sale of their bonds but this will undermine the stability of the global financial market,” said Topolanek.
This is more German than the Germans, and it’s the kind of provocative quotes that one would have expected to see attached to the Czech President and not the PM.Â But speaking of Klaus, for all the times that we’re told that his position doesn’t really have much authority, he is truly the man of the hour.Â Is he going to sit back and enjoy the spectacle of his one-time protege cause rhetorical havoc in the EU institutions, or (as Prague fields spluttering phone calls from the G20 organizers), will he pull the plug on the current government and get a new one formed while there’s still something of the Czech EU presidency to salvage?