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Spitting images

Posted by Richard Friday, July 08, 2005

The Prague Daily Monitor conjures up some rather graphic images in describing a recent meeting between Czech prime minister Jiri Paroubek and former president Vaclav Havel.

According to the paper, they enjoyed a private lunch in a Prague pub on Tuesday, held to agree their positions on the EU and the EU constitution. "We mostly discussed the EU. Our opinions are identical, including those concerning the EU constitution," Paroubek said.

Havel supported the continuation of the ratification process, saying that: "We'd spit in our own face if we halted the process all of a sudden." Amplifying that remark, he went on to declare: "Not to hold it… would amount to spitting on our own signature. I think that it should continue."

No information was given as to how Havel could in any case achieve what at first sight seems impossible – spitting in his own face - although I guess you do it upwind in a stiff breeze. But that would then make spitting on his own signature a tad difficult, unless an alternative venue was chosen. However, the whole process sounds so laborious that you can understand why Havel thinks it's much better just to ratify the damn constitution.

However, the very live president Vaclav Klaus thinks the constitution is a dead document, so spitting on the signature would be rather like spitting on someone's grave – which is somewhat uncouth and therefore undesirable.

But equally undesirable, if not impossible, is trying to resuscitate a rotting corpse. Never mind though - Havel has the answer. Even if the constitution is postponed, he says, that will not stop European integration, which is "fortunately a train moving too fast for anyone to stop it." If that is the case, though, both Havel and Paroubek are only spitting on the people - a much easier option.