Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Czechs are an embarrassment

Charlemagne’s column in the Economist deals with the embarrassment that the Czechs are causing in Brussels. No, it has nothing to do with them insisting on drinking Pilsner instead of Belgian beer but more with the fact that they take a little too seriously the European Union's profession of supporting freedom and democracy.

Mind you, this is not a new story. We wrote about it on this blog several times, notably here and here. But then, this is just a blog that cannot begin to compete with the sages of the MSM, particularly of the world famous Economist.

We also covered the story Charlemagne cites
Two years ago, ex-President Havel accused Spain of “shameful” appeasement for pushing European embassies in Havana to ban dissidents from attending receptions. (For the Spaniards, the Czechs were guilty of gesture politics that misfired.)
Of course, we called Spain’s behaviour by its proper name – appeasement, agreeing with President Havel. Sadly, the Economist cannot run to that. Instead it spends a little time being gently ironic about the Czechs who, very admirably, like to fight for democracy but really what an unsophisticated bunch.

Charlemagne may think that Karel Schwarzenberg, the Foreign Minister, is slightly amusing in an operattaish sort of way but we find it difficult to disagree with his “old-fashioned” views:
Mr Schwarzenberg is a rather old-fashioned figure (he is in private life a prince, with several castles to his name). He sums up the code that should define civilised nations. “Democracy is not just a question of voting systems, and having a good constitution,” he says, “It is a question of—and the English have a wonderful expression for it—accepting things which are done and not done. As long as this code does not exist, each democracy has its difficulties.” This is rather a courtly formulation, and would doubtless trigger further eye-rolling if uttered in Brussels.
To be fair to Charlemagne, there is a final sentence:
But if the EU were serious about being a club ruled by moral values, it is the kind of talk that should fit right in.
Indeed but as it isn't serious the talk does not fit in.


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