Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Czech president says EU stifling freedom

Agence France Presse, 27 April 2004

Three days before his country joins the European Union, Czech President Vaclav Klaus warned in a newspaper interview published Tuesday that the bloc was stifling freedom with rules and bureaucracy. Klaus, a known eurosceptic, said people expecting something new on May 1, when the Czech Republic and nine other countries will join the bloc, would be disappointed.

He said the historic enlargement from 15 to 25 member states merely served to underline the victory of international socialism.

"The original European idea was clear and logical: to secure lasting peace after World War II by opening up the continent," he told the German business daily Handesblatt. "That is also my vision -- I want to live in freedom, in an open society. This vision is seen differently by us, who were imprisoned for 40 years, than by many in Western Europe.

"But the EU reality is something else. It is not freedom and openness, but bureaucracy, interventionism, regulation and harmonisation. "State intervention will be strengthened on an international level at the price of freedom."

Klaus, a frequent critic of EU decision-making, repeated his argument that member countries were losing their sovereignty, a tendency he described as a victory for international socialism. "Socialism is obviously more successfull at influencing the international organisations such as the EU than at national level, precisely because voters do not make the decisions in Brussels. "That is the real democratic deficit in the EU."

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