How likely is a Czexit?

Czech President Miloš Zeman on Thursday repeated his call for a referendum on the Czech Republic remaining in the EU. After the start of the infringement procedures against the Czech Republic and other states over refugee policy, former president Václav Klaus has said the Czechs must prepare to leave the Union. Commentators in Prague react with concern.

Open/close all quotes
Lidové noviny (CZ) /

Zeman and Klaus speaking for Putin

The remarks made by Klaus and Zeman are extremely dangerous, Lidové noviny warns:

“When Miloš Zeman equates the EU with the Warsaw Pact it's time to sit up and listen. And when on top of that Václav Klaus starts talking about the need to leave the EU it deserves our full attention. For sure, refugees quotas, vacuum-packed pancakes and thermometers without mercury are not in our national interest. But a Europe free of major conflicts, a Europe in which we have reliable allies most certainly is. We can't handle a divided continent, without allies to boot. Any fifth-grade student knows that from their history lessons. There is only one empire that is seeking to exploit any cracks that could lead to Europe crumbling - Putin's Russia. The question is why Klaus and Zeman are playing his cards for him.”

Hospodářské noviny (CZ) /

President playing a risky game

Zeman is playing with fire, Hospodářské noviny also comments worriedly:

“He wants a referendum, he would vote to stay in the EU, but then he blames that very EU for all the problems. It's clear what the result of a referendum held at a time when just 33 percent of Czechs see advantages to EU membership would be. Naturally, people tend to focus on silly directives, and take the fact that the EU has brought permanent peace for granted. … A referendum on staying in the EU would divide the country just as the election of the president has done. But we can cope with having a president we don't like in Prague Castle because he doesn't have much power. … A Czexit, however, would have far greater consequences than just a sense of frustration with the president among a section of the population.”