Czech Republic: Babiš questions collective defence

In a televised debate, the Czech presidential candidate Andrej Babiš answered 'no, certainly not' to the question of whether he would send Czech troops in the event of an attack on Poland, Latvia, Lithuania or Estonia, in the framework of collective defence as laid out in Article 5 of the Nato treaty. The remark has triggered a storm of criticism in his home country and abroad. Commentators examine what this statement means in the context of the election campaign.

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Aktuálně.cz (CZ) /

A real security risk

Aktuálně.cz is outraged:

“Babiš's statement that he will not send troops to help Poland or the Baltic states undermines and shakes the foundation of our security. The reactions from Poland and the Baltic states have shown how shocked they are by Babiš's words. The former prime minister has seriously damaged the reputation of the Czech Republic. ... Babiš is a completely unpredictable man, ready to challenge our most important security alliance without batting an eyelid. ... They must have been happy in the Kremlin. Every voice like Babiš's on Sunday is extremely valuable to Moscow.”

Seznam Zprávy (CZ) /

He has crossed a red line

Babiš is making extreme statements to attract extreme voters from the left and right fringes, criticises Seznam Zprávy:

“They need to be given a loud, clear and unmistakable message that crosses the relatively high threshold for getting their attention. And Babiš, who is willing to resort to any means to achieve his goals, willingly delivers. But here he has crossed a line that should not be crossed even in the fiercest campaign. Today more than ever, Nato is a clear guarantee of Czech security. And pandering to certain groups of voters by questioning alliance commitments is not worthy of a politician who claims to care about the Czech Republic.”

Rzeczpospolita (PL) /

One Orbán is more than enough

Rzeczpospolita trusts that voters will decide against Babiš and in favour of his rival, former general Petr Pavel:

“We would be in serious trouble if it turned out that Babiš was right in his diagnosis of a change in society's attitude towards war. We are counting on Prague to maintain its pro-Western and pro-Ukrainian course and look forward to the general's visit. One Orbán in the region is already more than enough.”