Czech presidential hopefuls united over EU, NATO membership

The candidates who have confirmed their interest in running for the presidential office agree that the Czech Republic should remain an EU and NATO member, and deepen relations with the US, a poll conducted by the Czech Press Agency has found.

In Czechia, the race to determine the successor of current President Miloš Zeman has begun with elections scheduled for January.

The Czech Republic should definitely be part of the community of democratic countries and their institutions, especially the EU and NATO, because it brings security and stability, one of the candidates, a former Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, General Petr Pavel, said.

“We have no better alternative. Thanks to our membership in these institutions, we have a seat at the negotiating table and, with it an influence on the direction of Europe,” he noted.

He said it is in the Czech Republic’s interest to have the best possible relations with the US, calling it the most influential country in the democratic world. He added that this can be done by fulfilling commitments and taking an active approach to collective security within NATO.

The other candidate, former university rector Danuše Nerudová, is also in favour of maintaining NATO and EU membership.

“The Czech Republic should be a reliable and predictable partner that fulfils its commitments and will not be afraid to defend our national interests among other countries actively and contribute to the further development of European and international partnerships,” she wrote.

The Czech Republic should be proud and secure, for which it should have excellent relations with the US and other foreign partners,” she added.

“My vision for the Czech Republic is a safe country, a member of the EU and NATO, with a steadily growing economy, a high level of digitalisation, a functional social and health policy, including pension reform, and equal employment opportunities,” said Josef Středula, chairman of the trade union.

He said that relations with the US should deepen along political and economic lines.

The three are among the candidates with the best chances to move on to the second election round.

Former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, another potential candidate, has so far been reluctant to confirm his candidacy – likely due to his low chances of success according to the polls.

(Ondřej Plevák | EURACTIV.cz)

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