Klaus: Country needs nuclear power

Monday, October 29, 2007

By ČTK / Published 29 October 2007
Klaus's holiday speech touched on relations with the US and Russia.

Prague, Oct 28 (CTK) - Czech politicians should be friendly to Austria but resolutely explain that the Czech Republic needs nuclear energy, President Vaclav Klaus said today in his speech on the October 28 national holiday that marks the anniversary of Czechoslovakia's birth 89 years ago.

Photo: Klaus's holiday speech touched on relations with the US and Russia. In relation to some political circles in Germany, it is necessary to face their efforts to reopen the issues of the post-war arrangement of Central Europe, Klaus said.

Klaus in his speech mainly focused on international relations, but at the beginning he said that having roots in the domestic environment is irreplaceable.

He warned against "empty patriotic jingoism" but also against "equally empty cosmopolitanism."

Klaus touched upon the Czech-U.S. relations and the topical issue of the possible location of a U.S. missile defence radar base on Czech soil.

"It is in our own interest to seek this alliance and fill it with a specific content. The ongoing debate on the U.S. radar base on our territory can serve as an example for this," Klaus said.

It is necessary to find a suitable bond to enhance the Czech-U.S. alliance, he continued.

"Within the debate we ponder over where the present world's threats are, including those affecting us. We must discuss this openly on the domestic scene, as no one must end up with a bitter feeling of manipulation or absence of a dialogue," Klaus said, referring to the U.S. radar discussion.

Klaus also spoke on Europe and the EU.

The shift from the domination of national structures towards supra-national structures means a change, he said.

This is no "matter-of-course phase on the way towards the largest possible deepening of democracy," he continued.

Europe has been, is and will be the most natural cultural and social background of the Czech Republic, said Klaus, who has not concealed in the past years that he has reservations about some aspects of the current form and pace of European integration.

Another level of international relations are Prague's relations with other big powers such as China, India, Russia and others, which have been quickly increasing their importance, Klaus said, adding that it would be a mistake to underestimate these countries' development.

"Let's therefore seek ways to enhance our relations with these countries and simultaneously promote our interests, and ways to implement the values we stick to without the former or the latter suffering any harm," Klaus said.

He also emphasised the role of Czech relations with the neighbouring countries. These relations are very good now, and many consider this a matter-of-course, though it is quite unique from the long historical context's point of view, he said.

Czechs have model and really non-standard relations with Slovakia, and the relations with Poland are traditionally firm and friendly as well, Klaus said.

In spite of this, Klaus said he can see two problems.

"They are our southern neighbour's disagreement with our nuclear power industry and the repeated efforts to reopen the issues of the post-war arrangement of Central Europe on the part of not quite insignificant political circles of our neighbour to the west of us," Klaus said.

He was alluding to the challenging by some in Germany of Prague's post-war legislation that stripped ethnic Germans of citizenship and property and implied their transfer from Czechoslovakia.

Klaus said that both "nice" and "not nice" things occurred in all countries' history. Czech history too saw "things we can take pride in, with the benefit of hindsight, and also things that should have never happened. ... However, we also know that history is and must remain history," Klaus emphasised.

As for the nuclear energy problem and Austria's reservations about it, Klaus said the Czech Republic can generate electricity using only the sources it has at its disposal and that are acceptable from the financial point of view.

"Nuclear energy is one of them," said Klaus, who will seek re-election for another five-year presidential term early next year.

The nuclear energy issue has provoked tension in the centre-right ruling coalition as some deputies for the senior ruling Civic Democrats (ODS) are dissatisfied with the cabinet having complied with the junior ruling Greens' demand that the construction of further nuclear blocs be frozen.

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