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Czech Prime Minister warns of lasting crises ahead

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Czechia – At a press conference held on Saturday, 17 December, on the occasion of the first anniversary of his government taking office, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala warned that the time of crises (Covid, war in Ukraine, the energy crisis, inflation, …) is not yet over, and said that his government would do its best to cope with the situation and limit their negative impact on Czech citizens:

As a result of Russia’s war of aggression, our country faces a number of huge challenges that we could not even imagine until recently. However, together with you, we are striving to make the impact of these crises on the lives of each of us as light as possible.

(…) We have reacted quickly and obtained enough gas for this winter, we have filled the gas storage facilities to a record level, and we have purchased the necessary capacity at an LNG terminal in the Netherlands. (…) We have resisted populist pressures for a number of costly and ineffective market interventions. Thanks also to this, Czechia is maintaining prices at pre-war levels, while other countries are seeing their petrol and diesel prices rise. (…)

We have managed to orchestrate the approval of a number of European solutions to high energy prices, which will have a positive effect on all our citizens. We were able to negotiate a number of things that analysts had said were not feasible.”

Ivan Bartoš, the chairman of the Pirate Party, which is part of the ruling coalition, also praised the government’s work this year, especially in the face of the war in Ukraine:

I greatly admire the fact that our government and citizens have clearly stood up for Ukraine and that we have provided political, military, security and humanitarian support.

I am also proud of Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský [from the Pirate Party, ed.], who has proven himself in the crisis and has fully lived up to his promise to return to the policy once promoted by Václav Havel and to the protection of human rights. 

On the opposition side, the view is, of course, somewhat more critical. Former Finance Minister Alena Schillerová, of Andrej Babiš’ ANO party, has said:

I don’t want to be only negative. I welcome the correct reaction [of the Fiala government] to the Russian aggression, which ANO supported as the main opposition party, but the wave [of refugees] that followed was accompanied by chaos, confusion and terrible communication, which has widened the gaps that divide society.