Final Word from Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Czechs following the events leading up to the EU referendum this weekend can be excused for being confused. After weeks of worrying about how to cover higher phone bills and other EU-related increases, attentive Czechs heard Enlargement Commissioner Günter Verheugen and Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda declare that there will be no sharp price rises after accession. Svoboda and Premier Vladimír Špidla then declared that there won't be an EU president. Špidla vowed to use the CR's veto to prevent it. His comment came just two days after leaders of the Constitutional Convention had reached a framework agreement for creating a new full-time EU president. The Špidla cabinet has based its entire EU campaign on stressing the favorable aspects of accession. With some of the less favorable aspects coming to the fore in the days prior to the vote, Špidla and Svoboda have now gone into full denial.


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