Final Word from Thursday, June 12, 2003

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote yesterday that there are numerous shady elements to the Czech economic situation that make it legitimate to ask whether the country is prepared for the EU. The proud Czechs see themselves as the real representatives of the West in Central Europe and believe, unlike the Poles or Hungarians, that they've long been part of the West, the FAZ said. Yet their public administration, justice system and business climate fail to meet the European standard. Especially corruption is an issue, it said. Similar objections have been raised by the Euro-Czech Forum in Prague. In contrast, U.S. Amb. Craig Stapleton said in Hospodářské noviny this week that the Špidla cabinet has sent a very strong signal about its desire to deal with corruption. The difference in these two views is striking and shows that the debate over the CR's readiness for the EU won't end with the referendum and accession.


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