Final Word from Monday, May 3, 2004

Czechs woke up Sat. with a hangover but with their identity intact. During the EU festivities on Fri., Václav Klaus had repeated his fears about the loss of Czech identity and sovereignty, and Václav Havel hit back by saying that EU accession will mainly limit the powers of post-Communist mobsters, crooks and financial acrobats and their political protectors. Havel was primarily alluding to Klaus and his buddies, but his words could just as easily have been aimed at Vladimír Špidla's government. The list of its dubious transactions is long, as ODS Chair Mirek Topolánek pointed out, but Špidla was resolute on TV Prima yesterday - one day after EU accession - and insisted that his government's privatization decisions all stand up under scrutiny. He was absolutely unwilling to acknowledge even the slightest transgression. Havel, it seems, spoke too soon.


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