Final Word from Tuesday, April 13, 2004

National presidents will eventually become superfluous in an integrated Europe, wrote political analyst Jiří Pehe in HN today. This could help explain the recent behavior of both Václav Klaus and Miloš Zeman. Klaus is resisting greater EU integration, perhaps because he knows it will weaken his own position at home. At the same time, he seems to be sounding out his other possibilities for when his five-year term ends. There's even speculation that he might have a high-ranking EU position in mind for himself. Zeman, for his part, is trying to reemerge from political oblivion as an EU federalist who respects Klaus but who has diametrically opposite views on EU integration. He's positioning himself - quite successfully - as the only Czech "political personality" (to use his phrase) who could challenge Klaus on the domestic or European level.


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