February 20, 2009
In a truly bizarre display, Czech President Vaclav Klaus, who holds the rotating EU presidency, yesterday compared the institution to the Soviet Union. Constant Brand for AP:
Klaus is known for deep skepticism of the EU and has refused to fly the EU flag over his official seat in Prague during the Czech presidency, saying the country is not an EU province.
He said current EU practices smacked of communist times when the Soviet Union controlled much of eastern Europe, including the Czech Republic and when dissent or even discussions were not tolerated.
“Not so long ago, in our part of Europe we lived in a political system that permitted no alternatives and therefore also no parliamentary opposition,” said Klaus. “We learned the bitter lesson that with no opposition, there is no freedom.”