Sarkozy: I wish Topolanek the best of luck

The international community has put a question mark against capabilities of Czech Republic which is getting ready to preside Europe in several weeks. Czechs considered rather as eurosceptics and attracted more to Washington than to Brussels,  are not supposed to fulfill role of strong leader behind which EU can unite during such turbulent times, marked by financial crisis and hard approval procedures of Lisbon treaty.


The situation compelled Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek to travel to Paris for a working lunch with French President Nicolas Sarkozy to discuss the Jan. 1, 2009, transition of power from France to the Czech Republic.  


While speculations in the foreign press have called for the French presidency to continue, or for the Czech Republic to switch presidencies with Sweden, which is scheduled to helm the EU starting in July 2009, Sarkozy opposed such suggestions and said that everything will go according to plan. “I wish Topolánek the best of luck during his presidency. We will support all efforts initiated by the Czech Republic,” Sarkozy told journalists after the lunch.


The two politicians attempted to smoothen the forthcoming transfer of power. “We discussed details of the upcoming weeks, during which Czech Republic will gear up towards EU presidency,” said Topolánek. “I hope that we will be as successful as the French.”


However, all is not as smooth as Topolánek wishes it to be. While some German politicians have called for a switch of the Czech and Swedish presidencies, Austrian and French print media have speculated about the possibility of extending the French one and sidelining the Czechs altogether.


“Such speculations were doomed from the start,” said Charles University political analyst Tomáš Hubený. “The EU has strict rules which it follows and the rotating presidency is one of them.”


The Czech presidency will still face many problems, as several factors have come together to make things even more difficult than usual for a small country facing its first EU presidency. The The dynamic Sarkozy was extremely successful while in office, leaving a legacy of such accomplishments as helping resolve the Georgian crisis and intervening during the global market meltdown.