Czech Government To ‘Review’ Relations With Russia

Five Czech parties have signed a power-sharing deal to form a coalition government following the country’s parliamentary elections last month, vowing to anchor foreign policy to the European Union and NATO, while putting relations with Russia and China “under review.”

Petr Fiala, 57, of the Civic Democratic Party is slated to be the next prime minister under the agreement, signed on November 8, cementing the ouster of Euroskeptic Prime Minister Andrej Babis and his populist ANO movement from government.

The parties– the Civic Democratic Party, the Christian Democrats, TOP 09, the Pirate Party, and STAN– together won 108 seats in the 200-member lower house of parliament in the October 8-9 election.

The 42-page coalition agreement outlines the new government’s immediate tasks, including addressing a surge in coronavirus infections, high inflation, and trimming the budget deficit.

“We need to solve the problems which trouble the people as fast as possible, and to lead the country out of the several crises it has been in — health, economic, and a crisis of values,” Fiala said at a signing ceremony.

The agreement says that, with regard to foreign affairs, policy “will be based on anchoring in the European Union and NATO and on good relations with all neighboring states.”

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It adds that “we will continue to deepen cooperation with democratic partners in the Asia-Pacific areas (such as Taiwan, Japan, the Republic of Korea and others)” and that “we will review relations with Russia and China.”

It does not explain what the review of relations will entail.

President Milos Zeman, who has been criticized for being too Russia-friendly, has suggested he is willing to swear in Fiala as prime minister, but it is unclear when that may happen because he has been receiving treatment in the hospital for an undisclosed condition.

With reporting by iDnes, Seznam zpravy, and Reuters

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