Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Nigel, Sarkozy and Klaus

Interesting times yesterday in the European Parliament. It starts off with this:

The French president sided with federalist Euro-MPs who are engaged in a bitter feud with Vaclav Klaus, the Czech president and a Eurosceptic.

Senior MEPs, including the president of the European Parliament, Hans Gert Poettering, caused a diplomatic incident ten days ago after demanding that Mr Klaus hoist the European flag over his residence during bad tempered talks in Prague.

"It was a wound, it was an outrage to see that flags had been taken down from public buildings," said President Sarkozy, the current holder of the EU's six-month rotating presidency which he hands over to the Czech Republic in January.

Yes, that dreary insistence that the EU flag must be flown everywhere, even where it's not wanted. The response is rather plain and simple:

Karel Schwarzenberg, the Czech foreign minister, hit back as the diplomatic war of words between Paris and Prague threatened to overshadow the smooth transfer of the EU presidency.

"There is no law binding the Czech Republic to hang the EU flag over Prague Castle. Prague Castle is a symbol of the Czech state and not the EU," he said.

"It is not up to the head of another state to criticise the Czech president over flags."

Quite. Whatever might be the ambition, the collapse of the nation states into a federal system, it hasn't actually happened yet. People are allowed to fly the 12 stars, but it's not required as yet. And Nigel Farage had something to say on it all:

Nigel Farage, the leader of UK Independence Party, compared the EU flag demand to the behaviour of Nazi or Soviet officials, both dictatorships that had occupied Prague and its Castle in the past.

"The manner in which Cohn-Bendit demanded that President Klaus fly the EU flag over his castle could easily have been done by a German official of over 70 years ago or a Soviet official of 20 years ago," he said.

"No doubt they think that Buckingham Palace should fly the EU flag to show its dominium."


The Clueless Yank said...

As an American who has little stake in the actions of the European parliament (and who had never heard of Farage, Cohn-Bendit or Cowen until today) I must say that the behavior of Cohn-Bendit and Cowen was absolutely disgraceful and truly frightening. I shudder for the future if men such as this are allowed to shape Europe's destiny.

Mod: while I've watched/read Farage's comments to parliament I have yet to see the response from Sarkozy, Cowen or Cohn-Bendit. Have they decided its better to let their boorish antics pass through the media cycle or will they continue to show their true colours?

Witterings From Witney said...

Tying in with this post, as with most of your previous, words that Ronald Reagan spoke at his inaugural and farewell addresses are so pertinent today as they were at the time.

It is a great pity that more people do not read them and to this extent I have today published extracts, together with a final thought.

Anonymous said...

Forgetting for a moment that Klaus says and does anything contentious that he can purely to improve his Google ranking, the real issue here is that a nation that isn't totally supportive of the EU should not be awarded the presidency in the first place.

Actually the Czech people, as far as they understand it, are and Klaus is not representative. Sadly he neither appreciates this or knows when to shut up.

Really its up to Topolanek to insist that Klaus flies the flag after all Klaus is just a tennant at Prague Castle, the building is an icon of the Czech lands and as such should always represent the stance of the people.

The really sad thing is that the country though supportive clearly isn't mature enough for the presidency and is washing its dirty linned in public. Its also sad that Klaus who as far as I can see was given the presidency to keep him out of politics is playing the celebrity card like an old ham and making the nation appear more backward than it is.