As Friday’s EU accession vote gets closer, I’m getting completely confusing signals about which way this vote is going to end up. And it’s frustrating. But I thought about it a bit more, and there’s only word I can use to describe the Czechs’ mood on the EU: Å vejkovina.
On one hand, they want all the benefits – especially the financial ones – that membership in the EU is supposed to bring. But almost every leader is trying to cover their asses in case things don’t turn out as planned. President Klaus’ approach in this – where he isn’t coming out and saying that he’s against the vote – is especially reprehensible. If Klaus is really against the EU, he should have the leadership to say so, to take the stand, and argue his position on its merits. But he’s not willing to stick his neck out so far. Six months out, Havel and his penchant for taking principled positions – and sticking to them – seems like a lifetime ago.
But maybe an ambivalent vote from the Czechs on the EU is in absolute keeping with the national character. The thinking seems to be that if the vote is close but in favor, they can always point to it in the future and say, “well, we really didn’t want it.” But still reap the benefits.