Presidential candidate Andrej Babiš questioning his nation’s dedication to serving to neighbouring NATO allies in a TV debate on Sunday has been criticised by the international ministers of neighbouring Baltic states and neighbouring Poland.
Requested whether or not he would ship Czech troops into an open battle if Russia attacked Poland or the Baltic nations throughout a dwell TV debate on Sunday, the previous prime minister and present presidential candidate stated he wouldn’t.
He has since corrected his controversial assertion, tweeting on Monday that he would “certainly comply” with NATO Article 5
Nonetheless, his feedback didn’t bode properly with neighbouring Baltic states and Poland.
Estonian Minister Urmas Reinsalu referred to as it “the worst instance of home political campaigning interfering in safety points”, whereas Reinsalu’s Latvian counterpart, Edgars Rinkēvičs, stated the assertion was irresponsible.
“If ever Czech freedom, sovereignty and territorial integrity had been challenged by an outdoor pressure, Lithuanians would stand shoulder to shoulder with the Czech folks,” Lithuanian International Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis stated on the doorstep forward of the EU International Affairs Council that was held in Brussels on Monday.
In the meantime, a number of voices in Poland additionally expressed remorse, with some hoping that Babiš’s rival within the presidential elections would come out forward.
“We hope that was solely a matter of political feelings in the course of the debate since our Czech companions have been proving in latest occasions that they’re loyal to their commitments as allies,” Polish authorities spokesman Piotr Müller instructed public TVP Data TV station.
Nonetheless, he added he was anxious that such an announcement could come from any presidential candidate from a rustic that could be a member of the North Atlantic Alliance.
International Minister Zbigniew Rau referred to as the assertion “regrettable”.
Events throughout the Polish political spectrum additionally criticised Babiš for his feedback.
I’m assured that Babiš’s rival Petr Pavel will win the election, stated ruling Regulation and Justice (PiS) celebration MEP Ryszard Czarnecki, whereas accusing Babiš of the lack of expertise of the treaties Czechia has signed, together with NATO’s Washington Treaty.
Opposition Left MP Wanda Nowacka referred to as Babiš’s assertion “silly”, saying it might hurt bilateral relations between Warsaw and Prague, as quoted by TVP Data.
Paweł Kowal from one other opposition celebration, centrist Civic Coalition (EPP), interviewed by RMF FM radio, referred to as Babiš “a soundbox of Putin” that “is beginning to compete with [Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor] Orbán” in pro-Kremlin rhetoric.
In Czechia, the feedback additionally acquired their fair proportion of criticism, together with from International Minister Jan Lipavský (Pirates, Greens).
“Andrej Babiš, along with his assertion within the debate on Czech Tv, has broken the Czech Republic overseas. Due to our membership in NATO and our alliance with different nations, we’re a part of the strongest navy organisation on the planet. Questioning these alliance commitments threatens our safety,” Lipavský stated.
The second spherical of Czech presidential elections will happen on Friday and Saturday (27-28 January). Opinion polls recommend Petr Pavel, the previous chief of the NATO navy committee, will defeat Babiš.
(Aleksandra Krzysztoszek | EURACTIV.pl, Aneta Zachová | EURACTIV.cz)