Errant European

Czech President Klaus
Czech President Klaus

When you fly into Prague on Czech Airlines, they start playing The Moldau, Bedrich Smetana’s bucolic ode to his country, from Má vlast (My Country), his set of 19th century symphonic poems. You can almost hear the river Vltava flowing.

Now, I’m no Czech nationalist, in fact I find it awkward to even pronounce the country’s name (“The Czech Republic” in English, or even worse, in French, “La Tchéquie“), ever since the breakup of Czechoslovakia. But I do love The Moldau. Anyway, I’m not here to dwell on the breakup of perfectly fine 20th century countries. That was then. This is now.

And “now” – except for Czech President Vaclav Klaus (postage stamp portrait thanks to The Brussels Journal, “The Voice of Conservatism in Europe”) – is Europe, possibly even the Europe of the post-Irish referendum Lisbon Treaty. But that doesn’t account for Mr. Klaus, who, despite Stanley Crossick’s wish in these pages, may not want to play Santa.

Certainly not for what he called, in the pages of The Brussels Journal in 2005, “Europeanism.” It’s an ism right up there in his pantheon of Bad Things, along with “NGOism,” “social-democratism,” “environmentalism,” and “technocratism”… and you know where that leads: right back to “Europeanism.”

So unless Klaus-the-ideologue has changed (looking at his personal website entry from yesterday, I doubt it), methinks the Lisbon Treaty has not been saved by my Irish friends. No, I’d say that Tony Blair or Jean-Claude Juncker (I vote for the latter) shouldn’t start their house-hunting in Brussels quite yet.

Though our worries are not over – until the seemingly embittered man in Prague gets over his fixation on isms – no point in letting it ruin your day. Just click on YouTube and listen to The Moldau, with a nice slide show of classic Czech postage stamps – don’t worry, Klaus’s portrait isn’t among them.

Gerald Loftus, former American diplomat living in Brussels, also writes in Avuncular American.

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