In the Czech interest
He added that the Czech Republic helps refugees, especially women and children, to save their lives. It has accepted over 400,000 Ukrainians, currently around 280,000 of them live here and 120,000 of them are employed, so they bring financial resources to the health and social system. “The fact that we support Ukraine in its just fight against Russia is in the Czech national interest. Our procedure protects the safety of citizens. No one has to worry that it would be at the expense of the Czech public. The fact that we help is correct morally, politically and strategically, and it is not even disadvantageous,” emphasized Fiala. He added that in this direction he is meeting with great support and understanding from citizens. “Thanks to the solidarity of our people, we managed to handle the huge wave of refugees so well,” he said.
Would Petr Fiala send his children to Ukraine? The Prime Minister explained his position on the war
The presenter stated that no more than 25 billion crowns should go to help Ukrainians, which is half of the originally anticipated amount. However, the support of Czech citizens will be many times greater, especially after Monday’s approval of the fixing of gas and electricity prices. Nevertheless, politicians fail to convince citizens that this is so.
Governments versus citizens
Journalist Lída Rakušanová, for example, recalled the open letter of sixteen representatives of craft guilds from Saxony-Anhalt to German Chancellor Scholz, in which it is written: “The vast majority of society does not want to sacrifice its hard-built standard of living to Ukraine. It’s not our war after all”. A recent survey from Slovakia, in which the Slovak Academy of Sciences also took part, brought alarming numbers. When asked whether Ukraine or Russia should win the war, thirty percent of people answered that Ukraine should win, but more than half said that Russia. Less than a fifth said they did not know.
“Let’s not forget that we went through a period of thirty years of rising living standards, security. And suddenly there is a war three hundred kilometers from the Czech border, which makes a lot of people uneasy. My job is not to respond to public opinion polls, but to do the right thing for the benefit of the citizens. And that is to support Ukraine so that Russia cannot continue to pursue its aggressive policy towards Europe. We did not choose the war, Vladimir Putin started it, including the economic one, and he is waging it with the countries of the European Union,” commented the Prime Minister.
You can watch Petr Fiala’s debate on energy here:
War as a consequence of the West’s weakness
What does Petr Fiala say about the comments of his opponents that the West chose war by not trying to negotiate with Russia, by not providing guarantees regarding the neutrality of Ukraine and its non-membership in NATO?
“On the contrary, the war is one of the consequences of the West’s very weak reaction to the annexation of Crimea, which was a violation of all agreements and guarantees given by Russia.” He recalled that Western statesmen repeatedly conducted negotiations with Vladimir Putin, even after the war began. The one who does not want to act is the Russian president: “Only if we show that his policy does not work and what we are witnessing now, that is the withdrawal of Russian troops, can bring him back to the negotiating table.” The current Ukrainian counter-offensive is some hope, but won according to the prime minister, it is definitely not. Only thanks to their bravery and Western military technology can the Ukrainians manage to fight against huge odds. “I am glad that the Czech Republic is also a significant part of their efforts,” he added.
Who goes to the demonstrations?
At the end, the debate turned again to the issue of mass demonstrations, their convenors and participants. Does the government manage to explain to the citizens, its voters and especially the non-voters that their protests are useless, because they will get a lot of help from the state? And how will they react to the fact that while the ministries of transport, regional development, education and culture will be cut in the budget, defense will receive 110 billion crowns next year?
Capping electricity prices and the war tax will be within a month, Fiala promised in the debate
“We explain it. The upcoming elections, which the opposition wants to make a referendum on the government, will show a lot. But we will mainly answer in the parliamentary elections in three years. The citizens will decide whether we should continue or not. I repeat that I do what I consider to be right for the Czech Republic, even at the cost that not everyone is applauding me at every moment.”
According to him, it is the leader’s duty to name things truthfully. He did not evaluate the demonstrators on Wenceslas Square, but the organizers. “People wrote to me that they went to protest against high energy prices, but if they knew who was organizing it, they wouldn’t have gone there. They’ll be careful next time. My task was to warn people that it was called by forces that do not think well of the Czech Republic. This does not mean that we underestimate citizens’ concerns. That’s why the government has taken measures such as capping energy prices and huge help in the form of the Umbrella Against Expensiveness,” Prime Minister Petr Fiala concluded.
In the next ten-minute interview with the prime minister, we will address the question of who will be the presidential candidate of the Spolu coalition. On Thursday only at denik.cz.