“I said several times that I was leaving politics, and the situation changed and I didn’t leave politics in the end. But I’m 79 years old, I’m looking forward to celebrating my 80th birthday, but unlike Shimon Peres, who was still president in his nineties, I’m no longer in good health to be able to afford it,” he mentioned at the beginning of the interview Zeman, that his departure from politics is apparently final. According to him, he devotes the free time he currently has to books.
Subsequently, Zeman left no stone unturned on the government of Petr Fiala (ODS). “I don’t like the amateurism of current politics. I don’t like that the Minister of Agriculture is a theologian, the Minister of Education is a musicologist, the Minister of Industry is a banker, the Minister of Finance has no economic education, the Minister of Foreign Affairs is a bachelor, while ambassadors have a mandatory master’s degree, that the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs is a farmer. And so I could go on. I don’t like it, but I’m not angry about it and I accept it with a smile,” said Zeman.
He did not want to evaluate President Petr Pavel. “I can’t speak well of him and I don’t want to speak badly of him,” said Zeman. Regarding the awarding of awards, Zeman said that each president chooses his awardees. “Although, of course, he takes into account the proposals not only of the Parliament and the government, but I also took into account the proposals of the public. A small detail is that I was a little sorry that there was a tradition that those who were honored last year were guests in the Vladislav Hall. This tradition was broken for the first time,” added Zeman.
- The first directly elected president of the Czech Republic
The word also came about the consolidation package. “Practically all of it the public, except perhaps the very wealthiest, is troubled by inflation or expensive. And the high cost is mainly caused by a significant deficit of the state budget. I don’t want to bore you with economic theories, one of them, the so-called quantity theory of money, says that inflation is a function of the amount of money in circulation. And because the government spends, sometimes spends unnecessarily, the state budget deficit is growing, and I proposed two specific measures so as not to criticize how to reduce or even stop this deficit,” said Zeman.
What would Zeman cancel?
“If the government follows the principle that, for example, we should buy super-modern fighter jets and the like, then the deficit will probably not decrease too much, and therefore inflation will not decrease too much in the coming years, and thus, unfortunately, the standard of living will decrease,” said Zeman.
“In agreement with the overwhelming majority of economists, I first proposed that the law that abolished the super gross wage be repealed. Although it was nice that thanks to this, the tax on employees was reduced, and I propose that it be returned to the original value, which would save 120 billion crowns. And the second, most economists no longer support this, this is my own proposal, and that is the abolition of various tax exemptions, the abolition of discounts for the taxpayer. And that’s another 80 billion. And since the structural deficit of the state budget, which causes inflation, is 200 billion crowns, these two measures, instead of the consolidation package, which increases taxes and thereby lowers the standard of living, these two measures would prevent inflation,” Zeman described what he would propose he.
“The worst danger you can be exposed to is a very active amateur. If the amateur is not very active, it does not do much harm either. If it’s active, let me do it, I didn’t study medicine, but I’m about to have abdominal surgery. And this is definitely the intestine, I read about it somewhere. Show me, I’ll cut that gut. This is a consolidation package,” added Zeman. He criticized the government, for example, for not saving on itself, or for buying overpriced fighter jets.
“They are trying to save by raising taxes, they are trying to save on citizens. Just take the property tax, just one more example. We have millions of single-family home owners. Garden owners and a little more. All of them will lose a few thousand a year just because property taxes will be increased,” Zeman described.
In his approach to Israel, Zeman then agrees with Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS). “I definitely do not agree with Mr. Lipavský, because I have an elephantine memory and I remember how he strove to create an inter-parliamentary association of friends with Palestine, how he was even called the Palestinian coupling because of this, and I consider his views today somewhat hypocritical. But well, one is supposed to forgive, and so I do. In any case, I think there is a big risk that this pro-Israel enthusiasm will unfortunately wane over time and that so-called latent anti-Semitism will prevail. I always define antisemitism as a collective inferiority complex. We envy the Jews that they are successful, to put it very briefly. And because many people are unsuccessful in compensating for this complex, they become anti-Semites. Consider that not only are Muslim minorities in France or Britain protesting against Israel and fighting for Palestine, but they are also often standard citizens of these countries. Loaded with just this complex. Of course, this can also happen in our country, and just like in our country, before Munich it was said: well, that Hitler is actually quite a decent guy and we should deal with him, so now the UN resolution calls for us to deal with Hamas. But my God, you should never negotiate with terrorists, whether it’s Hitler or Hamas,” remarked Zeman, who, among other things, would also stop financial aid to Palestine from the European Union.
Finally, Zeman commented on what he considers to be the greatest success during his presidency. “The biggest failure was that I was totally wrong about Vladimir Putin, because only a non-judgmental person would make such a tragic mistake as the invasion of Ukraine. Of course it hurt Ukraine, but little do people realize that this attack also hurt Russia. In a huge way. So Putin is basically the one who damaged his own country,” concluded Zeman.
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author: Vanda Efnerová
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