## Friday, July 01, 2016 ... /////

### Slovakia takes over the EU presidency

First, the Austrian Constitutional Court has agreed with suspicion held by people like me that there were irregularities in the voting that could have affected up to 77,000 votes. Those could have gone the other way and the gap was just 31,000. So the judges annulled the results and ordered the 2nd round of the presidential elections to be re-run. They emphasized that they have no proof that the leftists have stolen something from Hofer that belonged to him but they couldn't erase the doubts, either. Hofer may beat the little green man or not – I don't know in what direction Austria has moved.

A few days ago, Hofer suggested that Austria could hold its own referendum on Oustria assuming that the EU keeps on moving in a wrong direction.

"Lightnings over Tatras" are the dramatic lyrics of the Slovak anthem – that has been a part of "our" anthem for almost 1/2 of my life – added by Jánko Matúška to represent the revolutionary chaos around 1848. The melody was taken from a folk song, She was digging a well and she was looking into the black hole. I could give you lots of "urban" Slovak music but these rural songs paint quite an accurate picture of the bulk of Slovakia.

Meanwhile, our Slovak brothers took over the EU presidency today – from the Netherlands. Czechia had this duty 7.5 years earlier. (Čech and Jágr starring in the video clip were already very old athletes and now, 7.5 years later, they still play!) It's widely expected that Brexit and illegal immigration will be the main topics. Slovakia has insisted that the EU has been going in an arrogant direction and national Parliaments etc., including those outside the largest countries, have to be listened to. However, it's been also said that Slovakia wants to move the enlargement efforts forward, especially when it comes to Serbia. Note that Serbia and the EU "authorities" disagree about the permanency of the separation of Kosovo from Serbia.

Slovakia also plans an informal summit about the (post-Brexit) future of the EU for September. The country may want to emphasize its experience from the Velvet Divorce and not only help the U.K. to leave the EU but maybe also help Scotland to leave the U.K. ;-)

Their flashy presidency video is 3 weeks old and it has already been seen by 61 viewers or so – a great rate of \$50,000 per viewer.

Meanwhile, Czech president Miloš Zeman, a self-described EU federalist, has promised to do everything for a referendum on Czechia's membership in the EU and in NATO. He will vote "Remain", we're told. It seems that Zeman wants to play exactly the same role as Cameron did. That's quite funny – I am not sure what he really thinks about these matters. On one hand, he really pretends to be a big EU supporter – although it's obvious that the actual EU establishment views him as just a "slight improvement" over his predecessor Klaus. On the other hand, it's extremely likely that Czechs would vote "Leave" in a Czech-out referendum. So his support for such a referendum is basically a support for an almost guaranteed Czech-out!

The current Czech government is against such a referendum right now. Clearly, lots of politicians in other countries watch these discussions and say that a referendum would be a bad idea.

There have been lots of opinions about Czech-out after the referendum ended up with the Brexit result. In particularly, a happy Václav Klaus turned out to be a man who said that right now, we have a rare opportunity to reform the EU. I agree with that. Brexit is such a blow to the arrogant Brussels-based centralizers of power that we should try to work on the hypothesis that the Europeans may retake the control over their countries and that the EU may be turned to something harmless. Some structures will always exist at the European level, he admits.

You know, the point is that I believe – and probably he believes – that the wrong trends in the EU in recent years are wrong not only from the Czech perspective. So they should be fixed – not only for us but also for other Europeans. Our departure from the EU could be viewed as a "small solution" to the problems and we may be more ambitious right now. On top of that, I am pretty sure that I would vote to remain in NATO!

The Czech billionaire finance minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) said that the EU shouldn't be arrogant and it shouldn't try to kick out the U.K. quickly. By this pronouncement, he has joined the finance minister Lubomír Zaorálek (social democracy) who previously said the same thing. Both government parties have apparently copied these opinions from the center-right opposition party, ODS. Just in a recent TV debate, Zahradil was saying "no need to hurry" while Zaorálek was saying something else. But I feel that ODS and especially Klaus' and similar (e.g. my) opinions are generally considered "vindicated" in Czechia right now and many other politicians may simply try to copy them faithfully.

Babiš also stated that Czechia would only adopt the euro over his dead (political) body. Thankfully, Poland started to regain its common sense and they say similar things about the Euro right now.

Off-topic, funny: Maybe the British jury wanted to look "welcoming" to the residents from the post-communist Europe so they turned this self-evident faux pas (how the Czech media call it) into an apparent hit. ;-) The "singer" is a Prague-born manager in McDonald's and a gym instructor and it's his song. Except that his job isn't quite manual, he could very well join the guys at the Eastern Europe Style where Czechia was omitted. Next time, we will send someone like Annie Dajdou to represent us, that will surely revolutionize the British pop scene. ;-)