A wave of eurosceptic movements across the Europe is now causing “domino effect” in EU community, putting Europe is at a crossroads.
Czech President Milos Zeman stands for holding a referendum on the issue of its membership in European Union and NATO. This was announced by the President during his meeting with voters last Thursday. Milos Zeman expressed his support for the draft law on the referendum applied to the Parliament, though currently Czech legislation do not stipulate for holding this kind of voting. "I disagree with those who are for leaving the European Union," Czech Radio quoted Zeman. "But I will do everything for them to have a referendum and be able to express themselves. And the same goes for a NATO exit too."
The very next day Boguslav Sobotka, the Czech Prime-Minister, announced that Prague is not considering leaving neither EU nor NATO. Whereas Czech Republic is a parliamentary democracy, the government is responsible for the country’s foreign policy.
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There was a referendum in 2004 on entering EU, but special law was adopted prior to it.
Recall that Poland, Slovakia and Hungary made a stand against the idea of “quick integration” after Britain’s exit from the EU. The states of "Visegrad Four" expressed their doubts on timeliness of an offer by German and French Foreign Ministers on more intensive “political union” in Europe. The meeting of four foreign ministers with their German and French counterparts took place in Prague on June, 27 prior to Zeman’s announcements.
Meanwhile in neighboring Slovakia the far-right People’s Party leaders launched a petition to hold all-national referendum on leaving both EU and NATO. The only Slovakia’s referendum was about joining the EU in 2003.
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Last week Marine Le Pen’s French National Front party and Geert Wilders, the head of the Dutch Freedom Party, both called for votes. Victor Orban, the Prime Minister of Hungary, stated he would vote to leave. Right-wing parties and anti-immigrant movements in the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden have demanded referendums on membership of the union. And Italy's 5-Star movement said it would pursue its own proposal for a vote on the euro. Recall that totally three regions of Italy recognize the Crimea as a part of Russia now: Lombardy, Liguria and Veneto.
The NATO membership issues bring us back to the upcoming Warsaw NATO Summit on June 8 – 9. Though these issues are not in the agenda due to rising tension of the alliance members (Poland and the Baltic states) with the Russian Federation.
Taking all the above-mentioned, rising Euroscepticism and rising populist leaders’ popularity may affect the deep European integration, EU countries’ economies and entire international community.
With reporting from svoboda.org.