Vít Dostál and Kryštof Kruliš are authors of the chapter about Czech European policy which is part of the common publication of TOPAZ, Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung
The EU is experiencing a complicated situation. It is losing influence over its neighbourhood, which is no longer a belt of partners and allies but a source of instability. European integration faces the populism which led to Brexit, complicating the solution to the global refugee crisis and blocking the deepening of the trade policy. Although all these areas have affected the Czech Republic, its foreign policy remains reactive, disputed and incapable of facing radicalization in a society connected with political populism. The new architects of Czech foreign policy, which appeared with the ascendance of the centre-left government, failed to bring to life the promised awakening of Czech foreign policy, write both authors in the conclusion.
The below-mentioned recommendations purposefully exceed the current government’s term of office. It should be viewed as an agenda which the government formed after the 2017 parliamentary elections should follow.
• The Czech Republic should pay attention not only to the defence of the four freedoms but also to the openness of the market during the Brexit negotiations.
• The Czech Republic should balance its peripheral position towards the Eurozone by its activity in the questions of the future of the EU (such as a common defence policy) and work at preserving the liberal internal market.
• Signing free trade agreements with Canada and the US is in the Czech interest. If they are not successfully completed or the ratification fails, we should demand their reopening.
• The Czech Republic should be more vigorous in defence of the EU enlargement policy and strive to enforce a more open approach in the next European Commission.
• The Czech contribution to the stabilization of the European neighbourhood could be far more conspicuous. In this respect, it should not undermine the European consensus towards Russia and Turkey and should significantly increase Czech transition transformative development and humanitarian assistance.