Babiš praises Orbán and himself

“Tomorrow I will tell the truth”, announced Andrej Babiš a few days ago on social networks. The scoffers then asked why the Czech prime minister doesn’t always do it. The head of government in Prague needed explanations enough.

There is the “stork’s nest” case of EU grants actually aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises, which poured into the conglomerate Agrofert von Babiš in 2008. The Czech police therefore recommended that the Prime Minister at the end of May. In addition, the EU Prosecutor’s Office is now also dealing with allegations that Babiš was in conflict of interest over the Brussels grants while he was finance minister from 2014 and prime minister from 2017.

The next day, Babiš kept his word and unpacked. He published a 450-page book that Czechs can download for free from the Internet. In it, however, the head of government is unwilling to argue about his own mistakes. On the contrary, compatriots should find out about three months before the legislative elections what his qualities are.

“Everything we have done for the people is here,” Babiš announced in the introduction. All his encounters with presidents, heads of government and even with an emperor are documented. And he, Babiš, personally hit a double-digit billion for the Czech Republic in Brussels. The title of the book also speaks for itself: “Share it before they ban it”. He suggests that the politically powerful man in the country and owner of multiple media outlets runs the risk of being censored by envious opponents.

Babiš’s critics are also mobilizing

From Babiš’s perspective, however, it is understandable that the enterprising politician mobilizes potential supporters by any means. Because Babi’s reviews are also appearing vehemently in the book market. Anyone who walks into the famous “Luxor” bookstore in Wenceslas Square in Prague will immediately see tall book towers with journalist Jaroslav Kmenta’s bestseller.

He writes on Babiš’s “Palermo” and therefore on the omissions he accuses the Prime Minister – starting with his conflicts of interest, through supposedly neglected reforms in the management of the pandemic, which brought the Republic Czech Republic with the highest number of infections in Europe in autumn 2020. The country’s political literature does not seem to call for deliberation. Instead, it’s usually for or against someone.

Tough relations with Brussels: Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (here with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Prague on July 19, 2021) faces allegations of having obtained EU grants by fraud. : Image: EPA

The question is whether Andrej Babiš with his brochure can influence the election campaign in his own name to such an extent that he can continue to govern with his ANO party. “Babiš can only influence a few voters directly with the book because most people won’t read it – not even for free,” said Prague political scientist Jiří Pehe from FAZ. But: Babiš controls two dailies and several television channels. These media would spread the news that Babiš wrote a book in which he claims that most of what he has done so far is great. Moreover, specifies Pehe, “his critics will also speak about the book, which paradoxically can help him”.

Is Babiš taking a critical path towards the EU?

The information portal Seznam Zprávy critically comments on the book of the head of government. Whose book commentator writes is “full of scary tactics.” It refers to statements on migration policy. “No! No !! No !!! No to quotas. No to compulsory redistribution. Not a single migrant. Just NO,” is the crudest of them. In other EU member states, too, Babiš calls Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán a “true friend”.

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Referring to Orbán’s ideas, Babiš even asks Czech mothers to have more children – 2.1 children per mother instead of 1.7 – “so that our nation does not become extinct”. If Prague is so far less on the road to confrontation with Brussels than Warsaw and Budapest, it remains to be seen how Babiš will behave after a possible re-election.

According to current polls, the re-election and re-election of Prime Minister Babiš is possible. According to political scientist Pehe, the question of whether Babiš wrote the book himself did not play a role in the debate on the book: “Certainly not.

Posted / updated: Recommended: 12 Thomas Gutschker, Brussels Posted / updated:, Recommended: 11 Niklas Zimmermann Posted / updated:, Recommended: 20

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