Monday, 25 March 2019

Politico server: Babiš is most powerful man in Czech Republic

ČTK |
30 October 2015

Brussels, Oct 29 (CTK correspondent) - Czech Finance Minister and businessman Andrej Babis "is what Donald Trump wants to be - the most powerful man in his country," the server Politico writes in an article on Babis yesterday.
Like other billionaires, such as Silvio Berlusconi and Trump, Babis, 61, uses his money and connections to be "the anti-political politician, a man whose wealth allows him to stand seemingly aloof from the petty bickering, deal making and often corruption that afflicts ordinary politics," the server writes.
Politico also focuses on Babis's ANO (which stands for the "Action of Dissatisfied Citizens" and has an acronym that translates as "yes") and its programme that is pro-business and not particularly ideological.
"I don’t need politics. My life would be better without this job," Babis told Politico.
Even in power, Babis continues to present himself as an outsider, and his "distaste for day-to-day political give and take" seems to be authentic, the server says.
Babis is deputy PM in the centre-left coalition government comprised of the Social Democrats (CSSD), his ANO movement and Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL).
"In a coalition you cannot govern, you can moderate. You have to make compromises, it takes too much time. To decide you always make a commission and impact studies," the server cites Babis as complaining about the coalition governing.
Politico also points out that under Babis's management of the Finance Ministry, the state debt is falling and the economy is growing and tenders for public contracts are more transparent than they used to be, though not without shortcomings.
The server mentions Babis's past, his membership of the pre-1989 Communist Party (KSC) and suspicion of collaboration with the Czechoslovak secret police (StB). He was cleared of the accusation by a Slovak court, which confirmed that he was wrongly registered as a secret agent.
"He got rich in the murky post-communist 1990s," the server writes about Babis.
It also reminds of his Agrofert concern’s recent media acquisitions.
"He now concentrates political, economic and media power to the extent that has been unprecedented in this country since 1989. He is at permanent risk of conflict of interest," the server cites PM Bohuslav Sobotka (CSSD) as saying earlier this year.
The server also highlights Babis's criticism of the EU.
"Europe is completely bureaucratic. It is unacceptable that somebody in Brussels can decide on migration for us. If Mother [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel has invited these people, she has to take them," Babis said in an interview with Politico about the current refugee crisis.
Politico also writes that Babis has recommended that NATO change its view of Russia being the biggest problem. "Ukraine is not ready for the European Union and Ukraine was always under the influence of Russia," he told the server, commenting on the current strongest source of tension between the West and Russia.
Babis also recently sent a letter to The Washington Post (WP) daily in which he protested against being ranked among pro-Russian politicians in its article entitled "Russia's New Kind of Friends" by Anne Applebaum.
hol/mr/rtj

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