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Sobota, Jiří

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5 articles of this author have been cited in the European Press Review so far.

Respekt - Czech Republic | 31/01/2013

Cameron puts the EU on thin ice

British Prime Minister David Cameron's speech on Europe has jeopardised further European consolidation, the liberal weekly newspaper Respekt warns, adding that London must nevertheless be met half-way: "London's move verges on blackmail and threatens to set off a chain reaction. Should other states take inspiration from Cameron, the Union could change into a free-trade zone in which everyone can make their own rules to suit their own interests. Such a situation would be untenable. The demands of the British Conservatives stand in blatant contrast to the principles on which the EU is based. It is hard to imagine that such an association would work for long without being reduced to interminable squabbling. But let's be realistic, with this move the British have managed to create a situation in which the other countries will most probably offer something in return. ... If however such a compromise jeopardises the path towards a federation, it would be better to bite the bullet, shake hands with Britain and go our separate ways."

Respekt - Czech Republic | 02/01/2013

Central Europe new centre of Continent

With its EU scepticism the Czech Republic is betting on the wrong horse, according to commentators Martin M. Šimečka and Jiří Sobota. On the website of the liberal weekly Respekt the two point out that the European centre of gravity is shifting to the east and opening up new opportunities for Prague, among others: "These are opportunities of which so far above all the German and Polish politicians have been aware. The Visegrád states with their more than 50 million inhabitants are already a bigger trading partner than France. The German perspective on this region is changing. They have become a motor of integration. … From the German point of view economically liberal Central Europe could replace the liberal UK and become a counterweight to socialist France. The Czechs need to understand that the Polish initiative is good for all Visegrád states. Central Europe now has an opportunity that doesn't arise very often in history and which the Czechs have never had."

Respekt - Czech Republic | 06/01/2009

Gazprom slips into a crisis

Cutting off gas supplies to Ukraine sends a worrying message to all Europe, writes the liberal weekly Respekt. "But the current dispute also shows how in the past few months the economic situation has turned against Russia, its head of government Vladimir Putin and the powerful Gazprom company. ... At a time when the entire Russian economy is confronting huge problems, Gazprom too has slipped into a deep crisis. Right up until the end of the year Gazprom had great ambitions for large-scale cooperation and even climbed to third place behind the American giants Exxon Mobile and General Electric. In the meantime its shares have plunged by 75 percent and the company has debts amounting to 50 billion dollars. This is an unprecedented situation. None of the Western energy suppliers has reached the stage where it requires government aid in the current crisis."

Respekt - Czech Republic | 11/09/2007

Six years of the fight against terror

Jiří Sobota describes US policy since the September 11 attacks as "six lost years". "The United States played right into bin Laden's hands. But instead of focusing all its energy on catching or killing the brains behind the attack for these despicable crimes, in its usual fashion the US plunged itself into a large-scale war that had nothing to do with al-Qaida... Hundreds of thousands have died in Iraq, two million people have fled the country and another two million have been hunted out of their own homeland. Add to this the trampling of its own moral principles - the redefinition of torture and the creation of 'black holes' where the laws do not apply - and you have a terrible situation. Today it's easier than ever to convince part of the Muslim population that everyone has joined forces against them and isn't treating them fairly."

Respekt - Czech Republic | 14/12/2006

Can Europe still expand?

In his commentary Jiri Sobota also reflects on the lack of agreement between European politicians regarding Europe's future. "In Europe there are two opposing factions: those who want to improve integration and those who favour unrestricted enlargement. In the worst case the latter could lead to a situation in which Europe becomes completely unmanageable and it becomes necessary to transfer some of its powers back to individual states. Most decision-making processes require unanimity. The EU has reached its limits in this respect. In the previous waves of enlargement, both sides were left satisfied. The accession of new member countries always went hand in hand with closer cooperation owing to the Maastricht criteria and the Schengen Agreement. However, since 2004 this has no longer been the case because the European constitution has been put on ice. The lack of a European constitution blocks further enlargement of the European Union."

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