Global Warming Denier And Milton Friedman Fan To Assume EU Presidency

November 25th, 2008at 06:46am Posted by Eli

Awesome.

Mr. Klaus, the 67-year-old president of the Czech Republic — an iconoclast with a perfectly clipped mustache — continues to provoke strong reactions. He has blamed what he calls the misguided fight against global warming for contributing to the international financial crisis, branded Al Gore an “apostle of arrogance” for his role in that fight, and accused the European Union of acting like a Communist state.

Now the Czech Republic is about to assume the rotating presidency of the European Union and there is palpable fear that Mr. Klaus will embarrass the world’s biggest trading bloc and complicate its efforts to address the economic crisis and expand its powers. His role in the Czech Republic is largely ceremonial, but he remains a powerful force here, has devotees throughout Europe and delights in basking in the spotlight.

(…)

An economist by training and a free marketeer by ideology, Mr. Klaus has criticized the course set by the union’s departing leader, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France. The ambitious Mr. Sarkozy has used France’s European Union presidency to push an agenda that includes broader and more coordinated regulation by the largest economies to tame the worst of the market’s excesses.

Even those who worry about Mr. Klaus’s potential role as a spoiler concede that his influence over policy in the European Union will be circumscribed, given his largely symbolic functions as president in the Czech Republic.

But Mr. Klaus’s sheer will and inflammatory talk — the eminent British historian Timothy Garton Ash once called him “one of the rudest men I have ever met” — are likely to have some impact.

“Klaus is a provocateur who will twist his arguments to get attention,” said Jiri Pehe, a former adviser to Vaclav Havel, Mr. Klaus’s rival and predecessor as president.

(…)

A fervent critic of the environmental movement, he has called global warming a dangerous “myth,” arguing that the fight against climate change threatens economic growth.

Perhaps his greatest ire has been reserved for the European Union. In 2005, he called for it to be “scrapped.” Now, he is a vocal opponent of the Lisbon Treaty, which aims to help Europe become more of an international player, but which he argues will strip countries of sovereignty.

(…)

Born in 1941, he obtained an economics degree in 1963 and was deeply influenced by free market economists like Milton Friedman.

(…)

Mr. Havel recalled in his memoirs that Mr. Klaus had an aversion “to the rest of us, whom he had clearly consigned to the same Dumpster, with a sign on it saying ‘left-wing intellectuals.’ ”

I really do hope that his powers are as limited as the story says – this guy sounds like seriously bad news.

Still, good thing Klaus wasn’t EU prez sooner – he and Dubya would have been like soulmates.

Entry Filed under: Environment,Foreign Policy,Politics


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