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Czech Constitutional Court president: Ethnic and national self-centeredness and xenophobia are a threat to Europe

28.10.2018 19:39
Pavel Rychetský, president of the Czech Constitutional Court. (PHOTO:  Limojoe, Wikimedia Commons)
Pavel Rychetský, president of the Czech Constitutional Court. (PHOTO: Limojoe, Wikimedia Commons)

Pavel Rychetský, the president of the Czech Constitutional Court, believes that ethnic and national self-centeredness and xenophobia are a threat to Europe today. He made his remarks on 24 October during a speech on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Czechoslovakia in the reconstructed chambers of the Constitutional Court, which is also marking 25 years of activity.

Another speaker on that same occasion, Senate chair Milan Štěch (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD) warned against making hasty changes to the Constitution on the basis of the prevailing moods in society. The Constitutional Court justice said that in its day, the former Czechoslovakia had been a "good brand", a reputation that persists in many places around the globe still.

Rychetský said that over the last 100 years the state experienced rapid advances and setbacks that were all the more painful because of the speed of the progress - civic and national high points as well as failures. "We have closed our eyes to injustices more than once," he said.

The Constitutional Court president also discussed European integration and the changing relationship between the inhabitants of the continent and the European project. He said he believed the economic crisis and then the migration crisis have negatively impacted that relationship.

"I consider the growth in ethnic and national self-centeredness, xenophobia, and sometimes even anti-Semitism, to be a real danger for contemporary Europe," Rychetský said. He also said that the image of dead refugees washing up on Mediterranean beaches occupied by European tourists is a shameful sign of contemporary times.

Sending billions of euro to authoritarian regimes so they will prevent their citizens from emigrating will never compensate for the moral failure that image represents, the Constitutional Court president said. As for Senator Štěch, he said the Czech upper chamber should prevent any hasty adjustments to the Constitution that some politicians might propose in order to respond to societal moods.

Štěch warned that politicians are sometimes willing to go too far. The gathering was attended by current and previous Constitutional Court justices, other representatives of the judiciary, and politicians.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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nationalism, Racism, Xenophobia, Antisemitismus



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