On Thursday 23 March 2017, Professor Václav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic from 2003 to 2013, gave a lecture in the Comenius University Auditorium on the topic of “The European Union and the Euro: A Risky Experimentation with Europe”.

24. 03. 2017 13.16 hod.
By: CU Public Relations Office

Professor Klaus’s lecture was introduced by the Comenius University Vice-Rector for Science and Post-Graduate Study, Professor Peter Moczo: “We have come here to the Auditorium today to hear a lecture on Europe, the European Union, and the euro. These are issues of fundamental importance and interest to the state, society, and individuals. This is certainly not a simple matter, and therefore it is desirable to listen to all competent authorities who care about Europe.”

“As an ordinary citizen who is no expert in economics or politics, I have always connected the European Union with security and peace in Europe and with the coming together of European nations. For practical reasons, I eagerly awaited the introduction of the euro, and I am glad that we are using this currency today. And I assume that I speak for many other non-experts,” said Professor Moczo, who said that a critical expert point of view can be of help in clarifying such a complicated issue.

Professor Moczo then outlined Václav Klaus’s academic credentials as a professor of finance who remains active in a teaching role at the University of Economics in Prague. “Professor Klaus fundamentally speaks out against the mass production of associate and full professors of economics and always applies strictly scientific perspectives and international standards,” Professor Moczo said.

In his lecture, Professor Klaus expressed his firm and well-known opinion on the appropriateness of the common currency for Europe: “The euro is changing Europe in a fundamental way, certainly to a much greater extent than it is changing Slovakia. For Slovakia, using the euro is ‘just’ an exchange of one significant parameter, but for Europe it is a systematic shift and a systematic change. It seems to me that the net benefit of the euro for Slovakia is greater than the benefit for Europe, or, to be more precise, its net ‘disaffect’ for Slovakia is, in my opinion, smaller than it is for Europe.”

Professor Klaus supported peaceful cooperation between nation-states, but he thinks that the current set-up is inadequately effective and that it needs a radical reform.

Part of the lecture included a lively discussion, where the question was raised of who benefits the most from the shift from the European Community to the European Union. “First and foremost, the European political elites, who benefit from a lower level of direct democracy,” said Professor Klaus in reply. In this context, he talked about the “socialism” present in EU structures which we are unable to warn countries who have not experienced a totalitarian communist regime adequately about.

More information on Václav Klaus’s lecture can be found in the April issue of Naša univerzita magazine.