Pavel: We cannot be between the West and the East

Petr Hloušek

President-elect Petr Pavel rejected the idea that the Czech Republic could be a bridge between the West and the East, as his predecessors Václav Klaus and Miloš Zeman had sought to do. Pavel did so in an interview with the French newspaper Le Monde, adding that the role of such a bridge was “special.”

“I am convinced that there is no position in the middle. We must be clear about what world we belong to: it is a world of democracies, not a world of more or less authoritarian governments,” Pavel said. “I am not saying that the EU and NATO are perfect, but they are the best alternatives,” he added.

Pavel also described it as almost impossible to talk to the current Russian leadership. “How can you talk to someone waging a war of aggression, sending missiles almost every day at civilian targets and threatening the world with a nuclear apocalypse?” Pavel asked, saying Moscow must first change its attitude.

The incoming president, who will take office on Thursday, also advocated supplying more weapons to Ukraine and fighters jets in the longer term. The delivery of new aircraft requires at least six months of pilot training, Pavel said.