As young greens, we share many common beliefs and values. Yet as individuality and independence are some of our most cherished values, we also have some different positions on some issues. In order to explore these differences and understand where other young greens are coming from around Europe, we have asked different FYEG member organizations to share with us their organization’s position on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
The second in our series comes from the Czech Young Greens, Mladi zeleni from Tomas Kremen, the group’s spokesperson. Given the Czech Republic’s political history as a former member of the Warsaw Pact, the national conversation on NATO is given an extra dimension. Not only does it shows the divergent histories of Europe, it also illustrates the diversity of challenges that Greens across Europe must deal with.
Do the Czech Young Greens have an official position on NATO? If so, what is it?
We don’t have any official position on NATO.
How did this conclusion come about?
There is still a debate about our position. The common opinion is that we should do what we can to prevent any reason for NATO intervention. About participation of the Czech Republic in NATO there are different opinions. Some of us are in favour of Czech participation and some are against. But the common opinion is that the structures of NATO should be revised and improved.
How do you deal with this perspective given the Czech history?
The Czech Republic was for long time part of the soviet block so any criticism of NATO is perceived by the public with high suspicion. From the time of the Cold War, Czechs think mostly in a dualistic way. So the Warsaw Pact was bad, therefore NATO must be good. This dualism is a big problem for Greens generally because we very often offer a third way.
How do you deal with this perspective given your position within the Greens?
I think that within the Greens there are similarly different opinions as within the Czech Young Greens.
In what ways do you think that the Greens have/will affected the debate on NATO in the Czech Republic?
First of all the Greens need to find their own position. I think we can open the debate about restructuralization of NATO.
Could the Czech perspective on NATO have changed after the death of the Czech soldiers in Afghanistan a few months ago? Has it?
Not at all. There appeared very general feeling that these soldiers were heroes and therefore we should support NATO even more. Matěj Stropnický (member of the board of the Czech Green Party) questioned using the term hero. But this position wasn’t accepted even in the Green Party.
In what ways do you think the current crisis in Ukraine has impacted the debate?
It enforced the fear from Russia and also the opinion that we should be more active in NATO. The current government plan is to raise the budget of the Czech army in each of the following years.