To say that President Vaclav Klaus of the Czech Republic is not liked by Euro-elitists is a grand understatement.
European media has generally bent over backwards to give European Union politicians and bureaucrats in Brussels respect and the benefit of the doubt. If there is a voter referendum that enhances EU power, the press is for it, and those in countries like Ireland who reject its advances towards smiley-faced socialism are unenlightened.
Even France's widely disliked Nicolas Sarkozy received favorable treatment from the Europhile press during his 2008 stint as EU President.
That has changed now that Klaus, a fervent advocate of democracy and ardent opponent of statism, whatever its disguises -- including "climate change" -- has taken over that office.
David Charter, Europe correspondent for the UK Times Online, led the charge last Friday (the picture and caption above is from the Times's story page), and reported that things are getting quite testy between Klaus and the Europe uber alles crowd:
EU's new figurehead believes climate change is a myth
The European Union's new figurehead believes that climate change is a dangerous myth and has compared the union to a Communist state.
The views of President Vaclav Klaus of the Czech Republic, 67, have left the government of Mirek Topolanek, his bitter opponent, determined to keep him as far away as possible from the EU presidency, which it took over from France yesterday.
The Czech president, who caused a diplomatic incident by dining with opponents of the EU’s Lisbon treaty on a recent visit to Ireland, has a largely ceremonial role.
But there are already fears that, after the dynamic EU presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy - including his hyper-active attempts at international diplomacy over the credit crisis and Georgia as well as an historic agreement to cut greenhouse gases - the Czech effort will be mired in infighting and overshadowed by the platform it will give to Mr Klaus and his controversial views.
Czech diplomats in Brussels insist that Mr Klaus is not a big part of their plans and are trying to limit him to one speech to the European Parliament in February and chairing one international summit, either the EU-Canada or EU-Russia meeting.
..... Tensions recently erupted between Mr Klaus and Brussels when a private meeting with senior MEPs descended into a slanging match after they presented him with an EU flag and said that they were not interested in his Eurosceptic views.
Mr Klaus responded: “No one has spoken to me in this style and tone in my six years here. I thought these methods ended for us 18 years ago. I see I was wrong.”
This led to a counter-attack from Mr Sarkozy in the European Parliament. He told MEPs: “The president of the European Parliament should not be treated like this and Europe’s symbols should not be treated like this, whatever people’s political engagement.”
What should not be lost in all of this is that Klaus is likely in better touch with the mood and outlook of average Europeans than the insulated bureaucrats and elitist politicians in Brussels. It's no secret that the blowback against radical steps to fight the non-problem of "climate change" is continent-wide, and growing ever more fierce.
In fact, as CCNet's Benny Peiser noted in the Wall Street Journal in mid-December, Europe has gone wobbly while the administration of the new president-elect of the US may be poised dive headfirst into the globaloney pool:
Participants at last week's United Nations climate conference in Poznan, Poland, were taken aback by a world seemingly turned upside-down. The traditional villains and heroes of the international climate narrative, the wicked U.S. and the noble European Union, had unexpectedly swapped roles. For once, it was the EU that was criticized for backpedalling on its CO2 targets while Europe's climate nemesis, the U.S., found itself commended for electing an environmental champion as president.
Thus, Klaus arrives at his supposed "figurehead" position at the EU just as European public opinion has swung dramatically his way. No wonder Europe's media is going out of its way to aspersions on him. Expect US media either to follow suit or to somehow forget one of its favorite mantras -- "we should be just like Europe" -- for at least a while.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.