Václav Klaus

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Václav Klaus (2015)
Signature of Václav Klaus

Václav Klaus (born June 19, 1941 in Prague , then Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia ) is a Czech politician and economist . He was chairman of the Citizens' Forum (1990–1991) and the ODS (1991–2002). He also held the highest state offices in the Czech Republic : from 1992 to 1998 he was Prime Minister, from 1998 to 2002 Chairman of the Chamber of Deputies and from 2003 to 2013 President . Together with the Slovakian Vladimír Mečiar he was responsible for the division of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic into two sovereign states at the beginning of 1993.

Private life and professional career

Klaus graduated from the University of Economics in Prague (VŠE) in 1963 with a degree in foreign trade economics . In the 1960s he completed courses in Italy and the USA . From 1971 to 1986 he worked in various positions at the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences (ČSAV), the then Czechoslovak Central Bank ( Státní banka československá , Czechoslovak State Bank, from which the Czech National Bank and the Slovak National Bank emerged) and most recently at the Academy's Forecasting Institute of Sciences ( Prognostický ústav ČSAV ), where he dealt with macroeconomics . He held seminars and lectures at the ČNB, but also in private circles close to dissidents . Non-Marxist economic theories were also discussed at these meetings. He had hardly identified with the dissidents around Václav Havel , for example .

He was Prime Minister of the Czech Republic from July 1992 to January 1998 . He was elected President of the Czech Republic in February 2003 and re-elected in 2007. He is considered to be the most important man behind the reforms to introduce a free market economy in the Czech Republic and as the man who - together with the Slovak Vladimír Mečiar - most of all contributed to the division of Czechoslovakia and the creation of two sovereign states, the Czech Republic and Slovakia , has contributed.

He is married to Livia Klausová , b. Mištinová, the daughter of a former employee of the State Security Apparatus of the fascist First Slovak Republic . The Klaus couple have two sons and five grandchildren. His son Václav Klaus jun. was director of an elite high school in Prague until 2014 and became a member of the Chamber of Deputies for the ODS in the House of Representatives elections in the Czech Republic in 2017 , but was expelled from the ODS in March 2019. Then Václav Klaus jun. its own party called Trikolóra .

Velvet Revolution and ODS

During the turning point in November 1989, which was soon called the " Velvet Revolution " in Czechoslovakia , and during the subsequent new appointments to the highest state offices, Klaus initially found contact with the circles around the new President Václav Havel. From October 1990 he was chairman of the large citizens 'movement Občanské fórum (Citizens' Forum, OF ). As early as December 1989, he became the Czechoslovak finance minister in the first non-communist government of Marián Čalfa I , and in 1991 he was also deputy prime minister . In 1991, the Citizens' Forum split into the left-wing liberal citizens' movement ( Občanské hnutí , OH) under the leadership of Foreign Minister Jiří Dienstbier and the conservative, economically liberal Democratic Citizens' Party ( Občanská democická strana , ODS), which Klaus took over as chairman and held it until 2002. As finance minister, Klaus pushed through a rapid and extensive privatization, also by means of coupon privatization . The transformation process is widely criticized today, but Klaus still regards it as a success.

In July 1992, the ODS emerged victorious in the Czech Republic both in the elections to the Czech National Council and to the Czechoslovak general parliament ( Federální shromáždění , Federation Assembly ). Klaus then became Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, at that time still a part of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic (ČSFR). He became convinced that Czechoslovakia continued to exist would not be effective. After negotiations with the Slovak Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar, the state was divided into two independent republics on January 1, 1993, although more than two thirds of the population in both parts of the country sympathized with the preservation of Czechoslovakia. Klaus is still criticized by the opponents of division for his decision. In 1996, however, Klaus was confirmed in the office of prime minister after the ODS won the election.

The reign of Václav Klaus was characterized by a radical, market-oriented economic policy, the establishment of Czech statehood and anchoring in western structures while at the same time cutting ties to Eastern Europe. While his government pushed for accession to NATO despite great skepticism in the population, it pursued the rapprochement with the European Union (EU) rather cautiously and with sometimes clear criticism of the Brussels “dirigism”. Klaus' sometimes authoritarian political style, described by many critics as arrogant, repeatedly led to tensions within the governing coalition.

When the governing coalition broke up as a result of an ODS fundraising affair and individual politicians left this party, Klaus had to resign as Prime Minister in November 1997. He remained in office until the takeover of the government of Josef Tošovský under the non-party Prime Minister Josef Tošovský on January 2, 1998.

After the early elections in July 1998, his party supported the minority government of the ČSSD (Czech Social Democratic Party). Klaus and Miloš Zeman , his successor as prime minister, signed the so-called “ opposition treaty ”, which they initiated together. On the basis of an agreement, Klaus was elected chairman of the House of Representatives of Parliament as the representative of the ODS .

After the election defeat of the ODS in June 2002 - after which the Social Democrat Vladimír Špidla became head of government - Klaus resigned as party leader and became honorary chairman of the ODS. He also resigned the last-mentioned post in his former party on December 6, 2008 after falling out with the new party leadership under Mirek Topolánek because of what he saw as an excessively EU-friendly course.

President and political positions

Václav Klaus as President (2009)

On February 28, 2003, Klaus was elected President of the Czech Republic by a narrow majority after the post of Head of State had been vacant for almost a month after several unsuccessful election attempts.

On February 15, 2008, Klaus was elected President for another term. In the third vote of the second round of elections of both houses of parliament, he received the necessary number of votes.

Klaus describes himself as a follower of Margaret Thatcher , Ronald Reagan , Milton Friedman , Friedrich Hayek .

Klaus spoke out against the legal equality of homosexuals several times and vetoed the introduction of the registered partnership ("registrované partnerství"), which he described as state "overregulation". Parliament overruled the veto in March 2006.

Václav Klaus sees himself as a classic liberal and advocate of the free market economy . With his political positions, Klaus stands in clear contrast to his predecessor in the presidential office, Václav Havel, who was one of his harshest critics.

Climate change deniers

Klaus is a pronounced climate change denier who, in several speeches, including before the European Parliament and the UN General Assembly , questioned the decisive role humans play in global warming . In a book he wrote (the German translation of the Blue Planet in Green Fetters: What is Threatened: Climate or Freedom? Published in 2007), he describes climate protection as “eco-terrorism”; the book has been translated into several languages. Among other things, he compared global warming with communism and maintained very close ties with climate-skeptical American lobby organizations and think tanks such as the Heartland Institute .

Klaus defended the retention of the Beneš decrees and has repeatedly expressed skepticism about the EU . In particular, he sees the sovereignty of the individual member states endangered by the Treaty of Lisbon , which he strictly rejects. In a speech to the European Parliament on February 19, 2009, he confirmed this rejection, whereupon several MEPs left the plenary chamber in protest during the speech. The Lisbon Treaty was approved by both chambers of the Czech Parliament, but was blocked until the end by Klaus, who refused to sign it. Immediately after a decision by the Czech Constitutional Court on the submission of a group of senators to the Lisbon Treaty, Václav Klaus signed the Czech instrument of ratification of the Lisbon Treaty on November 3, 2009. When promulgating their decision, the constitutional judges emphasized that such a blockade of international agreements would border on obstruction. Klaus was also criticized by parts of the public and some media for having exceeded his competencies and tried to assert his personal opinion as that of the Czech Republic. “The Czechs do not live in a presidential dictatorship or in a presidential system . Even if Klaus has asked the government to negotiate an opt-out with the EU , he has no authority to do so, as this is exclusively a matter for parliament according to the Czech constitution. "

On March 4, 2013, a few days before he left the presidency, the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic decided to indict Klaus with high treason before the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic . The allegation was based primarily on an amnesty for several thousand prisoners ordered by Klaus at the beginning of 2013 . As a result of the amnesty, trials of financial fraudsters accused of depriving large numbers of people of considerable sums of money were also suspended. In addition, the complaint was based on repeated delays in the appointment of constitutional judges and the refusal to conclude the ratification of the Treaty on the European Stability Mechanism with his signature . The Constitutional Court announced on March 27, 2013 that it had not initiated any proceedings because Klaus was no longer in office. The Constitutional Court made no substantive statement on the allegations.

After the presidency ends

Against the background of the conflict in eastern Ukraine in 2014 , Klaus said in April 2014 that, in his opinion, Russia or its President Vladimir Putin was not to be blamed for the situation in Ukraine , but primarily the West , especially the EU and the USA. He described the conflict as unsolvable.

During the refugee crisis in Europe in 2015 , he criticized Chancellor Angela Merkel and German politics in 2015 . That collective immigration has positive long-term effects is a “naive idea”. It is "childish" to believe that immigrants become new people through re-education. Klaus expressed concern about the future of European civilization. German politics are doing Europe a disservice.

In April 2016, he appeared as a guest speaker at the party convention of Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), where he acknowledged the party's demands and called it a fan. Czech media also reported extensively about his repeated appearance at the AfD, which themselves classified the AfD as right-wing populist and in this context cited Klaus, who described the “demonization of the party” in “certain political and intellectual circles” and in the media in Germany as absurd . In November 2016, Klaus supported the Austrian FPÖ's candidate for the federal presidential election , Norbert Hofer, as a speaker at an event . Klaus declared that “mass migration” would “destroy” Europe even without terrorism and that one could “almost speak of a war in Europe”. On the one hand there would be people like Hofer, the FPÖ boss Strache and the newly elected US President Donald Trump , on the other hand there would be the "autistic, arrogant and aggressive" elite. She would embody political correctness , moralism , cultural Marxism and manipulation - "like Mrs. Merkel".

In October 2019, Václav Klaus appeared again at an AfD event. As a guest speaker for the Bavarian AfD parliamentary group at the ceremony for the Day of German Unity on October 3, 2019, Klaus underlined his criticism of Europe and further stated that his political position was "not far removed from the AfD position".

honors and awards


Klaus is a member of the Mont Pelerin Society and the Cato Institute . In December 2014, the Cato Institute cut ties with Klaus because of his defense of the Russian stance in the Ukraine conflict, because of which he had got into an argument with the president of the foundation, Putin's former advisor, Andrei Nikolayevich Illarionov .


  • Europe? , context Verlag , Augsburg 2011. ISBN 978-3-939645-35-1
  • Blue planet in green fetters. What is threatened: climate or freedom? , Carl Gerolds Sohn, Vienna 2007. ISBN 978-3-900812-15-7
  • Migration of peoples: Brief explanation of the current migration crisis (with Jiří Weigl). Translated from the Czech by Andrea Schneider. Waltrop; Leipzig: Edition Sonderwege, 2016. ISBN 978-3-944872-30-8

Web links

Commons : Václav Klaus  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Robert Eringer: Vaclav Klaus Exposed ( Memento of the original from October 6, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. ; October 5, 2010 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / recolumns.blogspot.com
  2. Klausův tchán pracoval u tajné policie fašistického Slovenska ; Lidovky.cz , January 9, 2013
  3. ODS vyloučila Václava Klause mladšího. 'Dlouhodobě nás poškozuje,' uvedla ; Lidovky.cz, March 16, 2019
  4. Klaus defends privatization ; Radio Praha International , October 31, 2019
  5. Mladá fronta Dnes of September 24, 1991, p. 1
  6. Anneke Hudalla: foreign policy in times of transformation. The European Policy of the Czech Republic 1993–2000 , Münster 2003.
  7. President Klaus resigns the honorary chairmanship of his own party ( memento of the original from January 15, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , Radio Prague, message dated December 6, 2008 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.radio.cz
  8. Vaclav Klaus becomes president , article from February 28, 2003 on Spiegel Online
  9. Orf.at : Czech Republic: Vaclav Klaus President again (no longer available online)
  10. BBC News : Czech MPs approve gay rights law , March 15, 2006
  11. ^ Radio Praha March 15, 2006: The Czech Republic is the first post-communist country to agree to "gay marriage"
  12. ^ Daniel Johnson: Václav Havel, playwright turned president ; The Daily Telegraph , June 15, 2008
  13. Helena Kysela: Prague election hurdles ; Focus Online , February 8, 2008
  14. Kari De Pryck, Francois Gemenne: The denier-in-chief: Climate Change, Science and the Election of Donald J. Trump . In: Law Critique . 2017, doi : 10.1007 / s10978-017-9207-6 .
  15. European Parliament: Manuscript of the speech by Václav Klaus (PDF, 5 pages) (German)
  16. Tagesschau: Czech President causes scandal "Carnival speech" in the EU Parliament ( Memento from February 20, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  17. Christina Janssen, ARD radio studio Prague: Portrait of Vaclav Klaus Profile of a refuser. Retrieved on November 3, 2009, 11:28 am.
  18. Christina Janssen, ARD radio studio Prague: One last thunderstorm of the imperturbable . Retrieved November 4, 2009
  19. Jan Macháček , journalist for the weekly Respekt , in an interview with the Czech Radio on November 3, 2009.
  20. according to FAZ of January 24, 2013, p. 6 ( The old game with nationalism ), he released about a third of all Czech prisoners and forced the courts to close numerous ongoing proceedings, including in corruption cases.
  21. Klaus Brill: Amnesty in the Czech Republic - Prominent Profiteurs ; Süddeutsche.de , January 5, 2013. Czech Senate sues outgoing President Vaclav Klaus ; Spiegel Online, March 4, 2013
  22. Prezident k soudu ; in: Mladá Fronta Dnes of March 5, 2013.
  23. Je Klaus velezrádce? Soud neřekl , in: Mladá Fronta Dnes of March 28, 2013.
  24. ČT24 (Czech television station): Klaus: Ukrajina se musí rozhodnout sama. Západ způsobil neřešitelný conflict. In: ceskatelevize.cz, April 22, 2014
  25. FAZ.net December 23, 2014: American think tank fires Václav Klaus ( Cato Institute )
  26. ^ Václav Klaus: Merkel is doing Europe a disservice. Die Welt, September 15, 2015, accessed on September 20, 2015 .
  27. ^ The National Conservatives , Süddeutsche Zeitung, May 1, 2016, online at: faz.net / ... ; Václav Klaus cuddles with Frauke Petry , Die Tageszeitung, online at: taz.de / ...
  28. zakaz MESIT a burek. AfD, na jejímž sjezdu vystoupil i Klaus, schválila nový program , Lidové noviny, May 1, 2016, online at: lidovky.cz / ... ; Démonizace AfD je absurdní, prohlásil na sjezdu strany Klaus. Sám se označil za 'fanouška' , Lidové noviny, April 30, 2016, online at: www.lidovky.cz / ...
  29. Katharina Mittelstaedt: Vaclav Klaus at FPÖ: "You can almost speak of war in Europe. In: derstandard.at, November 18, 2016, accessed on December 5, 2016, 12:24 pm.
  30. Ex-Czech President Klaus complains about the EU , in: Süddeutsche Zeitung, October 3, 2019, online at: sueddeutsche.de / ...
  31. ^ University of Passau: honorary doctorates from the Faculty of Economics ; Retrieved March 5, 2013
  32. European Craft Prize. North Rhine-Westphalian Crafts Day V., accessed on March 10, 2015 .
  33. ^ Bernhard Harms Medal. (No longer available online.) Ifw-kiel.de , archived from the original on April 13, 2014 ; Retrieved June 15, 2013 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.ifw-kiel.de
  34. Prezident Vaclav Klaus zahájil třídenní pracovní návštěvu Ústeckého kraje. In: KR-Ustecky.eu , October 15, 2007 (with pictures of the award).
  35. http://www.radio.cz/de/rubrik/nachrichten/klaus-erhaelt-puschkin-medaille-von-putin Klaus receives the Pushkin Medal from Putin on December 27, 2007 from Martina Schneibergová, Radio Praha, accessed on 23 December 2014. "On Thursday the Czech President Václav Klaus received the Pushkin Medal, which he was awarded by his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. According to Klaus, the award is a further confirmation of good Czech-Russian relations that are gradually becoming normal The medal is awarded for the promotion of the Russian language, the preservation of cultural heritage and the rapprochement between peoples. President Klaus was presented the medal by the Russian ambassador Alexei Fedotov at the Prague Castle. The ambassador also praised the good Russian language skills of the Presidents ".
  36. ^ Hayek Foundation, Prize Winner 2009. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on April 13, 2009 ; Retrieved May 12, 2009 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.hayek-stiftung.de
  37. List of all decorations awarded by the Federal President for services to the Republic of Austria from 1952 (PDF; 6.9 MB)
  38. a b http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/12/22/vaclav-klaus-libertarian-hero-has-his-wings-clipped-by-cato-institute.html James Kirchick: Vaclav Klaus, Libertarian Hero, Has His Wings Clipped by Cato Institute, The Daily Beast, December 22, 2014, accessed December 23, 2014.