The Czech Republic will welcome a new pro-European, liberal party Voice. It’s being created by Pavel Telička, a well-known one-time European commissioner and current MEP.
Telička is best known for negotiating his country’s accession to the EU. He was also the first Czech European commissioner, back in 2004.
In 2014 he won a seat in the last elections to the European Parliament on the ANO ticket. However, he and another MEP, Petr Ježek, later broke away from the party over policy differences.
Now the pair have announced the formation of a new grouping, Voice (Hlas in Czech).
As reported by Radio Praha, the two are planning to run as Voice candidates in European Parliament elections in the spring but say it will also be established as a pro-European party advocating liberal democratic values here in the Czech Republic.
Pavel Telička laid out its aims on Czech Radio. He said: “It’s not a movement that would be established purely for one purpose. Rather it’s responding to the current domestic political situation and, of course, our interests within the framework of the European Union. I think this movement does have a role as a serious political player.”
Not everyone agrees. Political scientist Petr Just told Radio Praha that Telička’s name recognition and reputation as an expert on EU matters should prove an asset. However, Voice will be entering an already crowded field.
“We have TOP 09, we have the Christian Democrats, we have the Mayors and Independents and we will probably have a new movement founded by the current MEP [Jaromír] Štětina – and now we have to add Mr. Telička’s movement,” said Just. “They are all identifying themselves as centre-right and as very pro-European. So there will be quite heavy competition in this field and it can hurt TOP 09, the Christian Democrats, the Mayors and Independents, Mr. Štětina’s initiative and also Mr. Telička’s party.”