Leading candidates from the Czech political party STAN, which has close links with the conservative EPP, met Renew Europe President Stéphane Séjourné in Paris to discuss possible cooperation ahead of the EU elections next June.
While STAN is not affiliated with any EU group though only one of its MEPs, Stanislav Polčák, is a member of the EPP, the meeting between leading STAN leading candidates, Séjourné suggests it could even come to the Renew group after the EU elections.
“During the meeting, we discussed our programme topics for the European elections. In most areas, we agree. These are, for example, economic topics on how to make Europe more competitive,” a co-leader of the STAN party, Danuše Nerudová, wrote on X.
“But what I am personally most pleased about is our agreement on the future of the EU and the greater involvement of the younger generation, not only in individual countries but also at Union level,” Nerudová, who gained popularity as an unsuccessful candidate during the Czech presidential elections in January 2023, has said.
Nerudová was selected as a co-leader of STAN’s EU election list together with the vice-president of the party, Jan Farský.
“The meeting also focused on future cooperation on European security and defence. We must remember that this is not just about weapons, but also about research, education or industry,” Farský informed on social media.
STAN was successful in the 2021 Czech elections and became a member of the five-party coalition government. The party is based on mayors of Czech cities and towns, but it has recently expanded from the local level to national politics. In the last opinion polls in November 2023, the party scored 6.4%.
The possibility of STAN joining Renew has been discussed among some party members for some time. However, the potential affiliation with Renew could be jeopardised by the fact that Renew’s member is the Czech populist party ANO of former Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, with which STAN refuses to cooperate.
In a discussion on X, Czech Christian Democrat MEP Tomáš Zdechovský (EPP) also pointed to ANO’s membership of Renew. “Danuše, you will fit in well there with Andrej Babiš,” Zdechovský wrote under Danuše Nerudová’s contribution.
“You made a mistake there. This is right: Andrej Babis should be fired from there,” Nerudová replied.
ANO is a member of the Renew group and pan-European liberal party ALDE but has recently been moving away from liberal values towards national conservatism.
ANO is currently in the Czech opposition but remains the strongest party in Czech politics, with more than 30% of the votes according to recent opinion polls.
If the EU elections were to turn out according to the current polls, ANO would win at least six seats, while STAN would only win one seat. (Aneta Zachová | Euractiv.cz)
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