Vaclav Klaus: "We will not be campaigners for the climate package"

Vaclav KlausBucharest - The Czech Republic will make no special effort to tackle climate change when it takes over the rotating EU presidency in January, Czech President Vaclav Klaus said on Thursday.

"We will not be campaigners for the climate package," Klaus said, during a private visit to the Romanian capital Bucharest, the Romanian news agency Mediafax reported.

He also expressed fears that the global financial crisis would be used as a pretext for curtailing freedoms in the markets.

"The climate is OK," and the problem of global warming was mere "ideology," Klaus said at a book presentation.

The world had had the "same climate for 10,000 years," he said, and a climate catastrophe was impossible. Therefore he was against "radical environmental protection measures."

Klaus compared the global financial crisis to a bout of flu, which lasted "a week if one went to the doctor and seven days if one didn't."

The world economy would recover "with or without Mr Sarkozy, the G20 summit, or the expensive rescue packets of Messrs Paulson and Bernanke," Klaus claimed.

Klaus feared that the crisis would open the way for "the fundamental insitutions of capitalism and free markets to be undermined."

Klaus added that the Czech Republic would be spared the worst consequences of the crisis because it had not joined the euro.

"The Czech koruna has insulated us in some respects from the world economy," he said.

Klaus, although on a private visit, met with his Romanian counterpart Traian Basescu and will be awarded an honorary doctorate from the Dimitrie Cantemir University. (dpa)