President Zeman Calls For Increased Use of Coal To Help With Energy Crisis
Zeman also blamed spontaneous development strategies for the spread of the recent devastating fire in the České Švýcarsko National Park. Photo credit: Hrad.cz
Usti nad Labem, North Bohemia, Oct 17 (CTK) – In a visit to the Usti nad Labem region today, President Milos Zeman called for increased use of coal in the face of the energy crisis, and blamed spontaneous development strategies for the spread of the recent devastating fire in the České Švýcarsko National Park.
Zeman also revived his old idea of making the Elbe (Labe) River navigable.
He said his two-day visit to the region was part of a farewell tour of the regions, as his 32-year political career will come to an end in a few months.
Zeman came to the Usti Region at the invitation of regional governor Jan Schiller (ANO). He was welcomed at an official address by around 20 of the regional assembly’s 55 members.
Zeman first spoke about the fire in České Švýcarsko, which was the most devastating wildfire in the history of the Czech Republic.
“I heard that the fire was caused by vagrants, but I disagree,” he said. “I believe that it was caused by those who also caused the bark-beetle calamity.” He named former environment minister Martin Bursik (Greens) as the person responsible for both, highlighting Bursik’s well-known statement in the Chamber of Deputies that he was a “friend of the bark-beetle”.
Zeman criticised the so-called spontaneous development strategy of forest management, wherein fallen trees are left freely on the ground to create new habitats for insects and other forest fauna and flora. According to Zeman, this approach caused the conditions for the spread of the fire.
The police are now investigating the causes of the fire.
Zeman further expressed his view that, given the high prices of gas, it would be good to use more local sources of coal, such as the brown coal present in the Usti Region. He also said he was in favour of the construction of nuclear power plants, and named his failure to establish the Elbe water corridor as one of his political defeats, along with his failure to abolish the Senate.
He said he was in northern Bohemia for the seventh time as the head of state.
The region has been the most frequent destination of his tours of the regions, which ended when his health condition worsened.
After a working lunch with officials from the emergency services, mayors and representatives of other institutions hit by the fire in Usti nad Labem, Zeman will leave for Decin to meet members of the public.
On Tuesday, he is scheduled to visit the Chemotex company in Decin, and will then proceed to Lukavec, which won the Village of the Usti Region title in 2022.