Tensions between Prague and Paris rose on Monday after the Czech republic called an emergency European summit in protest at "protectionist" plans to bail out France’s car industry.
Mirek Topolanek, prime minister of the Czech republic, was still fuming on Monday after Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, urged his country’s carmakers to close down plants in eastern Europe in return for state aid.
Mr Sarkozy did not repeat his weekend call on Renault and Peugeot-Citroën to "relocate where possible" their production when he unveiled a €6.5bn ($8.5bn, £5.7bn) package of loans for the two carmakers on Monday. But his comments continued to draw strong protests in central Europe.
Relations between Prague and Paris, which held the EU presidency in the second half of last year, have been strained since Mr Sarkozy made it clear that he did not feel his Czech successors would be up to the job. Mr Sarkozy floated the idea of his chairing a council of eurozone leaders – the Czech republic is not in the single currency – to lead the bloc’s response to the crisis.
A Czech-led mission to the Middle East at the start of the year was overshadowed by Mr Sarkozy’s own peace initiative – prompting criticism from other member-states, such as Italy.
Mr Sarkozy, when asked in a television interview on Thursday whether the Czechs needed to do more try to co-ordinate stimulus policies, replied: "You should not take it out on them especially. They are doing what they can." (more