Students:National Government (2012 e-learning)
Stakeholder profiles according to the criteria:
The national government is aware of the problems created by lignite mining in the Ore Mountains, as it participates on the debates about the future of the region. Nevertheless, its action does not seem to support an environmental vision, but rather economic interests. It was mentioned before that the government proposed to solve the issue through a plebiscite in the future, which can be interpreted as a way of pressuring the population. In the mean time, no investments in other areas than mining shall be attractive, as investors do not know if the area will exist in the future. This is likely to enhance social problems in the area and create arguments and advantages for the mining proposal. In this sense, the spectrum of vision of the national government is biased.
Exploring the national government website http://vlada.cz/en (thanks Alice!), there are also some hints about the problematic economic vs. environmental issues. First, a speech from the ex-prime minister Jan Fischer states “Energy industry is one of the principal priorities not only of the Czech presidency”. There is also an articleabout energy issues between Czech Republic and Germany, in which economic issues dominate the discussion. Moreover, the option for a politician instead of a technocrat for the post of Environment Minister (Mgr. Tomáš Chalupa) can also signalize a relative depreciation of environmental issues for the government in power.
Flexibility and innovation
The national government is flexible, as it is theoretically willing to take the people’s decision. However, it is not innovative. An innovation, for example, would be investing in the development of renewable energy in the area, but this is not done.
Since the national government participates on the solution of the lignite mining issue, it opens space and allows contact from other different stakeholders. But on the other hand some stakeholders may be excluded from the discussion due to lobbyists from other stakeholders.
The national government has a consistent view of its goals, namely economic development. However, this might go against the local interests and, in order to keep democracy, it hides its own point of view, i.e., it does not explicit its aims. Local people, including local government seem to be quite aggrieved and biased against the government since in many cases it does not listen and consider their wishes needs.
As argued above, transparency is not a characteristic of the national government in this specific issue. The government says people should decide the region’s destiny, but not acting is also an action. It shows its opinion through between the lines only.
As laws usually guide governmental and as they are enforceable in a modern democratic country as Czech Republic, trust is not an issue in the national government. It will do what it must do and it will not do what it is not allowed to.
The national government has been absence on active measures on this specific issue.
As the national greatest force, the national government has the power to coordinate and solve conflicts. As a powerful regulator, different interests come to it, asking for its support.
Although the budget is limited, great amount of financial resources are available for the national government.
Conflict of interest with the public interest & external influence
This depends on how intense is the lobbying activity in Czech Republic. Since mining industries are usually financially powerful, they are able to build up lobbies and become politically important too. This can affect the public interest: thanks to the lobbying power, the government might support the companies’ interests instead of the public interest.
Limits for action / Alternatively: Power of action
The national government is one of the most powerful stakeholders. As mentioned before, it has vast financial resources, is a powerful regulator and can influence the conflict of interests.
Given the scale of the conflict of interests and the financial power of one of the main stakeholders (the companies), it is likely that corruption might be tried as a part of the solution. The corrupted subject does not have to be the government as a whole, but it can be in any level from high officials to the stuff.