Jana Cernochova, M.P. for ODS and mayor of Prague 2, follows Theodore Roosevelt’s famous quote, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” She is a proud representative of her city district and is heading into the October parliamentary elections as number two on the ticket for the three-way coalition SPOLU.
You confessed that as the mayor of Prague 2 you appreciate the patriotism of its citizens. Are you proud of the Two as well?
Most of us who live here are proud of it. History intertwines with our district and many of our neighbors and ancestors have been a big part of it. Not too long ago I wrote to one of our citizens. He was celebrating an important birthday and I received a wonderful letter from him, in which he depicted the story of the house that his grandfather had built and where he now lives. We know each other personally around here and it is a city district full of amazing people and stories.
What do you like the most about Prague 2?
The aforementioned healthy patriotism, its architecture, parks, farmer’s markets, great restaurants, cafés, and wineries where I can meet my friends after work. The Vinohrady theater, the church of St. Ludmila, Grébovka – I am looking forward to the harvest time at the vineyard there in autumn. The view from the New city hall as well as the view of Náměstí Míru from my office. Vyšehrad throughout the seasons, Podskalí with its distinctive history and atmosphere. Even Nusle, where I lived when I was a little girl. The Two is beautiful, and every little nook there has its charm!
What have you managed to do to make life better in this historical district of Prague?
I dare say that we have one of the best schools in the country. I was in daily contact with the headmasters of primary schools and kindergartens during the pandemic, and I would like to thank them one more time for their efforts. Our civil servants are often some of the most determined people, and even during the most trying times, we were working at full tilt. We support leisure, cultural, and safety education events. We did not wait to see what the government would do for our teaching staff, we took care of vaccinating them ourselves. The same goes for social workers and the elderly. We would never have managed without the help of the Vinohrady hospital, however. We are thankful to have such a great hospital in our district and we appreciate their willingness to work with us.
What are the citizens of Prague 2 troubled by?
We are mostly troubled by matters we cannot fully take into our own hands, for instance, the traffic situation, the state of some sidewalks, or waste disposal. But we do what we can. We keep pushing the City Council and calling for a solution. People spent a lot more time in their homes during the pandemic which meant more online orders of goods and a subsequent increase in the amount of communal waste. Instead of increasing the number of waste containers, the Council took an opposite approach. We had no choice but to dip into the budget reserves and pay for garbage disposal. The situation is very similar when it comes to our sidewalks, we have to spend money from our own coffers despite the fact that they are the responsibility of the Council, otherwise, we might never see them repaired.
You are opposed to the European union’s regulation on gun possession. There was even a lawsuit directed at the EU that originated from Czechia. Is there any news regarding this?
The lawsuit was unsuccessful, and Czechia had to look for a way to dull the edge of this nonsense regulation within our own legislative framework. We managed to find a partial solution. It is of some consolation to me that this bill, including a complex amendment to the Committee of Security which I prepared alongside my colleagues and experts, was passed. The amendment has helped us mitigate the impact of this regulation on legal gun owners and gun enthusiasts in general. The fact still stands, that the Union’s course of action is something I consider unacceptable. Czechia should have refused this folderol outright when it was still in its early stages.
You are heading into the elections as a coalition of ODS, TOP 09, and KDU-ČSL. What do you agree on unequivocally and what are your differences?
Our unequivocal agreement is that we want to win the elections. That’s why we’ve unified these centre-right parties that would end up working together after the elections anyway. Our driving force is creating a competent government and getting Czechia back on its feet. We have our differences in all sorts of ideological issues, but we have clear and firm common values such as being oriented towards the west, democracy and human rights, support of entrepreneurship and activeness, social and environmental responsibility, and others. In the SPOLU coalition, we offer above all a vast foundation of wonderful and experienced people, whether they work in communal, regional, or international leadership roles. SPOLU is not an experiment or a marketing fad. We are a liberal-conservative, centre-right group where both liberal and conservative ideas have their representation. Our election ticket in Prague is proof of that. It has me, Marek Benda or Pavel Žáček, but you can also find our more liberal colleagues like Markéta Pekarová Adamová (heading the ticket), Hayato Okamura or the excellent doctor Tom Philipp.
The Czech people are fearful of migration. For instance, in France, churches are burning left and right and even president Macron wants to clamp down on this issue. What should we do to avoid something similar happening to us?
The ODS is by no means in favor of loosening the current form of conditions for the granting of Czech citizenship, nor of unregulated migration. We are not opposed to a discussion about the tightening up of certain parameters for citizenship, asylum, and migration in general. We advocate a conservative approach – the Czech Republic should remain wary of who moves through its territory as well as whom it grants citizenship, asylum, or international protection to. I do not feel as though Czechia is facing similar migration and integration issues that France is. That is a place where they catastrophically underestimated integration, and the current state of affairs is a consequence of their previous irresponsible policies. Our asylum and migration policy – established in the 90’s – is one of the most sophisticated in Europe and it offers us something to expand upon.
People are also divided in their opinions when it comes to the matter of gender or erasing the female/male section from ID cards. What are your views on this?
The discussion around multiple genders is bordering on comical. People can say what they want about themselves, human physiology is simply a given. I don’t like this empty rhetoric about people feeling some way, wanting to be called something, or the fact that this something should allow them access to certain places. There is no need to break the custom that gentlemen simply do not belong in a female bathroom. I also don’t like quotas of all kinds, especially the ones installing women in politics. Those especially are demeaning and offensive.
We cannot stop progress and evolution, but let’s hope you can stop and rest for a while during the summer holidays. Do you have any adventures planned?
I love the summer. I don’t have any long trips abroad planned for the holidays. I’d like to go to Scotland for a week, rent a car and explore the country. Driving on the opposite side of the road will be an adventure in its own right. Czech scenery is wonderful as well, and so I see outdoor equipment and a couple of proper hikes in my future. I hope I’ll have a chance to get away for a weekend with friends to do some diving as I enjoy it very much. Prague 2 has been organizing a summer camp for many years, that’s a place where I always like to visit.
According to its mayor, the Two is beautiful and every nook there has its charm.
Jana Černochová (born October 23, 1973, in Prague) is an M.P., the mayor of Prague 2, and the leader of Prague’s ODS ticket for the autumn elections.
She used to work in a bank. In 1996, she passed a course on banking and monetary economics at the Faculty of Finance and Accounting of Prague’s VŠE, in 2009 she earned a Bachelor’s degree from the College of Applied Law. She studied international relations at the Metropolitan University Prague.
She entered the ODS In 1997, and only a year later she was a member of the municipal council of Prague 2. She has held the office of mayor since 2006. In 2010 she was elected a Member of the Parliament. She subsequently defended her seat in the Parliament in the 2013 and 2017 elections. Since 2013 she has been the first deputy chair of the ODS parliamentary party group.
She is a chair of the Committee on Safety and the Committee on Defense. She is a member of the Committee on International Affairs. She also holds the position of chair on the Subcommittee for War veterans and is a member of the Subcommittee on Prisons and the Permanent Commission on Oversight over the work of Military Intelligence.
Vyšehrad is a place where the ancient history of the Czech nation interweaves with legends. “I am very grateful to be able to take part as mayor of the Two in the development of such a significant site,” she says. The reconstructed Grébovka is another wonderful place. She considers the decision of the Two’s municipal council to take over this ruined area and start a very problematic and expensive reconstruction and revitalization of the Havlíčkovy Sady park to be a tough, but an excellent one. “I am sure I speak for everyone who’s been around from the very beginning of this venture when I say that it’s been worth it.”