Interviews

Jaroslav Faltýnek: I no longer wish to be in the front line

Published: 16. 11. 2023
Author: Šárka Jansová
Photo: author and archives of Jaroslav Faltýnek
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I went to see the vice-chair of the ANO’s parliamentary group because I was curious to see how he was doing as a newlywed. The answer was clear at first sight. Jaroslav Faltýnek was beaming. We talked not only about the wedding but also about politics, and we even touched on his planned art show in Slovakia.

How did the wedding ceremony go? Did you have a lot of guests?
The wedding was wonderful. The ceremony took place on the premises of the Discalced Carmelite baroque monastery close to Prague Castle. Our closest family and friends attended, and it was officiated by my friend, Councillor Karel Grabein Procházka. The reception was held at Villa Richter with a wonderful view of Prague, there were about a hundred people – family, children, grandchildren, friends, acquaintances. Adam Ďurica sang for us in person, which was a wedding present from a Slovak friend of mine. And we also had the excellent band Elán Revival – amazing Slovak songs all around. The party lasted until three in the morning, and my wife and I held out until the end.

Where did you go for your honeymoon?
We went to the Maldives in February as a sort of pre-honeymoon, which was a trip gifted to me by a friend for my 60th birthday. The real honeymoon will be next year in February, and we’ll go somewhere warm. We spent a large part of the summer with family; it’s really important to me that my family, children, and grandchildren are all okay. We spent wonderful times at our cabin in Paprsek together and soaked up the sun in Spain as well.

Is getting married different as a grown man with plenty of experience?
It is. Martina and I are really enjoying our marriage. I no longer have the need to build a career, I’m less busy with politics, and I am supporting my wife in her career instead. Her job keeps her extremely busy; she works for an international company that services airports all around the world. She is the head of marketing for Europe and travels often. And, just as I needed to have a stable environment as a politician in the past, so have I become the one providing the same for my wife today. I like taking care of the household, I cook, which I have always enjoyed, and I’m happy to do the ironing as well. I am not ashamed to say it.

What do you actually do now for the ANO movement?
After ten years of working pedal-to-the-metal, I slowed down significantly. I have come to realize that I don’t need to be involved in everything and that I no longer want to be in the front line. Nowadays, things are quite calm for me as an MP and vice-chair of the parliamentary group, and I’m happy that people have surfaced in our midst who can take over the mantle of responsibility in case we succeed in the upcoming elections. Alena Schillerová is doing an excellent job managing the parliamentary group. We have a shadow cabinet that meets weekly and travels to the regions to visit the people. This is, by the way, the very first time that a shadow cabinet has functioned this way, and it offers a different option to the people compared to the current government. The important thing is that those involved are experienced people who understand their respective fields. Andrej Babiš meets with the people more as the party leader, Karel Havlíček is the shadow prime minister, Alena Schillerová the shadow minister of finance, Lubomír Metnar is minister of defence, Margit Balaštíková the minister of agriculture... And I could keep going.

You chaired the Chamber’s agricultural committee for eight years, today, you are the vice-chair. How is the current government handling agriculture?
I have to be honest and say that I am rather disappointed with our government’s agricultural policy. We tried our best during our eight years to support farmers who produce food no matter the size and form of their operation, in keeping with the joint and equal EU agricultural policy. As part of its fight against Babiš – which is truly verging on paranoia, perpetuated by the Czech Television and the media – this government is going against large food producers and supports primarily “small” farmers. In our country, Agrofert accounts for about three percent of primary agricultural production, which is nothing. The number is larger when it comes to food processing, but there are others as well who are paying the price. Large enterprises produce eighty percent of our food and employ plenty of people. If we manage to get into the government once again, our plan is to support cattle and poultry farmers, no matter if their operation has five hundred or ten thousand chickens. The important thing is that they are producing food that is safe, quality-controlled, and that their production brings in tax revenue.

The government’s consolidation package has been a hot topic lately. What does it mean for the people?
I have to set the tone straight from the get-go and say that it’s not a consolidation package but rather a tax package, and it will increase the people’s financial burden significantly. What’s more, the parties raising the taxes now are the same ones who promised never to do so prior to the election. I personally feel angry at the government for abolishing EET (electronic sales records). A while back, I spoke to a major retail chain CEO about just this topic. He said that he doesn’t understand the government’s measures despite voting right-wing. They were used to EET, they invested considerable sums in its implementation, had good oversight thanks to it, and were able to combat the gray economy and embezzlement. He had no idea, same as I, why a government that’s trying its damnedest to save every penny decided to get rid of a tool that brought in billions of crowns per year. We did agree on one possible explanation, in fact. It is once again their vendetta against Babiš, who implemented EET.

ART SHOW
Jaroslav Faltýnek has been painting for many years and has even had his work featured in several art shows. And one is just around the corner for him. “I have a show coming up in Slovakia this fall,” he confirms. “Together with the former Slovak Minister of Finance Ladislav Kamenický, we had a joint art show for our paintings and we agreed to put on the next one in Bratislava. And that time is coming up, although I’m not sure about the exact date yet. But I have been preparing and painting vigorously. The biggest inspiration for us men is our beloved woman, and I started painting female figures. My major sources of inspiration have been the country of Spain and the colors yellow and red. So I’ve been painting Spanish women in my Haná home.“

Faltýnek's painting “Spanish Women”

CV BOX
Jaroslav Faltýnek (born April 28, 1962, in Prostějov) is the vice-chair of the ANO 2011 parliamentary group and vice-chair of the Chamber's Committee on Agriculture. In the past, he was also a member of the Olomouc Regional Assembly and a member of the Prostějov Municipal Assembly.
Following his graduation from the Faculty of Agronomy at the University of Agriculture and Forestry Brno, he started working as an agronomist in ZD Lešany, later moving up to the post of chairman of the Prostějov Chamber of Agriculture, and from 1995 he was a division director at the Prostějov Malt Plants. He also sat on the board of the Tchecomalt Group as a deputy chairman and then went on to work for Agrofert in 2001.
Faltýnek entered politics in 1990, becoming a founding member of the Agricultural Party. He was elected a member of the Prostějov Municipal Assembly, running on the same party's ticket. He remained in that position continuously until October 2018.
After the Agricultural Party was dissolved, he became a member of the ČSSD in 1995. In 2012, he left ČSSD and joined ANO 2011. A year after that, he was elected an MP.
Faltýnek likes to paint, play the guitar, and grow bonsai plants. He is married for the second time and has two sons, two granddaughters, and two grandsons.

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