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6. 9. 2016 22:40

Speech given by the Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka at the Plenary panel of the Economic Forum in the Polish town of Krynica

Speech given by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka at the Plenary Panel of the Economic Forum in Polish town of Krynica, 6 September 2016.
Speech given by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka at the Plenary Panel of the Economic Forum in Polish town of Krynica, 6 September 2016.

In wish all of you here in Krynica a very pleasant evening.

European integration has deeps roots and I am convinced that the European Union will indeed manage to contain the situation in which we find ourselves today. I also believe, given the experiences of the 19th and the 20th century and beyond, that cooperation within Europe is by far the best alternative for the people of Europe than any confrontation. And obviously, if Europe really wishes to manage this situation best as it can, it will need to change; and we, in the V4, agree with this completely. I am also very glad that we have agreed on several directions, which our discussions need to take.

From the Czech viewpoint, we are convinced that Europe should be more efficient, more ready to act, more useful for its citizens in practical terms. With regard to the European institutions, we are of the opinion that the European Council comprising of the heads of state or governments of the member states should take a more active and powerful role, and it should be the European Council which should have the key political initiative in Europe.

I also see two important areas playing a key role for our future. Firstly, we need to strengthen the ideas of common security in Europe, as our citizens are deeply unsettled by events in the last couple of years, whether these involved illegal migration, terrorist attacks, events taking place in various regions that closely relate to Europe, in the east or in the south. I think that we need to bolster cooperation in the area of internal security, and in defence. I see the idea of the joint European army as very interesting, and we should perhaps explore the options that it might gradually offer to us.

Another important area, where we need to see progress, is the area of converging living standards across Europe, between various parts of the European Union, and here we should make use of all advantages that are given to us today by the internal market, Schengen Area, by the four fundamental freedoms upon with the European Union was built, by investment policies and by a more efficient use of European funds. This means using the available potential to improve living standards and prosperity so as to gradually converge income in all part of European Union.

Bohuslav Sobotka, Prime Minister of the Czech Government

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