Press Advisories

23. 3. 2018 12:15

European leaders discussed relations with Russia and duty on imports of aluminium and steel to the US

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš enters the European Council meeting hall, 22 March 2018.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš enters the European Council meeting hall, 22 March 2018.

On Thursday 22 March in Brussels, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš discussed with other EU leaders the competitiveness and security of Europe, removal of obstacles in the internal market, taxation in the digital sector and cooperation with countries of the Western Balkans. The first day of the European Council was also marked by debate about the attacks in Salisbury and about the duty on the import of aluminium and steel into the US.

In the debate on the EU future, the European statesmen dealt with taxation in the digital sector. For the Czech Republic, it is crucial to find a common European solution that must, at the same time, be in accordance with the development on the international scene and with OECD.

The European Council dedicated a long discussion to the attack in Salisbury and to relations with Russia. “We have all condemned the recent attack in Salisbury and unanimously supported the British Prime Minister May. The use of any chemical weapons is unacceptable and the European Union has not received from Russia any trustworthy explanation of the tragic incident. The British prime minister has my full support,” said the Czech prime minister after the meeting, adding that he will coordinate the next steps of the Czech Republic with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Martin Stropnický, on Monday.

The EU leaders also addressed the preparation of the Western Balkans summit. Cooperation with the countries of that region, whose stability is indispensable for the EU and its security, will be discussed by presidents and prime ministers of EU member states in detail on 17 May in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Before the meeting of the European Council, the Czech prime minister attended the traditional coordination of the Visegrad Group countries. The Prime Minister Andrej Babiš also met with the NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg. The theme of the meeting was cooperation between the European Union and NATO, and European defence initiatives.

Today, the European Council meeting will continue with a debate on the trade measures taken by the US in connection with imports of aluminium and steel, then a meeting in the EU-27 format will take place. The theme will be Brexit and further instructions for the negotiation on the future relations with the UK, which will serve as a mandate for the chief negotiator, Michel Barnier.

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