Press Advisories

24. 3. 2023 16:27

In Brussels, Prime Minister Petr Fiala strongly condemned the abduction of Ukrainian children to Russia

Prime Minister Petr Fiala is preparing for the opening of the March summit of the leaders of the EU-27 in Brussels, 23 March 2023.
Prime Minister Petr Fiala is preparing for the opening of the March summit of the leaders of the EU-27 in Brussels, 23 March 2023.
On 23 and 24 March, Prime Minister Petr Fiala attended a meeting of the European Council and subsequently the Eurosummit. The main topics this time were the economy and competitiveness, the single market, energy and Ukraine. On Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky joined the meeting remotely. EU leaders also had a working lunch with UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Thursday.

EU leaders again strongly condemned Russia's belligerent aggression against Ukraine and welcomed the UN General Assembly resolution on “the principles of the UN Charter that underpin a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine”, which was adopted with the broad support of the international community. EU presidents and prime ministers welcomed the new agreement, which will provide Ukraine with one million pieces of artillery ammunition by the end of this year. Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky again joined the debate remotely. In addition to artillery ammunition, the EU will also cover the supply of surface-to-surface missiles and rockets if Ukraine requests them.

The EU-27 leaders also called on the rest of the world not to support Russian aggression, materially or otherwise. At the same time, EU countries are committed to participating in steps to prevent the abduction of Ukrainian children to Russia. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen put the number of abducted children at 16,200, but said 300 had been returned. UN Secretary-General António Guterres, at a joint lunch, pledged the cooperation of the international community's agencies in this regard. Prime Minister Petr Fiala described the abductions as extremely heinous.

This brings Russia closer to the worst regimes we know from the past. The European Council feels very strongly about this and we are ready to participate in all the steps that will prevent it, and also lead to punishing those who do it. I must say once again that all leaders strongly condemn the monstrous abduction of Ukrainian children to Russia,” the Prime Minister said.

Competitiveness, the single market and the economy were also on the agenda of the European Council. The Prime Minister said the Czech Republic is a pro-export economy and all EU countries can benefit from the openness of the Czech economy.

We have to remember that every country has different needs and we need to find an approach that does not harm anyone. I therefore strongly supported a fully functioning internal market, which is a key element of competitiveness for us. I also stressed the need to break down barriers, particularly in the services and digital technology sectors, where there is huge untapped potential,” said the Prime Minister.

In the energy sector, the EU-27 agreed on the continued fundamental objective of complete elimination of dependence on Russia. In particular, the leaders addressed securing the supply of energy raw materials and affordable prices for end customers. The European Council invited the Commission to complete the evaluation of last year's emergency gas measures and to propose their possible extension.

“In the case of the emergency regulation to reduce gas consumption, negotiated by the Czech Presidency last July, the Commission has already proposed an extension and we clearly support this step,” said the Prime Minister. The new proposal for electricity market reform issued by the European Commission was also discussed. “Negotiations will be long, but the Czech Republic will unequivocally want to preserve the strong position of the end customer and the enhanced role of long-term contracts,” added the Prime Minister.

At the end of the two-day meeting, Prime Minister Fiala took part in the Eurosummit, which also discussed with non-eurozone members, in particular, the impact of the problems of the banking sector in the US and Switzerland on the European economy.

Despite the recent negative developments in the US and Swiss banking sectors, we can assure our citizens that the European banking system is stable and Czech banks are resilient enough to cope with this pressure,” concluded Prime Minister Fiala.

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