Press Advisories

25. 8. 2016 23:06

Premier Sobotka: Chancellor Merkel and I discussed the future of the EU, migration, and cooperation on transport and modern technologies

Premier Bohuslav Sobotka welcomes German Chancellor Angela Merkel, 25 August 2016.
Premier Bohuslav Sobotka welcomes German Chancellor Angela Merkel, 25 August 2016.
On Thursday 25 August 2016, German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the Czech Republic at the invitation of the Czech Premier. The main topics that were discussed during the meeting included the future of the European Union, cooperation on security, research, modern technologies, migration, industrial digitization, and modernization of the railway line connecting the Czech Republic and Germany.

During the meeting, Premier Sobotka praised the underway Czech-German strategic dialogue launched in July 2015, mentioning that applied research and industry digitization are its priority areas.

"Germany is our most important trading partner, and German investments account for more than a fifth of direct foreign investment in the Czech Republic. Together with close contacts between research centers in the Czech Republic and Germany, they have the potential to become the basis of Czech-German cooperation in coping with challenges presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the implementation of new technologies in the future," said the Czech Prime Minister.

Sobotka and Merkel also discussed the project of the Prague-Dresden high-speed railway line, which will be connected to the Western European high-speed rail network.

Another important issue the two politicians discussed was security. Premier Sobotka underscored the excellent cooperation between the two countries' police forces, expressed, among others, in a new Police Partnership Agreement that will enter into force in October.

Sobotka and Merkel also debated the future of the European Union following the decision of British citizens to exit from the organization and the Bratislava summit which will be held in September and which will focus on this issue. Sobotka outlined the proposals the Czech Republic will present, stating, "To be closer to citizens, the EU must be more convincing and more effective in responding to the main challenges we face today. The current topics where cooperation at the EU level can bring tangible results include improving public security and strengthening prosperity through economic growth. The most important factor is ensuring that adopted solutions stem from a discussion among all 27 Member States."

In connection with the refugee and migrant crisis, Premier Sobotka and Chancellor Merkel agreed on the need to organize effective protection for the EU's external borders, to rapidly launch the European border and coast guard, and to deal with the causes behind the migration phenomenon. Prime Minister Sobotka expressed the Czech Republic's disagreement with proposals that aim to reform the EU asylum system by imposing mandatory quotas.

The Czech delegation included Deputy Prime Minister Pavel Bělobrádek, Minister of Foreign Affairs Lubomír Zaorálek, Minister of Industry and Trade Jan Mládek, Minister of Transport Dan Ťok, and Minister of Culture Daniel Herman.

After their meeting at the Office of the Government, Prime Minister Sobotka and Chancellor Merkel will visit the Czech Technical University to participate in a debate about Czech-German cooperation in the field of research and development, which will be attended by representatives of enterprises and research facilities.

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