Press Advisories

18. 10. 2019 19:24

Prime Minister Babiš discusses expansion and the EU budget at the European Council

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš at a press conference summarizing the results of the European Council summit, 18 October 2019.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš at a press conference summarizing the results of the European Council summit, 18 October 2019.
The Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš continued his talks with the leaders of the other member states at the European Council’s meeting. During their working dinner on Thursday they discussed EU expansion and external relations. On Friday 18 October 2019 they then talked about the EU’s multiannual financial framework and various institutional matters.

After reaching agreement on the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU, the heads of state and prime ministers continued Thursday’s agenda at the European Council with a discussion on EU expansion.

Prime Minister Babiš gave his clear support to opening accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania. Prior to the summit the prime ministers of the V4 countries (the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland) had sent a letter to all member states in which they expressed their regret at the ongoing blocking by certain countries. Opening these talks is important for the future of the Western Balkan region as a whole. The European Council will return to this matter in future discussions.

“I’m very disappointed by this discussion, because it’s the second time we’ve talked about it and clear promises were made. Unfortunately we haven’t reached a consensus, so no decision has been adopted, and we’ll come back to this at a future meeting of the European Council,” Prime Minister Babiš said after the European Council’s talks on Thursday.

While discussing external relations the heads of state and prime ministers also talked about the situation in Syria and Turkey’s military intervention.

“There’s been a new agreement between the United States and Turkey on halting military operations. We’ve confirmed our foreign ministers’ standpoint, and we’ve called on Turkey to halt all military operations, and we naturally talked about halting arms supplies. We also expressed our solidarity with Cyprus concerning Turkey’s illegal oil and gas drilling in Cypriot sovereign waters. The foreign ministers’ declaration says that halting arms supplies is a matter for individual member states,” the Czech Prime Minister summed up the European Council’s talks on Turkey.

At the EU summit the leaders also discussed institutional questions. The newly elected President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, set out the Commission’s priorities for the future. The European Council also formally approved Christine Legarde as President of the European Central Bank.

“We opened the day with institutional questions. The Finnish Prime Minister, whose country currently has the presidency, was followed by the future President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. Let’s hope she’ll take office on December 1. Her priorities especially concern security, European values, the rule of law, hybrid threats and the climate. I mainly talked about the internal market. Obviously we’re aware of the slowdown in the world’s economies. I called on the European Commission to pay attention to this. In this respect Czech businesses face many obstacles, especially in services,” the Czech Prime Minister said.

On Friday Andrej Babiš and representatives of the other member states discussed the multiannual financial framework, which is the European Union’s seven-year budget after 2020. The Prime Minister defended the Czech Republic’s priorities, which are sufficient funds for cohesion and agriculture policies. The Prime Minister also advocated greater powers for member states when deciding on how to distribute European funds.

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