Press Advisories

10. 2. 2023 6:03

Prime Minister Fiala attended a special meeting of the European Council in Brussels

Joint photo from the meeting of the European Council which was also attended by Ukrainian President Zelensky, 9 February 2023.
Joint photo from the meeting of the European Council which was also attended by Ukrainian President Zelensky, 9 February 2023.
On 9 and 10 February, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala attended a special meeting of the European Council in Brussels. The main topics of the meeting of EU leaders were migration, the EU's economic situation, and further support for Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also attended the meeting in person. At the start of the summit, the prime ministers and presidents of the Member States observed a minute's silence in honour of the victims of the devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.

In the area of migration, EU leaders discussed in particular its external dimension, with the aim of substantially reducing the number of irregular migrants heading to the EU. ‘‘Above all, we must prevent illegal migrants from crossing the EU border, and those who somehow make it to the EU must be returned to their countries of origin, which means, among others, improving return policy and focusing on external border protection. We also need to strengthen cooperation with the countries, from which illegal migrants come to us. The Western Balkan route is key for the Czech Republic. There, we must focus on harmonising visa policy. The Western Balkans must not become a back door to the EU,“ stated the Prime Minister.

The economic situation of the EU was also a key topic of the meeting. The European Commission prepared a discussion paper for the European Council meeting, proposing measures to strengthen Europe's economic and industrial base. ‘‘I am convinced that an open internal market without unnecessary barriers is a source of economic growth. We must not allow any measures to distort the level playing field or to be a pretext for protectionism. We managed to defend this at the European Council, despite a very difficult and sometimes emotional debate. This is crucial for the Czech Republic and its open export economy,“ added the Czech Prime Minister.

EU leaders recognised that support for industry must not become a subsidy race between countries. ‘‘But we have supported faster approval of public aid so that the necessary funds reach beneficiaries more easily. In terms of possible funding, my request was that we first look at existing resources that are already in the European budget. Many of them are not yet used. The European Commission will therefore have to use all these resources for the benefit of our economy and not look for a way to create new instruments and new loans,“ said Petr Fiala.

‘‘For example, we will support strategic sectors affected by high energy prices. I personally insisted that the funds that the Czech Republic has already negotiated in the EU budget for the development of our regions, transport infrastructure, energy projects and other investments must not be reduced. I managed to get this through in the conclusions of the European Council and I consider it a great success of today's meeting,“ emphasised Prime Minister after the meeting.

More in conclusions of the Council meeting.

During the European Council, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy informed his counterparts, in which areas the country needs the most help. A separate meeting was held afterwards, attended by the Czech Prime Minister together with the leaders of Finland, Denmark, Slovakia and the Baltic States. "We discussed the form of assistance that is important for Ukraine, whether in the military field or in the issue of helping to replace the energy and energy infrastructure that is being systematically destroyed by Russia. We also discussed the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine, which needs to be worked on now, and the topic of bringing Ukraine closer to the EU,“ stated Prime Minister Fiala.


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