Press Advisories

9. 3. 2017 23:59

Prime Minister Sobotka has backed Tusk to head the European Council

European Council meeting, 9 March 2017. Source: European Council.
European Council meeting, 9 March 2017. Source: European Council.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka represented the Czech Republic at today’s one-day meeting of the European Council in Brussels. EU leaders reaffirmed Donald Tusk’s position as European Council President. During the meeting the CR supported the completion of the single market, increased industrial competitiveness and resolving the issue of dual quality foods.

At the beginning of the traditional March summit of EU leaders, an election was held for a new President of the European Council. The current European Council President, Donald Tusk, received clear support and a strong mandate for a further two and a half year term. “I am delighted that we managed to confirm the former President of the European Council for a new term. Donald Tusk has performed very well over the past two and a half years. He has been an impartial chair, able to find comprises between Member States, even in times of crisis,“ said Prime Minister Sobotka. “It is certainly good news for the CR that someone from our region, who understands the position of central European countries, will continue to be at the head of the EU,“ emphasised the Prime Minister.

Heads of State and Governments of EU Member States also discussed economic issues relating to the EU. The economies of all the EU Member States have reported economic growth in recent years. The CR has also enjoyed positive economic growth and has the lowest unemployment rate across the EU. Prime Minister Sobotka stressed that a properly functioning EU internal market is crucial for the Czech Republic and its prosperity. The CR is keenly interested in taking steps to ensure its better functioning. This primarily involves removing barriers that prevent the enjoyment of the internal market. During the meeting, the CR also supported increasing the competitiveness of European industry, which is of fundamental importance for economic growth, not only in the CR.

Another important topic addressed in the March summit was dual quality of foods. “Thanks to the joint efforts of the Visegrad group, we have managed to invoke the issue of dual quality of foods at the European Council meeting,“ explained Prime Minister Sobotka. “European institutions, led by the European Commission, must now find a solution to the problem of dual quality, which represents unacceptable discrimination against consumers,“ emphasised the Czech prime minister.

The European Council also clearly confirmed today that defence and security are a shared priority. The CR considers this issue to be fundamental, also in terms of restoring people’s confidence in the European project. Ensuring security in Europe is a key priority for the future of the EU. Vital strategic discussions on defence await European leaders in June. In part thanks to the CR, important steps are already been taken in this area. The first step is to establish a permanent planning and command structure, which better connects the EU’s civilian and military sectors.

The final topic for the European Council involved strengthening European engagement with the Western Balkan countries. The CR is already involved in the region both on a bilateral level and also in cooperation with its partners from the Visegrad 4.  “Western Balkan countries are part of Europe and we must work to bring them closer to the EU. If they meet the required conditions, they should have an opportunity to join the Union,“ emphasised Prime Minister Sobotka.

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