Press Advisories

12. 12. 2016 21:25

Prime Minister Sobotka meets with Polish Prime Minister, Szydlová. Topics include the protection of the environment, security and transport

The meeting of the Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and the Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlová, on 12 December 2016.
The meeting of the Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and the Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlová, on 12 December 2016.
On Monday 12 December 2016, the Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka visited the Polish Republic. At a château in Visla he met with the Polish Prime Minister, Szydlová,with whom he inter alia discussed mutual trade and investment opportunities, protection of the environment and the transport infrastructure. In the afternoon the two Prime Ministers will meet in Český Těšín with representatives of the Polish national minority in the Czech Republic, the largest part of which lives in the Český Těšín region. Prime Minister Sobotka thus continues the endeavour to further strengthen close Czech-Polish relations including support for cross-border cooperation.

This cooperation between Poland the Czech Republic makes the countries the closest of neighbours. Almost €220 million was successfully drawn from the structural funds of the European Union in the period 2007-2013. In the new programme period of 2014-2020 a part of the overall amount allocated of €230 million has already been utilised - for example on the improvement of the transport infrastructure or on strategic projects in the area of security.

"I am very proud that the relations of the Czech Republic and Poland are those of good relations between two friendly countries. We are partners within the framework of the EU as well as NATO allies. However, it is important to keep in close touch, to discuss common topics and look for solutions to common problems. This was greatly contributed to by today's meeting in Visla. We have a fine understanding regarding the linking of transport infrastructure, road, rail as well as waterborne transport. With Prime Minister Szydlová we also talked about the protection of the environment, notably the air quality in Silesia. We also talked of cross-border projects, on a new agreement on police cooperation, but also the coordination of V4 before the European Council - as well as the issue of what the impact of expansion of extraction operations at the mine of Turów would be on Czech municipalities," stated Prime Minister Sobotka.

Protecting the environment

One of the most important issues discussed by the Prime Ministers concerned the protection of the environment. They mainly discussed the air quality on the Czech-Polish border in the Moravian-Silesian Region, polluted from industrial sources as well as transport and local-heating plants. Prime Minister Sobotka in this context offered to share information on Czech experience derived from the programme-designated subsidies for the replacement of existing heating stoves in households, something which is already successfully functioning within the Czech Republic. The Ministry of Environment of the Czech Republic also cooperates with Polish and Hungarian partners on an integrated project for the protection of air quality within the framework of the European programme LIFE; the European Commission has granted a subsidy of €10 million to this end.

The two Prime Ministers also discussed the expansion of extractive operations at the mine in Turów and the related possibility of the lowering of levels of groundwater within the territory of the Czech Republic. Prime Minister Sobotka made a request of the Polish party to supply all of the supporting documentation so as to enable a cross-border assessment of the impact on the environment.

Trade and investment cooperation

Between the Czech and Polish Republic there is a significant cross-border trade. The Czech market is the second most important market for Polish goods and the Czech Republic is the sixth largest exporter to Poland. In 2015, the turnover of mutual trade was €18.3 billion, which is CZK 1.6 billion more than in the previous year. The Prime Minister Sobotka also spoke with the Prime Minister Szydlová on other business and investment opportunities.

Transport infrastructure

The Czech Republic actively cooperates with Poland on improvement of the state of the railway infrastructure. In the years 2019-2023 a modernisation programme is planned on the particularly-busy line of Zebrzydowice-Katowice, which is adjoined to the corridor Slovakia/Austria - Břeclav-Petrovice u Karviné. Recently reconstruction of the line was completed to allow the introduction of new regional trains from Bohumín to Polish Katowice.

Now the priority of the Bohuslav Sobotka government is the connection of the Czech motorway D11 with the S3 arterial road. Both countries would prefer to use resources from the European Union for the financing of the cross-border section. Priority on the Czech side is the construction of sections from Hradec Králové to Smiřice and further to Jaroměř. A favourable opinion has already been issued by EIA in respect of both sections

Both Prime Ministers also talked about the Polish plans to make the Odra river more navigable; and of the possible joining of this project into the territory of the Czech Republic.

Foreign Topics

The next item on the agenda was foreign policy. The Heads of the Governments discussed, for one example, the cooperation of the Visegrad Group with other countries along with preparation for the European Council, which is meeting on 15 - 16 December 2016 in Brussels.

In the afternoon Prime Minister Sobotka and the Prime Minister Szydlová met on Czech territory, in Český Těšín, along with the representatives of the Polish national minority living in the Czech Republic.

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