Press Advisories

7. 9. 2017 23:52

Prime Minister Sobotka talks with Italian Prime Minister Gentilion on wage convergence, future of the EU and business co-operation

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka met with his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentilli at the Straka Academy on 7 September 2017.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka met with his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentilli at the Straka Academy on 7 September 2017.
On Thursday, 7 September 2017, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka met with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Italy, Paolo Gentilini, at the Straka Academy. The main themes of their negotiations were the future of the European Union, economic and social convergence, progress in migration and deepening of Czech-Italian cooperation.

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka appreciated good Czech-Italian relations. Regular consultations at both political and expert levels help to strengthen them, and the Czech Republic has a great interest in their continuation.

The theme of the two Prime Ministers' debates was mainly European issues, including the future direction of the European Union. According to Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, it is necessary to strengthen the unity and cohesion of the EU and to strengthen citizens' confidence in the Union. Future developments in the Union should also include economic and social convergence. It is exactly the convergence that the Czech Republic considers as a key solution to the challenges that have recently divided the EU. Another topic was the deepening of the European defence cooperation, where the Czech Republic clearly declared its readiness to cooperate on the projects of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) and others. A key prerequisite for the development of the European economy is the digitisation and building of a single digital market, which the special summit in Tallinn will be dedicated to.

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentillo also discussed further steps in the field of migration. These include, in particular, border protection measures, cooperation with third countries and return policy. The Czech Republic is ready to continue with intensive assistance to Italy, both in its territory and in third countries from where migrants come to Italy. Since the beginning of the crisis, a number of Czech police have been operating in Italy and about one million euros have provided by the Czech Republic to the Libyan coastguard service and an equal amount of money for anti-smuggling activities in Sahel. Another joint project of the Czech Republic and Italy is being prepared in Côte d'Ivoire. The Czech Republic continues to disagree with the system of compulsory redistribution of refugees under so-called quotas.

Economic cooperation was another important point. In 2016, Italy represented the 5th largest trade partner of the Czech Republic in terms of turnover, which reached a record of 12 billion euros. Means of transport and machinery account for the largest share in this result. In the future, engineering, aerospace and infrastructure are also of great potential. The Czech Republic is also successful in the support of Italian investments. With the support of CzechInvest, several tens of billions of crowns have been invested so far, helping to employ thousands of workers. Many Italian companies have used the system of investment incentives provided by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic.

After the meeting, the heads of government of both countries also visited the Wallachian Chapel in the centre of Prague, which is owned by the Italian state and undergoing renovation. The work of about 24.3 million crowns was also contributed by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Czech and Italian Prime Ministers met at the last official bilateral meeting in May 2012 in Italy, with the last visit to the Czech Republic by Prime Minister Romano Prodi in 2007. Paolo Gentiloni then, as Minister of Foreign Affairs, made a visit to the Czech Republic in March 2016, when he also met with Prime Minister Sobotka.

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