Press Advisories

9. 5. 2019 18:19

The European Council should meet more often and have a stronger say, said Prime Minister Babiš at the Sibiu summit

Extraordinary European Council on the EU Strategic Agenda in Sibiu, 9 May 2019.
Extraordinary European Council on the EU Strategic Agenda in Sibiu, 9 May 2019.
On Thursday, 9 May 2019, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš discussed the priorities of the future direction of the European Union at the informal summit of the European Council in Sibiu, Romania. EU leaders adopted a joint declaration summarizing the main objectives for the coming years.

In the Declaration, the representatives of the European Union countries undertook to seek common solutions to problems. The European Union, according to the document signed symbolically on Europe Day, is ready to face its future as a united and indivisible whole and defend our way of life, democracy and the rule of law. At the June European Council summit, Member States should approve a new strategic agenda to define the EU’s priorities over the next five years.

“There are differences between Member States mainly in migration, climate change and energy mix. Some states would like to reach climate balance in thirty years, other states have a different opinion. We will have to look for a consensus and it will certainly not be easy”, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš summarized the course of the European Council.

“For example, Chancellor Merkel has proposed, and I have supported it, that we should meet more often and we should mainly address individual problems.” We met twice due to Brexit, we spent nine hours and eight and a half hours, because everyone wanted to say something. And things like foreign policy, trade policy, climate, Africa – everyone talks about Africa, but we have to have a concrete plan for it. I supported her because we need more time, we need to discuss normally, and not just approve pre-arranged agendas”, said the Prime Minister. “I think that if we are calling for a stronger European Council, it can work as some sort of coalition government of Europe, even though it would be a huge coalition where compromises would always have to be found.”

According to Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, the forthcoming European elections will have a major impact on the future of the European project. “I think that the European Parliament elections, which will be in two weeks’ time, will make a crucial difference to the future direction of the European Union. And it is very important that our citizens perceive it and take part in the elections, because the European Union's decisions, which we have been a member for 15 years, obviously have an impact on our daily lives. The Czech Republic has very clear ideas about how the European Union should change”, the Prime Minister said.

The Czech Republic’s priorities are ensuring security in Europe and strengthening prosperity and competitiveness, a fully functioning and digital internal market without barriers and red tape, internal security including an emphasis on cyber security, strengthening external border control and combating illegal migration. The Czech Republic wants to continue focusing on combating dual quality food.

“One of the most important things for us is to have a major impact on the money we receive from the European Union. The Czech Republic is getting richer, we are still rising in the rankings. We will get a hundred billion koruna less for the next period 2021–2027, but we have a permanent problem that we do not use funds from some programs de facto dictated by the European Union for this period; on the other hand we lack money for investments in kindergartens, schools, hospitals, the restoration of cultural monuments and especially transport infrastructure. That’s why I think we know what we need money for”, said the Prime Minister.

According to Prime Minister Babiš, the Czech Republic should constructively contribute to the preparation of a new strategic agenda. In doing so, it will cooperate with other Visegrad countries. Negotiations on the new staffing of the European Commission and the new President of the European Council will start right after the elections on Tuesday, May 28, when EU leaders meet for a business dinner.

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