Press Conferences

4. 5. 2007 8:55

Presentation of publication "The First 100 Days" held on Monday 30th April 2007

Martin Schmarcz, Head of the Press Department of the Office of the Government: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this extraordinary press conference, at which the government will present results achieved during 100 days of its work since the vote of confidence. As an introduction, the Prime Minister and two Deputy Prime Ministers will briefly inform you on their assessment of this period. After that, after the toast, there will be time for several questions of yours. Now Mirek Topolánek has the floor.
Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: Thank you for the floor. I think that it is a strange coincidence that expiration of 100 days following the vote of confidence corresponds to the witches´ Sabbath. I would like to express my hope that this day will symbolically burn all the malevolence, smears, hatred, personal attacks and obstructions, which accompany the Czech politics since elections held in the last year. I think that the government contributed to today's burning of witches by two things. First, I would like to emphasize, more seriously now, the coalition cooperation. The fact that three political parties, which have just 100 votes in the Chamber of Deputies, in spite of all differences, are able to find a compromise, to reach an agreement and to push it forward, this fact I regard as an enormous success. I also regard this as a great change for the Czech politics. Nobody walks over his opponent, nobody exploit anybody. Negotiations are very tough in this coalition, often at the expense of sweeping concessions of all who are involved; nevertheless, all is done in fair way and agreements are fulfilled. If it were not ability to reach a consensus, it would not be possible to do so much work, which is mentioned in this book you will get. And thus I get on to the second contribution of this government – that it improved the political climate, it got rid of "witches". The contribution means everyday routine undemonstrative work, work that is not so visible, I would say. It was 100 days of work instead of 100 days of tolerance. That is why the title of this publication is "The First 100 Days", not The First 100 days of Tolerance. It indicates that the government has been facing tough criticism since the very beginning. It also indicates that it is just start and that further steps will have to continue. Those more than 70 pages, which describe briefly concrete measures taken by the government in order to improve lives of citizens, mean only the start, not the finished work. And I hope this fact will be taken into consideration. However, unlike witches, the government is not able to make miracles in 100 days. And I believe that the government will be judged according to work done in the following years, because it is its strength. In conclusion, I would like to add that the witches´ Sabbath does not concern only burning of witches; it is also said that treasures hidden in the earth can be discovered. And I wish each of you and each one in this country to be able to find his treasure. Thank you for your attention.
Martin Schmarcz, Head of the Press Department of the Office of the Government:
I thank the Prime Minister and now the Deputy Prime Minister Čunek has the floor.
Jiří Čunek, 1st Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Regional Development: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I am of the opinion that the coalition is very significant for us especially because we have learnt over those 100 days that an effort to reach an agreement is stronger than finding principal differences. As ministers who had already participated in different cabinets say, they have never felt such an effort to reach an agreement. This is the first thing. The second thing is that in the booklet, the Prime Minister is holding in his hands, is written that we want victory and victory, not victory and loss. A good feature of the coalition is that it resigned its own victory in favour of the victory of the entire Czech Republic. I do not mean only the change of state institutions performance but in particular the change of the system, so that change of our citizens´ behaviour could occur regarding measures taken by the state. It means that increasing of indebtedness of the state at the expense of our children will be ceased. Thank you.
Martin Schmarcz, Head of the Press Department of the Office of the Government: I thank the Deputy Prime Minister Čunek and now the Deputy Prime Minister Bursík has the floor.
Martin Bursík, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Environment: Thank you, good afternoon. I will start unusually, with our political party's view, as the first days of the government are also historically the first days of the Greens in the government. Participation in the government meant a great deal of uncertainty, of course, regarding to what extent we would be able to project those parameters into the common governance. I think that the introduction of the Prime Minister, when he emphasized method of our cooperation, certain political culture, which we created – correctness, solidity – they were basis for reaching agreements even in case of those issues, where standpoints of our political parties were different. Therefore I appreciate the fact that we succeeded in 100 days in dispelling certain scepticism regarding our isolated position in relation to the EU and to the process of institutional reforms of the EU. I appreciate the fact that we have strengthened position of the Czech Republic in abroad and that we, as the Czech Republic, have managed to formulate our position to such a significant issue like placement of the radar base in the territory of the Czech Republic and that we opened a debate on this issue at headquarters of NATO and in the EU. I appreciate the fact that we have taken realistic attitude to one of priorities of the EU – climate protection and transformation of the European economy to more efficient economy, which produce low emissions of greenhouse gases, and further and further issues. There are issues, of course, where we have to spend a lot of time negotiating and reaching compromises. But the important thing is that no disputes occur between the individual ministers, ministries and political parties, and that no party tries to gain political points at the expense of other two parties. All those ills, which could be found in the coalition governments in the past, we managed to keep away from us and I am of the opinion that the cooperation is good. Therefore I am looking forward to the next 100 days of our governance and I thank our partners for their solid attitude and for space for political negotiations.
Martin Schmarcz, Head of the Press Department of the Office of the Government: I thank Deputy Prime Minister Bursík and before your questions there will be a toast.
Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: So, just symbolically; those who are shooting their reports cannot drink not even symbolically, those, who are not shooting, can drink. But they will not as they do not drink on duty. More or less symbolically, I am very glad to have an opportunity to drink to further successful hundreds of days of this government and I hope that we will communicate with you in such a way, so that it would be reflected in information for the public and vice versa. So, I drink to your health.
Martin Schmarcz, Head of the Press Department of the Office of the Government: We are sorry you have not taken your drinks but it is all right as it could be regarded as a bribe. Now, after the toast, there is time for your questions. Always wait for a colleague of mine, who will bring a microphone, please, so that we can hear you. Is there any question, lease? The TV Prima and then the Czech Television will have a space and the TV Nova if you have raised your hands; but the TV Prima was the first one.
Tomáš Drahoňovský, TV Prima: Good afternoon. I would have a question to the Prime Minister, because during those first 100 days one great reform has been presented. It is a reform of public budgets. Therefore, I would like to ask what your assessment of yesterday's negotiation with the deputy Tlustý is. Do you think you can reach a compromise? I mean both, from your view and from the view of his. Thank you.
Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: Well, a great reform has been made from the measure, which I rather call a pulling the communication cord. I hope there will be still several reform packages like this. It is a really only a stabilization step – that is an information as an introduction so that we would not deluded ourselves that it is enough for achieving successful economy and successful country. It just stabilizes that anomaly, which occurred after those populist packages in 2006. Yesterday's meeting with Vlastimil Tlustý was planned and it was successful from my view, as we finally cleared up not his reservation but rather his standpoints regarding the solution. Today's meeting of economic ministers will deal with some of those proposals as well as certain proposals of Michal Doktor and the deputy Kafka had been involved. We will consider these matters; a faulty idea has occurred regarding proposal presented by the government, which was regarded as a final version. We said that the only one definite figure is the deficit of public budgets in the first, in the second and in the third year of the reform as it is set on the revenue and expense side of budgets. But we can make changes in the framework of the package. I regard the negotiation as successful in this sense. I really do not know whether we will be able to implement all those proposals, because there will be the meeting of economic ministers held and then there will be a debate at the meeting of the government concerning the concrete articulated bill, and then, of course, there will be debates in the Chamber of Deputies and in the Senate. So, the process could be finished sometime in July or even later; I am a great optimist.
Martin Schmarcz, Head of the Press Department of the Office of the Government: Thank you. A journalist from the Czech TV raised his hand.
Daniel Takáč, ČT: Good afternoon. I would like to ask for one thing. Jiří Paroubek, the chairman of the most powerful opposition party already responded to 100 days of the government of Mr. Topolánek. And he spoke about two members of the cabinet, apart from other things, about Mr. Čunek and about Mr. Bursík, about affairs of Mr. Čunek and about the fact that you, Prime Minister, were not able to solve the problem. This was a paraphrase of words of the Chairman of the ČSSD Jiří Paroubek who also said that Mr. Bursík has not managed to ask for subsidies in time. May I ask all three gentlemen for their responses?
Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: Well, it is evident and it was noticeable during yesterday's TV duel, which took place after a long time, that Jiří Paroubek has not coped with his election defeat in June last year. And it is nearly unprecedented in case of a politician as he would like to be regarded as a politician. I think he should start to work normally in the opposition and he should stop to bring matters into the political scene, which I wanted to burn up together with witches today. I mean spitefulness, personal attacks and in many cases also confusing issues and cases, which are being investigated and which will be investigated. It is undoubtedly connected with all those affairs of his previous government and you as a journalist must know that I have never made a personal attack regarding those affairs, which are now being solved in a standard way and I do not want to interfere in them. Therefore I regard his statement as a continuation of certain campaign, certain polarization of our political scene and our society; and I do not respond to these ebullitions as I regard them as useless. Perhaps nobody doubts that we have number of problems. We have solved all the problems for the present and we will be able to solve the problem you have mentioned.
Martin Schmarcz, Head of the Press Department of the Office of the Government: Well, as the first one Mr. Čunek was addressed and then the Deputy Prime Minister Bursík.
Jiří Čunek, 1st Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Regional Development: I cannot answer your question as it was aimed at the Prime Minister and it concerned something he was not able to solve. I think that he answered and I am not expected to answer it. As to my colleague Bursík, this matter is being solved by him somehow. Yes, it was at the last moment, but those programmes that you mentioned had been solved. I mean those water supply and distribution programmes. And I would say one thing regarding your question. When you open newspapers of the last week, and perhaps also of this week, I would think that the Czech Republic is very wealthy state because everybody submits an information on crime against everybody. Now, somebody submitted an information on crime against deputies Melčák and Pohanka. Some time before Mr. Uhl submitted an information on crime against the TV Prima because of certain voting. I, as a citizen Čunek had no idea what is the essence of the problem. That policemen must to investigate into every anonymous letter, they must respond to it and it costs a lot of money; a lot of work must be done. And I let alone my cases, as I have been learning that some of those 30 pieces of information on crime are gradually discontinued and I firmly believe that it will be like this in all cases. We are very wealthy state, as it is our national sport. And as one of you said, while the presidential campaign in France is a competition of ideas, here it is competition of information on crime. I firmly believe that it will be ceased here too, as the Prime Minister mentioned in connection with burning-up of witches.
Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: I would like to add something. I have forgotten to mention those funds. Try, and I really ask for it, try to forget that well-known rule saying that there is nothing elder than morning newspapers; try to revert to the situation during governance of Jiří paroubek, Stanislav Gross and Vladimír Špidla. Try to read what you had written about this issue, about unprecedented delay, which had been caused by those governments. Try to revert to your own articles and editorials, what criticism caused those 24 operational programmes of the Czech Republic. It is a problem that we are not able to solve as it is too late and we must reach a solution together with the DG Regio. Try to find what you had written about it, please, and then you will not be able to mention such question of Jiří Paroubek, one of authors, one of ministers of the Ministry for Regional Development. I do not want to use strict words; it would be more than enough if you read your own words written several months or years ago.
Martin Schmarcz, Head of the Press Department of the Office of the Government: Thank you and I hope that there is something left for the Deputy Prime Minister Bursík.
Martin Bursík, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Environment: Certainly. I had nearly a heart stoppage when Mr. Takáč mentioned me in connection with the blacklist of Jiří Paroubek. I was searching my conscience, what horrors I had caused. If it is only this issue, it is very funny. I think that based on words of the Prime Minister it is evident that everybody inherited something and I inherited, after some years of negotiations, great water supply and distribution projects, and we are litigating with the European Commission. I think it is quite useless. We are negotiating intensively on finding a modus vivendi, so that to dispel doubts of the European Commission and to avert a situation, in which significant financial means, some billion crowns, would not be contributed to the individual joint stock companies. In such a case it would be reflected in the stability of prices of water rates and in the improvement of services for customers. That is the problem. I just suspended dispatch of those requests by two days, I informed the Prime Minister about it. It had no influence on the negotiation; in other words, it is rather comical reservation, which has no weight, because it is just fun.
Martin Schmarcz, Head of the Press Department of the Office of the Government: Further question, please and raise your hand high, so that I can see them. A journalist of TV Nova raised her hand.
Lucie Alexová, TV Nova: One more question concerning Jiří Paroubek. If I can quote, he assessed your government as a government of scandals, mistakes, vulgarisms, purges, non-professionalism and obscurantism. The government was flooded with working problems and it is good that it was not more active; it could have ruined more things.
Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: He must have read an elder speech, it was an assessment of his government, I am afraid.
Martin Schmarcz, Head of the Press Department of the Office of the Government: Thank you, further question, please.
Martin Maruniak, TV Markíza: I have a question to all coalition chairmen. How would you respond to those sceptical opinions regarding weakness of your coalition government that it will not survive? And one more special question to the Prime Minister; you are assessing the first 100 days today, where do you want to go in the next 100 days? Thank you.
Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: I cannot answer anything else than that the wish is the father to the thought. We have been able to reach a consensus in a number of complicated issues where our standpoints were different and both Martin Bursík and Jiří Čunek were talking about it. I will be presenting the position of the Czech Republic to the institutional reform of the EU in the Czech Chamber of Deputies. Perhaps nobody believed that our three parties would be able to reach an acceptable consensus, which we would espouse during negotiation in the course of German presidency and further presidencies. We were able to reach it and the material is viable and it really represents a compromise, which had been reached after several months of negotiations. We were also able to reach a compromise in case of other issues and therefore I feel no fears regarding the future of this coalition. In spite of the fact that it is weak, as far as number of votes in the Chamber of Deputies is concerned, I am deeply convinced that also we ourselves feel responsibility for the coalition, so that it could implement those measures included in the Government Declaration. We declared clearly that otherwise it would be better to call an early election, in spite of those statements that it is a complicated procedure; I emphasize it is complicated to call an early election in our country but we would not adhere to this government in case of inability to realize those steps, which we had indicated. I would characterize those 100 days as 100 days of work, perhaps not so noticeable, lavish, bombastic work. Perhaps we could have been cleverer and certain issue present more visibly. We succeeded in certain areas – presentation of the CzechPoint and generally of the eGovernment was communicated better than some issues and very useful issues of the sphere of justice and some other areas which were more difficult as far as communication is concerned. I regard those 100 days as a confirmation of operational character of the government, that the government is able to find solutions, that it is able to bring long-term strategies and that it is able to uphold those matters. It is a promise for the future, I will not be speaking about further 100 days, I would rather be speaking about the first, second year and the second election period. It is a matter in which I am interested more than in further 100 days.
Martin Schmarcz, Head of the Press Department of the Office of the Government: Also chairmen of both coalition parties have been addressed, if they want to add something; or are you content with the answer of the Prime Minister?
Martin Bursík, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Environment: I would add something, if you allow, on behalf of my colleagues behind me. We were shortly debating before the press conference and we opened a debate on different length of the respective chapters, that some chapters includes graphs and that for example a shorter chapter can be a result of lack of time of the respective minister, as he had to work more. In short, I would like to ask you to assess those texts, which have been compiled as a result of work of the individual ministries, not according to their length and coloured pictures, but according to their content. It was a great life trial for us. There is an informal competition is in the government who is better. But we would like you to regard the individual chapters and the individual contributions as a result of a team work, because there was not defined how many pages the respective chapters were to have, whether five or ten or whether they were to have one graph or eight graphs.
Martin Schmarcz, Head of the Press Department of the Office of the Government: Thank you.
Jiří Čunek, 1st Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Regional Development: The last thing. I would like to say that every ministry was taken over in different state and each ministry had to accelerate in a different time its activities. It means that some of tasks are more topical and are more visible. I have a feeling that the effort of the government is not aimed at torpedoing anybody; the government just wants to show that all the ministries will meet their objectives.
Martin Schmarcz, Head of the Press Department of the Office of the Government: Thank you. The last question, please – Česká televize.
Daniel Takáč, ČT: Once more. Perhaps I will be more concrete as to Mr. Čunek. Those affairs, about which Jiří Paroubek speaks, are kind of an attack against the Czech government. In spite of the fact that you have heard this question many times, do not you want to bar these attacks taking a personal decision, so that they would not continue? And a small question to the Prime Minister; Jiří Paroubek said today that you are really number one. Do you regard it as a compliment or how do you regard it?
Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: He is right concerning this.
Jiří Čunek, 1st Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Regional Development: I am convinced that I want to bar those affairs and as you rightly mentioned I have heard the question many times and I also answered many times. You know it.
Martin Schmarcz, Head of the Press Department of the Office of the Government: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you and good-bye.

print article   email   facebook   twitter