Press Conferences

26. 1. 2007 9:20

Press briefing after meeting with the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany Angela Merkel Friday 26th January, 2007

Martin Schmarcz, head of the press unit of the Office of the Government: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference after negotiations of delegations of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Czech Republic. Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek will inform you on the results. As the first one, our distinguished guest, the Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel will be given the floor.

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany: Thank you. I am very pleased to be in Prague. I also congratulated the Prime Minister on forming the government and I have invited him to Berlin. It was a short meeting, but still, I am glad to be here. We have talked about bilateral relationships, above all on economic cooperation, which is very good. And I think that also the 10th anniversary of the Czech-German Declaration is a significant point and that by establishing the Future Fund, we pushed our relations forward. As far as European integration and the German presidency are concerned, I said we wanted to include the economic growth, social security of citizens, energy policy and de-bureaucratization in the agenda of the session of the European Council on 8th and 9th March. I think they are topics, which Czech citizens will be interested in, as well. Regarding the topic, which we will be debating in June, i.e. the Treaty on Constitution, we agreed on opening of a debate of experts and on involvement in this issue, which was not possible during the short visit today. We will get ahead in case we are acting in concert and in the same direction, if possible. It would be good and I am going to advertise it. Thank you for warm reception.

Martin Schmarcz, head of the press unit: Now, the Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek has the floor.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the CR: As an introduction, I must say that I am very pleased that Angela Merkel has come to Prague and that we could during short, nevertheless very intensive meeting, define and solve number of problems. As the Chancellor has already said, we left those bilateral issues until further meetings, where there will be more time for them. We touched on only two issues – energy security, which was mentioned and our proposals for which we required a support. And, of course, the 10th anniversary of the Czech-German Declaration and of the Future Fund. It was worth mentioning I think, and we regard the Future Fund as an excellent deposit for the future Czech-German relationships. I must say that regarding the principal issue of our meeting, which was opening of the debate on institutional framework of the EU, we very appreciate courage of the German presidency and also necessity to reopen discussion after two-year reflection, which the EU took after the crash of the previous document. Not because of the fact that the non-existence of the document would block function of the EU somehow, the EU did not face any political or institutional crisis, but rather for the future and for further enlargement. I think we also agreed on the fact that the discussion on the institutional framework of the EU cannot overshadow standard issues that the EU must solve, i.e. social and economic reforms, liberalization, European single market, also bureaucratization and all that what accompanied every presidency country every half a year and what is also awaiting the German presidency; and we agreed on those issues. In spite of the fact that we did not want to make a detailed analysis of the Czech attitude to this issue, this discussion will only be opened, I tried to inform Chancellor on the Czech attitude, on Czech priorities related to this issue. We are of the opinion that the time for that discussion cannot have influence on the quality of the new document and the quality of a consensus of the individual European countries. We think that the document is to be clearer, more comprehensible, more transparent, especially for European citizens. We think that competences of the European Union and competences on the national levels should be specified in more detailed manner. We shortly debated the fact that the document is to avoid disqualification conditions, new countries are exposed to nowadays. And I have stated – last but not least – the document must join European countries, not to separate them. As a conclusion, I would like to say that I welcome the German attitude to opening of discussion and abandoning that model, which had not led to the end, as far as the last document is concerned, I mean that they are opening the discussion on the intergovernmental level. I think it is a movement in the right direction and it gives for the first time the Czech Republic a chance to participate in the discussion competently and fully. I must say I regret we did not have time enough to visit a concert, so that we could informally speak about those problems, which we want to solve jointly. But the political life is like this and Angela Merkel is having dinner with Václav Klaus in a minute; so it is a hectic life.

Martin Schmarcz, head of the press unit of the Office of the Government: Ladies and gentlemen, now there is time for two questions at a maximum. With regard to the fact that the Chancellor hurries to the President, or I will ask first whether the Chancellor has time for two questions.

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany: It all depends on the President.

Martin Schmarcz, head of the press unit of the Office of the Government: Well, as the first one I saw the Český rozhlas and the second question – the man at the back.

Journalist, ARD TV: We have heard a lot of criticism as far as the Constitution is concerned. You said you would advertise it somehow. Do you have a feeling you have succeeded in this support?

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany: I am of the opinion that the Prime Minister presented very interesting framework for detailed talks and based on this we can open such talks and I am very content. I regard these talks as very constructive talks and I have not come here with intention to solve the Treaty on Constitution.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the CR: I would just add that the debate today was not on reservations, it was not on problems. We were rather seeking what was connecting us in the debate and what should connect European countries. The debate was very positive in this sense.

Martin Schmarcz, head of the press unit of the Office of the Government: After one German question one Czech question to have parity. Český rozhlas.

Jiří Hošek, Český rozhlas: Good evening, a question for the Chancellor. Germany is preparing for 50th anniversary of Treaties of Roma so called Berlin Declaration. I would like to ask what the relation of the Berlin Declaration to the old proposal of European Constitutional Agreement is. Are there any common points there; is it a kind of a semi-finished product for further negotiations?

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany: We want to express an idea through the Berlin Declaration, namely – jointly the European Parliament, the European Commission, the European Council regarding reasons of establishment of the EU, and what are its tasks in the 21st century. It means exactly that what we were talking about – to seek what connects all European countries. It should be something very readable that everybody understands, something what gives us a hope that it will lead to certain enthusiasm of people for Europe.

Martin Schmarcz, head of the press unit of the Office of the Government: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your attention.

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