Press Conferences

16. 3. 2007 9:31

Press briefing of the Prime Minister of the CR, Mirek Topolánek, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic, Ján Kubiš, on 16.3.2007

Martin Schmarcz, Head of the Press Department of the Office of the Government: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press briefing after the working meeting of the Prime Minister of the Czech government Mirek Topolánek and the Slovak Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ján Kubiš. As an introduction, minister Kubiš and the Prime Minister Topolánek will inform you on conclusions of the meeting, and then there will be time for two questions at a maximum. Now, I give the floor to Minister Kubiš. You have the floor.

Ján Kubiš, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic. Thank you very much. Prime Minister, first of all I appreciate the fact that this official visit can take place, which confirms the high rhythm of our common actions, which emphasize above-standard character of our relationships. I am very glad to have opportunity to debate during our meeting also the most fundamental issues of our bilateral and international relationships of present days. I took the advantage of the opportunity, and I am going to do it here as well, to thank the Czech Republic for enabling the Slovak Republic to store its emergency reserves in the case of unexpected situations regarding energy raw materials; that absolute confidence is further example of our good cooperation. We debated, of course, the Schengen issue; we confirmed that for inhabitants of our countries there is no better variant than disappearance of signs of any frontiers from 1st January 2008. I confirmed firm resolution of the government of the Slovak Republic to meet this deadline and I thanked for willingness and readiness of our Czech colleagues to help us in case of need. We debated the issue of visa in case of travelling to the USA and we appreciated present measures of a legislative and administrative character that could help to achieve a non-visa regime. We expect we will be able to be included among other member states of the EU which already enjoy a non-visa regime. We expect their help, their solidarity in our effort. We debated the cooperation in economy, our cultural relationships; we discussed certain issues of international character. I would like to thank once more for this opportunity of the official visit with a broad range of actions and talks.

Martin Schmarcz, Head of the Press Department of the Office of the Government: Now, the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Mirek Topolánek has the floor.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the CR: Thank you, minister. Dear ladies, dear gentlemen, I think that the fact that we met the minister last time at the European Council in Brussels on Thursday and Friday is the evidence of our frequent contacts. And therefore there was certain reflection of the meeting of the European Council, reflection of our successful joint action; not only our two countries, but mostly new countries, which faced a problem of rather ambitious objectives of the European Commission and the German presidency. There were just our countries, which enabled Angela Merkel and the German presidency to achieve the ambitious objective at the expense of a compromise regarding the final conclusions of the European Council. The fact that the European Union and their member states undertook to cut emissions of carbon dioxide by 20% and that they undertook to meet binding parameter of 10% of usage of biofuels and that the EU would decrease share of renewable energy resources in the energy mix by 20%, there were very ambitious objectives, and we contributed to them paradoxically by the fact that we achieved assessment of our energy potential of renewable resources and therefore we enabled such a successful result. The second matter about which we were talking and which the minister, who informed about most points of the agenda, did not mention, concerned the cooperation within the Visegrad "4". Slovakia is now a presiding country of Visegrad "4" and we will take over this role. We talked about cooperation of the Visegrad "4" and we talked about the way how to use the Czech presidency in the 1st half of 2009, presidency in the European Council, for fulfilment of our common interests within the Visegrad "4", which might be a content of the Czech presidency in the next year, and which we will take over from our colleagues. Those debates are always very concrete, very friendly and I have nothing to add to what the minister had said.

Martin Schmarcz, Head of the Press Department of the Office of the Government: Now there is time for two questions of yours, which concern Czech-Slovak relationships. TV Markíza.

Martin Maruniak, TV Markíza: I would like to ask both gentlemen. Minister, you were talking about certain problems, or problem issues, which you started to solve now. Can you be more specific?

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the CR: They are two different matters, are not there?

Ján Kubiš, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic. Common issues are not problem issues. Common issues, which we have, concern for example energy development. We are jointly interested in energy security, whether it is within the EU or within our countries. We, as a government, are setting certain ambitious targets nowadays; we are talking about the nuclear energy development, for example. Conclusions of the European Council have been mentioned here, which direct us to use renewable energy resources. And we were talking about our attitudes our approaches to this issue; they are not problems in a sense of any disputes, but they are issues, which we want to solve using common measures and cooperation.

Martin Maruniak, TV Markíza: Can you be more specific regarding the Schengen issue or the American visa, do you have a common attitude; after the meeting with Minister Schwarzenberg you mentioned possible aid of the Czech side in case of some problems.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the CR: I think that the accession to the Schengen area and demolition of crossbars on the New Year's Eve of 2008 is very symbolical and that the cooperation of Minister Kaliňák and Minister Langer is direct. I think that a time schedule was set, task are being checked day after day on the Czech side and on the Slovak side, of course. We know what the problem issues are and we will try to solve them; the fact that it will be a common solution is our advantage, as we are able to communicate without problems. I do not know the details, I know that the Slovak Republic faces more complicated situation, more complicated situation than the Czech Republic, as it has to secure the external frontiers of the Schengen area. Nevertheless, this is an area where absolutely direct and close cooperation is continuing and it is good thing. As to the American visa – I think that our common procedure was started a long time ago. A coalition has been formed for visa coequality and the fact that the American Congress is debating this issue is our success, this is one thing. On the other hand, it is our common attitude in the framework of the EU because it may mean certain new attitude of the USA in case of some changes in the framework of a non-visa regime within the EU. Those negotiations are in progress, we consult our common attitude because our interests are the same.

Martin Schmarcz, Head of the Press Department of the Office of the Government: The last question, please.

Journalist, Slovak Television: Have you debated also placement of radars in the territory of the Czech Republic?

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the CR: I admit that in spite of the fact we were sitting together for a long time, we did not debate this issue; apart from other things it was because of the fact that also the Slovak side understands that no official actions occurred and we are waiting for the diplomatic note, which will the Czech Republic dispatch as an answer to the American note. Then, we will of course want to officially inform our neighbours, among which the Slovak Republic is, about all the aspects of this matter. They will be Parliaments of the respective countries, which will decide on placement of some facilities of antimissile defence in the Czech or Polish territories. Nevertheless, it befits, and I promised it, that we would of course inform also the Slovak government, the Slovak Prime Minister and Slovak people, of impacts on the common defence of European countries once we started officially negotiate with the American side.

Ján Kubiš, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic. It is like this, I can confirm it.

Martin Schmarcz, Head of the Press Department of the Office of the Government: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your attention.

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