Press Conferences

27. 8. 2007 9:44

Press conference after the meeting of the government held on 22nd August, 2007

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference after the meeting of the government. I welcome members of the government, the Prime Minister, Mr. Mirek Topolánek, the Minister of Defence, Mrs. Vlasta Parkanová, the Minister of Industry and Trade, Mr. Martin Říman and the Minister of Interior, Mr. Ivan Langer. It is the Prime Minister who has the floor as the first one.
Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Mirek Topolánek: Good afternoon, I try to briefly inform you on those points, which the government debated and my colleagues will perhaps add more detailed information, which we regard as important ones. Regarding points which were considered in the course of the debate we approved today the law which was related to the ban of chemical weapons. We suspended because of formal reasons and we will close the debate next week on the Bill amending the Labour Code, which is in fact a norm that had been debated in the tripartite but principal basis of this amendment do not respect the Decision of the Constitutional Court and therefore it does not affect those amendments which are subject of complaint of the Constitutional Court, but it is in compliance with the opinion of employers and the ČMKOS (Czech-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions). We suspended this point, as we want to amend this bill by certain matters, which we want to discuss with our social partners. We approved the Act on the Land Fund unanimously after a long discussion and we approved the Bill on the Integrated Register of Polluters, as well. We suspended rather because of formal reasons the Draft Government Order Laying own Conditions for Granting Subsidies for Agricultural Land Afforestation, as it is necessary to clear up certain issues and we will finish the debate next week. Relatively curious matter, but we had to debate it, was the Draft Government Order on Awards in the Field of Healthcare Granted by the Ministry of Healthcare. If Minister Julínek was here, he would describe a case of a blind man who was awarded a camera. It was a small discrepancy; nevertheless we had to debate it. We evaluated the State Programme for Support of Energy Saving; it was also repeated discussion on this issue and we approved this material. The National Strategy of Education towards Sustainable Development will be subjected to further discussion; it is a material about which both political and professional discussion will be led. We approved the National Plan of Child Accident Prevention. We debated, and it was a repeated discussion, the coordination mechanisms for implementation of the "Efficient Public Administration" and establishing a committee, which is now operating as an informal committee of deputy ministers. Its performance is very good and we institutionalized the committee, as we expect coordination in the framework of the integrated operational programme and especially Smart Administration, which is a part that is under the control of the Ministry of Interior. We approved, and there will be a question concerning this issue and also Minister Parkanová will speak about it, the Aim of Activities of the Czech Republic in International Security Assistance Force for Afghanistan in the framework of PRT in a new locality in Lógar. I think that an interesting thing is that we approved instruments of the International Labour Organization. Further point, which I notice a discussion in media about and which was very interesting, was approved by the government only after repeated debate, or rather after debate in stages. It concerned exchange of shares of Pražská energetika, Joint Stock Company for shares of the ČEZ, which would remain in possession of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs as long as the government establishes a separate pension fund, in the second stage of the pension reform, in which shares will be allocated; nevertheless, they are subject to further decisions. These shares which are in the possession of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs now do not enable to influence operation of and decision-making process in the company as there is majority owner there, while in case of shares of the ČEZ because of dividend policy and because the fact that the state has two-third majority in the company, those shares enable to use this property investment. We approved small amendment concerning using financial means for environmental damage caused by brown-coal mining companies. We allocated the relevant resources for projects and shares approved; nevertheless, we will systematically discuss the coordination in the sphere of old environmental burden; it concerns restoration of damage after coal mining. Not only because of fund using but also because of suspicion of corruption, we want to subject the system in this sphere to completely different regime. Finally we also approved the social benefits, which were connected with problems in Železárny a drátovny Bohumín, Joint Stock Company; it was just a small material. We established and approved the statute of the State Border Protection and Migration Analytic Centre and it will be Ivan Langer who will be speaking about it. And I have a feeling that the last of those significant issues of the agenda, which we debated and which is worth mentioning was the material that concerned a directive for negotiation at a conference, so called Intergovernmental Conference of Government Representatives. The conference is to change certain treaties of the European Union and it is to execute the mandate of the European Council that I attended to in June of this year. This directive does not change the mandate given by the European Council; it rather specifies technical, organizational and factual mandate of those people who will be lead by me and who will negotiate at the international conference. That is all from my side. As there will be a question regarding one matter, I will answer it at once. It concerns the possible nomination of Mr. Tošovský to the IMF. I would like to say regarding this that Mr. Tošovský is not a candidate of the Czech Republic. We coordinated the attitude to nomination of the Executive Director of the IMF in the framework of the European Union. The result of this coordination is that it is Strauss-Kahn who is the candidate supported by the European Union and also by the Czech Republic. If I were to trifle with this issue, I would say that he is French but with German name, which reflects ambitions of the two most powerful countries of the European Union. And we would not regard as good to change our standpoint now, whoever submits such a proposal. I think that it is the minimum, which is worth mentioning. Thank you.
Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: I thank the Prime Minister and now the Minister of Defence has the floor.
Vlasta Parkanová, Minister of Defence: Thank you for the floor. Ladies and gentlemen, the material I submitted together with the Minister of Foreign Affairs to the government today had the only one objective – to define future involvement of the Czech Republic in Afghanistan and to define the individual spheres of activities. The purpose of the material is also to try to make performance of the Army of the Czech Republic in one of the most important alliance mission more effective, to concentrate actions of its army contingents, and to strengthen the civil element with the accent on reconstruction activities. I am of the opinion that these objectives could be achieved best through our intention to have our own province reconstruction team, in the province of Lógar in the south-east of the country, to be concrete. We are convinced that connecting of civil and military activities is a prerequisite for the success in the stabilization of any country in a post-conflict phase. For that reason, the PRT teams are the important part of the international community efforts to ensure security and stability in Afghanistan. This way of fulfilment of obligations is in the framework of NATO considered as one of the most necessary ones and therefore it is highly appreciated. There certainly exist risks regarding involvement of our soldiers in less quiet part of Afghanistan, in spite of humanitarian and reconstruction character of tasks, and the government and the Army of the Czech Republic are aware of it. However, these risks can be reduced through careful preparation of the civil and military staff and, of course, through using proper material and technical equipment. The Ministry of Defence is able to fulfil its tasks resulting from this challenging project and it is ready to ensure secure atmosphere for realization of these civil reconstruction projects, which are main part of PRT activities. The Ministry of Defence also suppose that in the framework of the PRT, soldiers of the Army of the Czech Republic will be also involved, according to need, in training of the Afghanistan security troops. In conclusion, I would like to say that from the military point of view, the establishment of the separate PRT means making good use of our experiences from involvement in military missions in abroad and it is also a good opportunity to deepen our abilities and to acquire new knowledge. The government believes that it will find understanding regarding this initiative in the Parliament.
Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: I thank the Minister of Defence and now the Minister of Industry and Trade has the floor.
Martin Říman, Minister of Industry and Trade: Good afternoon once more. I will just briefly add information that concerns materials, which I submitted and about which the Prime Minister was speaking in his introductory speech. As to the report on using funds for reduction of damage in regions where intensive mining activities were done, I mean the Karlovy Vary, Ústí, Moravian-Silesian, and Kladno Regions, I would like just to add that the government, together with evaluation of fund usage approved further tranche at the amount of four billion crowns for revitalization of affected areas of the Moravia-Silesian Region. As to the material on the social programme in Železárny a drátovny Bohumín, joint stock company, the government decided definitely that about 13 million crowns would be given to several tens of employees who had been dismissed because of restructuring of the steel industry in the framework of the programme and who would not be entitled to get this benefit just because of formal reasons. Thank you.
Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: I thank the Minister of Industry and Trade, and now the Minister of Interior has the floor.
Ivan Langer, Minister of Interior: Good afternoon. The government approved at today's meeting establishment of the State Border Protection and Migration Analytic Centre. There are two reasons for that decision. Migration is becoming, apart from threat of international terrorism, one of the most serious problems, which is being discussed and solved, as it concerns the entire European Union. The second reason is the projected accession of the Czech Republic to the Schengen area on 1st January 2008. Both these reasons make us to change existing attitudes to protection of the Czech territory and Czech borders, because the Czech Republic will become a part of the Schengen area, where it will not be able to have an effective filter at its borders and it will have to change, I say it frankly, strategy of our attitude to the migration problem and how to prevent migration influences from bringing more social, political, and economic problems to the Czech republic. For this reason the State Border Protection and Migration Analytic Centre was established. The Czech Republic is after Germany the second country of the European Union, which solves the problem of migration and protection against migration waves. The new way of the fight against unwelcome migration consists in closer involvement of the individual ministries that have connection with this problem. The Analytic Centre will consist of representatives of the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, and the Ministry of Transport; and I say frankly it will consist of representatives of intelligence services, as well. We are of the opinion that this composition will bring better system and better prerequisite how to protect Czech citizens against unwelcome migration influence. As I have already said, the Czech Republic is the second country of the European Union which decided to fight against such a serious problem as the problem of migration is, in such a new and complex way.
Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, now there is time for your questions. Kamil Houska, the TV Nova.
Kamil Houska, TV Nova: Good afternoon, Prime Minister I would like to ask you whether you talked about yesterday, whether you celebrated a bit your reform success in the Chamber of Deputies. And I must ask you if you could respond to what Mr. Klas says that you and the establishment of the ODS put pressure evoking memories of the 1950´ and that those rebels were sent threatening SMS´s. Thank you.
Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Mirek Topolánek: I just stated the glad fact in the introduction that we are not a government in the demission, but that we are still awaiting this situation. I do not want to lighten it. Of course we had no time to deal with it; all of us were direct actors and I do not have a feeling that somebody celebrated it because we knew that we had to attend to the meeting of the government that morning. I do not want if there is something to be celebrated, because the way of the approval process and certain problems in the coalition are not reasons for a celebration. It does not mean that I do not regard the material as a breakthrough one, as a material, which significantly pushes public budgets to better figures and which pushes this government to the state in which it will be able to realize this programme. I do not want to express my opinions regarding Klas, it is not my style; everybody who knows me must know that I did not certainly extorted anybody. I was he who was permanently seeking any bridge for reaching an agreement. You, who write about it, and it is correct that you give space to all the opinions, you had to get to know during past hours, weeks, and moths who was extorting who, and I think that the Czech public know it either.
Martin Říman, Minister of Industry and Trade: I would add just one remark, as I participated in those negotiations in the last days, I mean the Friday's negotiation of the expert group of the ODS on Monday at the Executive Council, and I can say that Mr. Klas did not attend to those negotiations. They were Mr. Schwippel, Mr. Raninec, Mr. Tlustý who attended to this negotiation, but it was not Mr. Klas. Therefore, he can hardly express any personal experience regarding those negotiations; the Friday's one was really very long and it lasted three hours and a half.
Ivan Langer, Minister of Interior: Just a practical remark, because I am a member of the establishment of the ODS. I think that he who says something like that, he should ask a question first: "Who concretely, whom concretely and how concretely was extorting?" I think that if you answer those three questions, or if you ask those three questions a person who affirms that it happened like that, then you find out what a serious problem it was in fact.
Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Mirek Topolánek: Nevertheless, as the real conclusion, I think it is good to say that I regard the final agreement as a correct one. It was not enforced; it was an agreement, which was reached at the Executive Council. The Executive Council adopted it quite unanimously. I do not have a feeling that members of the Executive Council which are composed of representatives of regions, and is composed of the mixed spectrum of the membership, would have a feeling that the establishment and Mr. Topolánek was those who extorted them. I must say, and it is rather conceited of me that I contributed to the agreement just because of the fact that I did not extort anybody, because I was not resolute, because I was very moderate.
Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Thank you.
Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Mirek Topolánek: Further question, please.
Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Is there further question? Česká televize.
Hana Mášová, Česká televize: I would revert to today's meeting, to the Labour Code. Do you think that this code could come into effect starting from mid 2008, dispite today's suspension?
Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Mirek Topolánek: I am not saying that we are unpleasantly surprised, but it is within the competence of the Constitutional Court that the deadline of settlement of the request will be sometime in September of this year. The fact that the decision was postponed leads us to a speedy submission, because we have the problems discussed with our social partners and therefore we suppose that we could enforce shortened deadlines together with the opposition. The amendment does not bring any breakthrough solution; it solves those lots of problems which were contained in the Labour Code approved last year. Those problems have been debated and I do not have a feeling that there is anything here that would prevent the amendment from being adopted. The postponement by one week is just marginal thing and it is because of reaching those things you are asking about; it means that we would not complicate the adoption of the Labour Code by reflecting the situation in the healthcare sphere. So, we will not insert the passage on the healthcare into the amendment without an agreement of the healthcare trade unions, the ČMKOS (Czech-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions), or our partners in the Chamber of Deputies.
Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Thank you.
Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Mirek Topolánek: And I am saying it quite frankly.
Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Excuse me. Further question, please? Thank you and good-bye.

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