Press Conferences

30. 11. 2006 17:04

Press conference of Prime Minister of the CR, Mirek Topolánek after the meeting of the government on Wednesday 30th November 2006

Radim Ochvat, secretary of the Prime Minister: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Straka´s Academy after the meeting of the government. Allow me to apologize myself and now I would give the floor, as the first one, to the Prime Minister:

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the CR: I will try to mention the respective points of the agenda in the order the debate was running and I will try to aim at the interesting ones. There were a lot of points today, with regard to the fact that it was a night meeting. Apart from other matters, we adopted the position of the CR to the issue of free movement of workers for citizens of Bulgaria and Romania; we will not be those who would hinder the free movement. Nevertheless, we stipulated, similarly as in case of other countries, the right to respond adequately if analyses show worsening of the situation. I think that the most interesting issues concerned the Convergence Programme, capabilities of public budgets to co-finance means from the EU funds. It is a material that was submitted by minister Gandalovič and he will inform you about it; the material concerns the issue of using these funds and monitoring that using. And in connection with this I must state that we are getting into unpleasant situation as a consequence of that recent development of public budgets, deficits of budgets and the policy of previous governments. Our report that we submit regularly to Brussels, so called "Convergence Programme and its Fulfilment", means in fact non-fulfilment of the Convergence Programme. We can send out an updated Convergence Programme by March of the next year, but this action of ours may mean possible penalization of the CR, decrease of funds used and it would be such a high risk that I will include this issue among those that are part of the debate on the new government. If the new government is not really pro-reform government, if it really does not solve public finances, then the CR will be penalized and it will not be able to use such money from funds of the EU. Moreover, it will not be able to co-finance the individual programmes. Further points of the agenda that are worth mentioning – we approved the definition of housing pursuant to state social policy, which should mean possibility of decreased VAT, as the previous government had prepared. An interesting material has been submitted by the Minister of Interior and Informatics. It concerned the analysis of legal powers to promulgate legal regulations of municipalities and regions. It concerns monitoring of municipality's and regional´s legal regulation and checking whether they are in compliance with the law. To explain it in a lighter manner, it is a fact that sometimes not very sound reason wins, but it is stipulated by a law - the government approves exceptions for activities in protected landscape areas and we approved today an exception for a student of the Pedagogical Faculty of the University of Ostrava, who may, based on the approval of the government, enter with her own car the area because of work on her thesis. I have asked the Minister of Environment to try to solve this problem, so that common sense would win over the law, which is not very reasonable regarding this issue. We abolished function of government representatives of the individual regions because they had lost their sense. I have a feeling that the important material is the government decree, which stipulates scales of basic tariffs for members of security corps for 2007, which enable to pay up these members. A material, which stipulates health insurance plans and assesses health insurance plans will be presented by minister Julínek. It is necessary to say that these health insurance plans are assessed and are submitted to the Chamber of Deputies not in the year when they are to be applicable but in the previous year. It means that we would like to submit to the Chamber of Deputies the assessment of health insurance plans now. I suppose that these were the most important matters and I give the floor to Petr Gandalovič to inform you in detail about the materials, he had submitted.

Petr Gandalovič, Minister for Regional Development: I would like to express my opinion to the material, which was submitted by the Minister of Finance and it concerns the issue of ability of the state budget to finance the Czech share for the European funds, i.e. our co-financing at the amount of 15%. The material, in fact, presents three scenarios: an optimistic, a realistic and a pessimistic one. In all those scenarios is the share of mandatory expenditures increasing and the conclusion is that if we do not carry out reform of public finances, the share of mandatory expenditures will significantly threaten the state budget of the CR regarding co-financing or the share of co-financing those European funds, which would result in inability to use European funds from the side of the CR. On the one hand the conclusion is that it is necessary to carry out the reform of public finances, on the other hand the conclusion is that the co-financing must be a priority for all budget headings. As to the material that I had submitted in connection with this issue, it concerns the principle of financing, which significantly facilitates municipalities and regions using the European funds; it is a principle of continuous financing, unlike the exiting ex post financing. It means that an applicant had to pay all financial means for the project in question using his own resources, or a credit, and only after finish of the project he could ask for payment. The government approved today the running system of financing, it means that the situation of an applicant will be better and that there will be higher the chance to increase number of those projects and that we will use all means from European funds.

Radim Ochvat, secretary of the Prime Minister: I thank the minister and in conclusion, the Minister of Health will be speaking.

Tomáš Julínek, Minister of Health: Good evening or late night. When I came to the ministry, I faced to the fact, as far as health insurance plan were concerned, that the health insurance plans for 2006 had not been discussed by the Chamber of Deputies, and therefore I withdrew them. Therefore I regard to remedy that nonsense and that is why I submitted health insurance plans for 2007 as early as in 2006. We suppose in these health insurance plans positive economy results of health insurance companies, of all health insurance companies. The situation in case of the Všeobecná zdravotní pojišťovna (General Health Insurance Company) is different owing to the fact that it shows cumulative loss. In 2006 it is going to be 8,5 billion crowns and for 2007 we approved an ambitious plan to decrease the loss down to 2,5 billion crowns. And the Ministry of Health will supervise the above-mentioned plans to be pro-reform, because the situation is worsened by the increased payments of the state for persons whose general health insurance is covered by the state and it is not caused by any measures of the past. It is not resolutely caused by the official conservatorship; it is not resolutely caused by measures of 2006, those well-known limits. Therefore, it is necessary to take reform measures in 2007 in the sphere of healthcare, so that in 2008 they would be in effect and so that we need not rely on state financial means, as their increase, or the increase of payments for persons whose health insurance is paid by the state would be quite complicated.

Radim Ochvat, secretary of the Prime Minister: That was a summary od issues of today's meeting of the government. Do you have any questions, please? Radiožurnál.

Ondřej Černý, Radiožurnál: Good evening. Prime Minister, you have said that you had approved that Bulgarians and Rumanians would be able to work in the Czech Republic, but that you had left the door open. What could be the effects in a moment when, hypothetically, a great number of people would come to our market from those countries? Would you forbid them to enter our market?

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the CR: It is already half past eleven and I will answer your question, which I do not regard as very appropriate. Even now it is stipulated in our law that certain measures can be taken in relation with new countries of the EU. It is exactly stipulated there and therefore the law will have to be extended by these two countries; but the law has not been used so far in this sense. It is a security measure that can be used, based on analyses, but it should not be any kind of an anti-discriminatory measures. We have this possibility as well as in case of other countries, like Baltic republics, Slovakia, Hungary and such like. So, we do not expect this possibility and we are not among countries, which use restrictions, as it is the case of the attitude of Germany and Austria to us. We are among countries, the effort of which is aimed at free movement of workers. Concerning those countries that impose certain measures against us - if we do not want those countries to use them, we shall not use them in relation to Bulgaria and Rumania. Analyses show that it will not be a problem. In spite of this fact, the security measure will be stipulated there and it will be done through an amendment of the respective act, which will be submitted in the first or second quarter of the next year.

Radim Ochvat, secretary of the Prime Minister: Further question, please.

Alice Blažková, ČTK: Good evening. Can you say what the attitude of the government was to the Initiative of the Council of the Government for Human Rights regarding establishment of an independent body for investigation of criminal behaviour of members of armed forces? And you have also debated the bill amending the Penal Act, which increased punishments for illegal transfer of persons from one state to another. Has the government approved that?

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the CR: Yes, the first legal norm we withdrew from the agenda and the government will not debate it any longer, as we want to solve the problem in a systematic way, through the transfer of the commission of the Ministry of Interior. It is a question if the commission will be under the Ministry of Justice or whether it will be separate one. We will not use a partial solution; we will use a systematic one. The second matter, we have approved it without problems. We have implemented or incorporated the respective direction and penalties for transfer of persons and related criminal activities will be higher and there should not be a problem regarding this.

Radim Ochvat, secretary of the Prime Minister: Further question, please. If there is no other question, I wish you nice rest of this night.

print article   email   facebook   twitter