Press Conferences

27. 2. 2007 10:25

Press conference of the Mirek Topolánek after negotiation with the Federal Chancellor of the Republic of Austria, Alfred Gusenbauer 27.2.2007

Martin Schmarcz, head of the press unit of the Office of the Government: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference after the negotiation of delegations of the Republic of Austria and the Czech Republic. I welcome the Federal Chancellor Mr. Gusenbauer and the Prime Minister Topolánek here. First, I give the floor to the Prime Minister Topolánek.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the CR: In spite of this, I think that it is the Chancellor, who should be given the floor as the first one. Therefore I give the floor to the Chancellor.

Alfred Gusenbauer, Federal Chancellor of the Republic of Austria: Dear ladies, dear gentlemen, I am very pleased to be in Prague today. Relationships between Austria and the Czech Republic are very good. It is reflected in the intensive exchange of goods, in mutual trade and also in mutual interpersonal contacts. We suppose that one million citizens from the Czech Republic will visit Austria in the next year and vice versa. The volume of foreign trade amounts to about 3 billion Euro and it is a proof of the fact that links between Austria and the Czech Republic are very close. We want still intensify our contacts. Using a pickaxe, we made the first symbolical step on the occasion of construction of the motorway A5, which will link Brno and Vienna in the near future. This motorway is to be finished in 2009 – 2010. We support accession of the CR to the Schengen Treaty. Reports on the recent progress turned out very well. We also agreed that we would support our common Slovak neighbour, so that he could meet Schengen criteria as well. It is not possible to undervalue this approach, what impact on coexistence of citizens in our regions will be like. We want to continue in positive traditions from the past; we want to continue in the year 1968 when the solidarity between citizens of our nations was extremely strong. Therefore we will arrange a common symposium, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the "Prague Spring"; it will be the symposium "Year 1968 and its consequences". And this symposium will be held under the auspices of the Prime Minister and my person. We are delighted with good cooperation in the framework of the regional partnership and we are also delighted with the support of the CR regarding our efforts to attain temporary seat in the Security Council of the United Nations. And we will also support the Ahtisaari´s report on the state in Kosovo, which he will present to the Security Council. And we will insist on non-delaying of this issue, so that it will be solved before this summer. The Czech Republic and Austria are good friends with number of common matters and two friends are always able to debate matters they have different opinions of. Therefore we debated the issue of the nuclear power station in Temelín and issues concerning the Melk process. And we were of the same opinion concerning the requirement of the most objective character of the negotiations. The Melk agreement is a good basis for this debate as it set number of consultations and experience exchange, so that we would reduce animosity on both sides, so that we would avoid further blockages on our frontiers; and higher transparency is a key to this. We also agreed that a joint interparliamentary committee should be established between the Czech and Austrian parliaments, which would be directly in Temelín engaged in security issues of the nuclear power station, so that parliaments could be involved in the Melk process. I think that we were carrying out very constructive discussion and good talks, and we are convinced that both nations of ours can profit by closer cooperation between Austria and the Czech Republic. And I also thank for fantastic hospitality.

Martin Schmarcz, head of the press unit of the Office of the Government: I thank the Federal Chancellor for his introductory speech and now, after guests, the domestic representatives have the floor.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the CR: I think It was good, and you have certainly understand it, that I gave the floor to the Federal Chancellor of Austria, Mr. Gusenbauer as the first one, because he summarized the main issues of the debate and main results of the debate. I have just a few comments to say. We, of course, debated our common position to the Balkan in detail and the effort of countries of the West Balkan to integrate in the EU. Both countries have their troops in Balkan, both countries will form, together with Germans, joint battle group. We clarified number of details regarding that foreign affairs issue, which is nevertheless very European one. As far as European issues are concerned, I think that everything has been said regarding Schengen. It is a priority for us and we were delighted with the interest of Austria in the process SIS I. for all. Of course, we were talking about Berlin Declaration and on the process of institutional reform of the EU, but we did not find any problems in this sphere. So, regarding the European issues, we want to deepen our cooperation, which I could call a transfer of experience from the Austrian presidency in the EU, because the same awaits us in the first half of 2009. Infrastructure projects, there are number of them recently, whether it is the A5 or the main railway route, will be debated by ministers of transport of both countries. I think that regarding mutual economic exchange, the Chancellor has said all. Nevertheless, we agreed on cooperation in energy areas, in particular using renewable energy resources, biomass and others, as in these areas Austria belongs among notable countries of the EU. Regarding question, which will certainly be a subject of your question and it is a "never ending story", regarding the nuclear power station Temelín, regarding blockades – both countries, both representatives, both delegations expressed their conviction that it cannot be the only one and it cannot be the main issue of bilateral relationships. I think that the right mechanism is the way of constructive debate, communication, dialogue also on the basis of a interparliamentary commission or committee. We welcome willingness of the Austrian side to start negotiation on information agreement, which would be an agreement according the international law, which would establish clear relationship concerning nuclear security and radiation protection for the future. Both countries want intensively participate in the European discussion on nuclear security, diversification of supplies and relating issues. I would like to appreciate readiness of the Austrian delegation, because the negotiation was very friendly and also very smooth, and I think we will be able to remove those problems and drawbacks, which are for example in case of infrastructure projects, very quickly. Thank you.

Martin Schmarcz, head of the press unit of the Office of the Government: I thank the Prime Minister. Ladies and gentlemen, with regard to time pressure, there is time for two questions of yours at a maximum, it means I would let chance for one question from the Austrian side and then for one question from the Czech side. The Chancellor pointed there, and so I respect it.

Kurt Seinitz, Kronen Teitung: Unfortunately, one question concerning that "never-ending story". First, I have one question for the Prime Minister. Prime Minister, the Austrian politicians were talking about it in connection with the nuclear power station in Temelín. They objected that the process of final inspection was not preceded by fulfilling of common points that are included in the Melk Process. What is your opinion concerning this issue? And then, one question for the Federal Chancellor, will the establishment of that interparliamentary commission be sufficient for solution of those problems?

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the CR: I am, of course, deeply convinced that all the points of Melk and Brussels agreements were met, also by above-standard way of presentation of final inspection documents. I think that the clarification in the following period of time will be done, so that we could state that based on the finishing of the Melk Process, conclusion of an agreement according to international law would be really rewarding; and it concern the information agreement, which has already been sent off by the Czech side. So, I am convinced that if there are certain doubts, it is necessary to sit at the table end negotiate it constructively. I do not know any other procedure.

Alfred Gusenbauer, Federal Chancellor of the Republic of Austria: I thank you very much for your question, because first I would like to mention that what will not help this matter, according to my opinion. It will not help our matter to exchange not very friendly actions. We in Austria suppose that fears that inhabitants have must be taken seriously but our objective should be not to live with our neighbour in disputes; our objective is to remove these fears and concerns. And the best way is to listen to each other at one table when both sides are speaking, it concerns listening to thesis and to anti-thesis, because it is necessary to explain where the true is and where it is possible, if necessary, to check how the things are going. And who is entitled to do that than representatives elected by the Czech and Austrian people, who represent these people in the Czech and Austrian parliaments. And therefore I really think that by transferring the Melk Process to parliaments, a very significant step has been taken. And I would also like to say that our negotiations with the Prime Minister concerning the information agreement, which has been mentioned, have moved forward to create security and safety conditions for the future.

Martin Schmarcz, head of the press unit of the Office of the Government: Česká televize, please.

Jan Macháček, ČT: I would like to ask both premiers regarding those blockades. In case results of your negotiation does not satisfy Austrian deputies and objectors to Temelín, blockades of frontiers crossing will take place as early as tomorrow. I want to ask the Prime Minister Topolánek if there are some steps from the Czech side to prevent this type of demonstrations. And I would like to ask the same question, in fact, the federal Chancellor, if Austrian authorities can do something about it.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the CR: Well, I am not surprised that in spite of the fact 99,99% of problems between the CR and Austria are solved, or they are matters without any problem, journalists of both countries are interested in that blood, in the dispute. I would wish not to deal with disputes, but on the contrary with that what is operates well, but I cannot look to journalist fort this, of course. The negotiation, which we conducted today led to the opposite, I would say, to the tame response of both sides to steps of the public of the other side, because we are responsible politicians and escalation of problems is not our interest; our duty is to solve disputes, if any. Our task, task of those who head the individual countries, is not to be engaged in suits at international courts, but on the contrary to seek for a solution. Therefore, we do not consider these actions as actions of the Austrian government. The response will be adequate to all the facts, which I have mentioned.

Alfred Gusenbauer, Federal Chancellor of the Republic of Austria: The objective of the Austrian government is to have open frontiers with the CR and this is a reason why we unconditionally support enlargement of the Schengen area by the CR. We are not interested in blockades of frontiers either, but concurrently, there exist the freedom to demonstrate in Austria and sometimes demonstrations are held, which we do not like, but it is a democratic right of people. Our task is to contribute to transfer of the debate to constructive, so that people have right, so that they know that their democratically elected representatives in parliaments try to ensure security and thus to avoid necessity to build new walls. And we want to contribute to this by our work.

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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