Press Conferences

21. 11. 2007 10:30

Press Conference of the PM M. Topolánek after Talks with the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of BH N. Špirić Held on 20.11.2007

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference after talks of delegations of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Czech Republic. Let me welcome here the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Nikola Špirić and the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Mr. Mirek Topolánek. I ask the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic for his introductory speech.
Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: During quite a very short time, we have a possibility to welcome in Prague, in the Czech Republic the highest representative of a West Balkan country. I am very pleased I can welcome here the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Nikola Špirić. I do not think it is necessary to repeat that especially the West Balkan and Bosnia and Herzegovina belongs among the principal priorities of the Czech foreign policy; there are two reason for that, if I do not mention the third one, I mean the geographical vicinity. The first reason is that we as the Czech Republic or Czechoslovakia are members of the Euro-Atlantic structures. We feel an increased responsibility for those who remained out of these structures and who belonged to the same block as we did. The second reason obviously is that we belong among those countries, which are of the opinion that without integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina and other countries of the West Balkan into the Euro-Atlantic structures it is not possible to stabilize this region and that it is not possible to reach a reasonable solution. Therefore we support progress of preparatory works on the association agreement. Therefore we support accession of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the WTO. Therefore Bosnia and Herzegovina belongs among eight countries which enjoy absolute priorities in the framework of the foreign development aid of the Czech Republic. Today we will sign, together with Minister Kalousek and his Bosnia-Herzegovinian counterpart, the Treaty on the Prevention of Double Taxation, which will make intensification of our bilateral economic relationships possible. Our economic relationships and our trade exchange have been growing every year. Our trade exchange increased by 9,2% in comparison with the last year, but all opportunities are not exhausted yet. The key areas are energy industry, infrastructure, whether it concerns road transport or railway transport, environment protection and such like. Of course, we would like to initiate opportunities regarding entering third markets, and that is why the entrepreneur mission has come together the Chairman Špirić. It was about one year ago, when a representative of the ČEZ together with a representative of the Republic of Srpska, one of entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, signed a significant agreement on construction of the power station Gacko, which can reach the amount of 1,5 billion euros; it is the biggest investment in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the biggest investment of the Czech Republic in abroad. We were also solving existing turbulent situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We were talking about continuation of the Dayton Process, on the Office of the High Representative, which is now being represented in Bosnia and Herzegovina by Mr. Lajčák, on the role of the European Union in the West Balkan, and on our offer to mediate better communication and aid not only as far as this problem is concerned, but also in the framework of the twinning in the course of preparation of the association agreement on the accession to the EU. We were discussing number of further issues but now I give the floor to the colleague of mine.
Nikola Špirić, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina: Ladies and gentlemen, I was honoured to hold talks today with the Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek on the future development of our bilateral cooperation and on opportunities to strengthen this cooperation. I informed the Prime Minister on progress reached but also on certain suspension of the process of integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Euro-Atlantic structures. A also had an opportunity to thank the Prime Minister for aid in this process which was provided Bosnia and Herzegovina by the Czech Republic. I very appreciate the offer of the Prime Minister to help us and to share information and experiences regarding the way of the Czech Republic to the EU. We stated that there is nothing what would disturb our traditionally good relationships between our countries. We expressed our willingness to work on improving these bilateral relationships for the benefit of citizens of our countries. Nowadays, there is time when the Czech Republic awards scholarships to students of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Czech Republic. We would be glad if we will be able in the future to offer students from the Czech Republic scholarship, too. Nowadays our culture cooperation is being strengthened between our two countries. There is time for investments, the Prime Minister mentioned the investment of the ČEZ amounted to some 1,5 billion euros. The project of the Southeast Community in the sphere of energy industry is very significant for us and the ČEZ plays an important role in it. We also debated opportunities how to support exhibition activities, so that Bosnia-Herzegovinian entrepreneurs could present the offer of Bosnia and Herzegovina to Czech entrepreneurs and vice versa. I believe that in the future the cooperation between Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Czech Republic will be still more intensive. Today there will be an opportunity to sign the Treaty on the Prevention of Double Taxation. We also agreed that we would encourage the other ministries to work on further agreements, which would be for the benefit of citizens of both countries. I would like to thank for the privileged position of Bosnia and Herzegovina; that it has been included among eight countries, as far as cooperation and aid are concerned. We will pay you back in your own coin, as Bosnia and Herzegovina is preparing its list of priorities as far as countries which it wants to cooperate with are concerned. The Czech Republic will be in this list at a very high position. And further contribution of our visit to the Czech Republic is that tomorrow entrepreneurs will have an opportunity to encounter and it will be further stimulus of our cooperation. As to laws, our task, task of our government will be to ensure the most intensive cooperation as possible. This visit was also an opportunity to invite the Prime Minister Topolánek to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina, so that he could see for himself the progress which was reached by Bosnia and Herzegovina. I also mustered up courage and Ï asked the Prime Minister, based on his authority, to get the presiding countries of the EU to be more interested in solving problems in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I am convinced that this willingness and readiness are not only of a declarative character, but that they are real. And this assures us, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, of the fact that the way to the Euro-Atlantic structures is the right way.Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: I I thank the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I thank the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic and now there is short time for your questions. I ask for one from the Bosnian side and one from the Czech side.
Kateřina Zachovalová, DPA: Good afternoon. I would like to ask the Chairman of the Council of Ministers if he was debating the existing situation in Bosnia and in the region. What will be the response of the Serbian entity in case Kosovo declares independence on 10th December? And further question – how will the political crisis in Bosnia turn out?
Nikola Špirić, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina: Thank you. It is very difficult to answer these hypothetical questions, but I try to answer them. As to the crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina, I am optimistic; I think that once people understand that the principal problem is a dialogue, a dialogue will be started and the crisis will blow over. The reason is that everything what is now happening in Bosnia must be accompanied by a dialogue; this is a key to success. As to the first question, it was asked in a very hypothetically manner. I will present my opinion here. The Republic of Srpska, as an entity in the framework of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is organized in a simpler way; its government and its management are far more efficient and thanks to this fact the public consumption was transferred to the European standard, which was confirmed by a report of the European Commission. Therefore the Republic of Srpska should be a driving force of Bosnia and Herzegovina, not a danger, as it is indicated by certain circles. If we look on the problems in this manner and if we accept it, I do not see any reason for existence of such problems.
Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Thank you, further questions, please. There are no further questions. Thank you. And now I ask the Minister of Finance of the Czech Republic, Mr. Miroslav Kalousek and the Minister of Finance of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Dragan Vrankič to sign the Treaty on the Prevention of Double Taxation. I thank both ministers, and I thank for your attention. Good-bye.

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