Press Conferences

12. 2. 2008 12:05

Press Conference of the PM Mirek Topolánek after his Talks with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia Ivo Sanader, 12th February 2008

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference after talks of delegations of the Czech Republic and the Republic of Croatia. Allow me to welcome here the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia, Mr. Ivo Sanader, 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: I think it is a habit to give the floor to the colleague of mine first.
Ivo Sanader, Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia: I thank the Prime Minister and first of all, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to inform you that it is my first official visit after forming the new government in Croatia. This fact is surely evidence of friendly relationships between the Czech Republic and Croatia, and my personal friendship with Mirek Topolánek. It is also the continuation of traditionally good relationships between our countries. Our bilateral cooperation has always been outstanding, whatever cabinet was in power in Prague or in Zagreb. Both our countries and both of us are continuing in that and I am very pleased to be able to keep my promise, I gave to Mirek, that my first visit will be a visit to this country. We debated number of bilateral and multilateral issues during our talks and we would continue in it during our dinner, as well. I informed the Prime Minister Topolánek of the efforts of Croatia aimed at getting an invitation to the NATO summit in Bucharest in April. We have always been enjoying a constant support of the Czech side in this respect, and I would like to thank the government of the Czech Republic for that. We also informed the Prime Minister of the progress in our negotiations with the EU; it means what the situation was like, and what efforts we were putting out to accomplish those negotiations as soon as possible. It will certainly not be any news for you if I say that our objective, in spite of the fact that it is a very ambitious objective, is to accomplish those negotiations in the course of the Czech Presidency. I would also like to thank the Prime Minister for his offer to exploit experience of the Czech Republic, which is a member country now, but which experienced the same process some years ago, so that our chief negotiator, Mr. Drobniak, could exploit experience as much as possible. We touched on issues that were important both for the Czech Republic and Croatia and for the entire Europe. It means the issue, very significant issue of stability of the South Eastern Europe. Furthermore, we stated that our bilateral relationships were outstanding, despite existence of some reserves in the economic sphere; it concerned in particular the sphere of energy industry. We agreed that Minister Říman together with the Deputy Prime Minister Polančec should initiate an intensive cooperation in this sphere. Also the Minister of Tourism, Mr. Bajs, who is a member of my delegation, had talks with his counterpart on more intensive cooperation in the sphere of tourism. We are proud of the fact that the Adriatic seaside is one of the most attractive destinations for Czech tourists. They are at the top, as far as number of tourists is concerned. We agreed on initiation of the police cooperation; several policemen would be present during this year's summer season at the Adriatic seaside and they would settle problems, if any, so that we would avert those excesses like that in Boreč last year. We put emphasise on far more intensive cooperation in the cultural sphere. It will certainly be a topic of ministers of culture, starting from art exhibitions up to guest performance of music orchestras. Member of my delegation is also Mrs. Čuchnilová who is a member of the Croatian parliament and represents in fact the Czech and Slovak national minority there. Therefore, we agreed with the Prime Minister on our support of both national minorities in Croatia, the Czech and the Slovak one. I would like to thank once more for cordial welcome, friendships and partnership, which both the Czech Republic and the Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek show the Republic of Croatia.
Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: I thank the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia, and now the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Mr. Mirek Topolánek has the floor.
Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: Dear Prime Minister, dear Ivo, dear colleagues, dear journalists. Ivo Sanader has already said most of that what I wanted to say; but still, there are some things that I would like to emphasize. The accession of Croatia to the EU and in particular issues of integration of the West Balkan to the Euro-Atlantic structures is among priorities of the Czech foreign policy. One matter is to declare it, and the other one means to take concrete steps, so that we would push through that element of our foreign policy. During last few months the Czech Republic was visited by the Prime Minister of Slovenia Janes Janča, the Serbian President, re-elected President Tadič, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina and now Ivo Sanader is visiting us, and I am very pleased that it is his first visit abroad. All colleagues of mine visit intensively the individual Balkan countries; our Minister of Foreign Affairs, Karel Schwarzenberg was in Croatia recently. We would not like this element of our foreign policy to be of only of a declarative character, but we want to stand up effectively for integration of the West Balkan into the Euro-Atlantic structures, and we want to be present in this process; that is why our negotiations are so intensive. Croatia has a renewed cabinet and a very ambitious plan; not only in the framework of the integration to the EU and meeting accession conditions, but also an economic programme. I think that there is an area here for our investments, for our joint ventures, for our share in the economic development of Croatia; we are not content with the existing trade exchange, as it has far higher potential. Croatia will be one of those countries at the NATO summit in Bucharest, which will receive and invitation and which will have our full support. I very appreciate participation of Croatia in the ISAF mission in Afghanistan; I very appreciate its attitudes relating to regional issues thanks to which Mr. Biščevič was appointed as the General Secretary of the Council for Regional Cooperation. Croatia plays a very significant role in the West Balkan region. I informed my colleague of priorities of the Czech Presidency, both about the principal spheres and about sector priorities. We debated the eighteen-month cycle of the French-Czech-Swedish presidency and I think that one of principal tasks, from our point of view, is accomplishment of the accession negotiations with Croatia; that was the principal topic of our talks and they would certainly continue. I would like to wish my colleague and all colleagues of his a lot of achievements; it is apparent that those following several months or perhaps one year will be absolutely crucial for incorporating of Croatia into our common European family.
Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: I thank the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic and now I ask your questions.
Jurica Kervlet, Zagreb Vjesnik daily: Good morning, I have several questions – to Mr. Topolánek – to what extent did the accession of the Czech Republic to the EU and NATO created favourable climate for economic development of the Czech Republic? And then, I have a question to the Mr. Prime Minister Sanader – will your interest in regions continue after the accession of Croatia to the EU?
Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: The answer to your question is quite easy. The accession to the EU was absolutely essential from the economic point of view and it meant acceleration of our economy. It is true that our economy is very open and it is dependent on exports, it is dependent on direct foreign investments and this is exactly what Croatia is lacking in. Therefore, it must do a lot of work to achieve the same position before its accession to the EU. So, the accession to the EU was absolutely essential in this sense.
Ivo Sanader, Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia: I should say that if Croatia accesses to the EU and NATO, it will be very active in the South Eastern region in the future. If the Prime Minister Topolánek said that the Czech Republic would be engaging in that region, it is especially more significant reason for Croatia, as the development of the South Eastern Europe would be very important for all of us and for our region. Even nowadays Croatia, thanks to its knowledge of our neighbours, their languages, customs, their nature, can provide the European Union with useful information, which can eventually contribute to the final solution in this area. Croatia can be an inspiration for other countries of that region, so that they understand that accession to the EU and the Euro-Atlantic structures is advantageous.
Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: I thank the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia. Further question, please.
Petr Janoušek, Czech News Agency: Good morning, I would like to ask the Prime Minister, why the government decided to cooperate in the police sphere. How many policemen could approximately work in Croatia? What would be their competences like and in what areas?
Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: The Czech Republic is the fourth country which concluded such an agreement with Croatia after Hungary, Austria and France, I think. The Boreč case accelerated those negotiations. that is why it will be good if there will be a Czech policeman on the spot on such occasions, as an intermediator of communication, at least. Their number will not be very high, only several persons who will be engaged in that communication in such cases. We are of the opinion that it is right system solution of such sporadic cases, which occurred. As to their competences, I suppose it is a question rather to my Croatian colleague.
Ivo Sanader, Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia: I think that what the Prime Minister has already said was correct. Now it is a duty of both Ministers of Interior to reach an agreement concerning number of policemen and further concrete matters.
Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Thank you, the last question, please.
Jaromír Janev, Czech Radio: I have a question to the Prime Minister Topolánek and to the Prime Minister Sanader. Can you mention, please, some projects of the sphere of energy and tourism, which you debated? And one more matter – can you confirm that you debated the issue of Kosovo and what would be your response like in case of declaration of its independence in the following days, as they are some news coming from Pristina in this sense?
Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: It is necessary to say that we do not start from the very beginning. There are number of Czech firms and Czech subjects operating in the Croatian territory. There are construction companies there, such as Metrostav, Subterra, the OHL and the ZS. There are also energy companies there and companies which supply there various means of transport, and so on. I do not want to speak about concrete projects in the sphere of energy now, as they are in the course of tendering procedure. A question is what the Croatian intentions are like regarding that Croatian counterpart of our ČEZ (Czech electric energy supplier); its name is the HEB, if I am not mistaken. There is a discussion on the greatest electric energy supplier of Croatia and I think it is a matter of the Croatian decision, how to solve it. Nevertheless, that ambitious privatization plan indicates that they really want to deal with that problem. As to Kosovo, we have touched on that problem, of course. I considered even the last question to Ivo Sanader as rather idle, because gradual integration of further countries of that region in the Euro-Atlantic structures is in the interest of Croatia, as it is the interest of the whole Europe. I think that the attitude of Croatia is similar to that of the Czech Republic. It means that in case such a situation occurs, Croatia will join the mainstream, the majority of the EU. It might bring about a lot of problems as we are informed of the Serbian and Pristina's attitudes, and we would like these two subjects to reach an agreement.
Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: I thank the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia, the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic ...
Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: Ivo Sanader will be still answering.
Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Excuse me.
Ivo Sanader, Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia: I would just like to say briefly that the Croatian government does not want to privatize the HEB at present, but we are interested, and I suppose it is the interest of both sides, in more intensive cooperation between the ČEZ and the HEB. I am of the opinion that such an intensive cooperation is missing here in the sphere of energy industry; and it does not concern only electric energy, it also concerns oil and gas. We would like to become independent on price fluctuation of these energies in other countries; we would like the two companies to begin more intensive cooperation under the baton of both ministers of industry, Mr. Říman and Mr. Polančic; it is in the interest of both countries. We are closely watching the entire story and the history of the ČEZ in the Czech Republic. I would like to pay a great compliment the ČEZ that its development is very successful and all the more an interest should exist in closer cooperation between the HEB and the ČEZ. As far as Kosovo is concerned, we have the same opinion, and so I confirm everything what was said by the Prime Minister Topolánek.
Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: I thank the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia, the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic. I thank you for your attention. Good-bye.

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