Press Conferences

4. 2. 2008 14:09

Press Conference of the Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek after the Meeting of the Government Held on 23rd January 2008

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference after the meeting of the government. Let me welcome here members of the government: the Prime Minister Mr. Mirek Topolánek, the Minister of Finance, Mr. Miroslav Kalousek, the Minister of Culture, Mr. Václav Jehlička and the Minister of Justice, Mr. Jiří Pospíšil; the Minister of Interior Ivan Langer will arrive in a minute. The Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek has the floor now.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: Good afternoon, once more. I think that very interesting will be issues which were not debated in the framework of the agenda. Miroslav Kalousek will furnish you with information, as number of speculation must have arisen based on information in media. Information on arbitration or on that procedure was misinterpreted in such a way that we thought it would be necessary to provide you with true information, so that you would not write such nonsensicalities.

I think that interesting information is that the government, without a special debate, expressed its satisfaction with negotiations on the national quota for the share of renewable resources. It is rounded up; it is thirteen percent according to different methodology than was the original one. It is on the level proposed by the government for the Brussels negotiations, in fact. Just for information, Slovakia has fourteen percent, Poland fifteen percent, Hungary thirteen percent as we have, which we regard as a relative success, because we succeeded in keeping up the government position.

As to the issues, which were extremely interesting and which will be presented by the relevant ministers, it is a Strategy of Fight against Organized Crime, on which Ivan Langer will inform you, and the issue which has already been presented in public – the Outline of the Judiciary System reform. It will be Jiří Pospíšil, who will inform you about it. Also Václav Jehlička is present because the subject-matter of the law was approved, about which there has been a long debate held. There are number of myths and economic nonsensicalities concerning it, and I thing it will be good, if Václav Jehlička presents basic points, basic premises and fundaments of the subject-matter of the law at the press conference.

We suspended two items, which concerned inland and maritime navigation because of quite formal reasons. I will not mention issues, which are not important. We debated the issue, debate of which is likely to be very controversial; the issue was finally passed to the legislative process in the Chamber of Deputies because of majority of votes. It concerned the Proposal to Ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The discussion at the meeting of the government was in fact similar to that, which has been held in past years. There exists number of reservations, nevertheless not only because of my promise given to the Chamber of Deputies during interpellations, despite those controversial opinions, we will submit this proposal for ratification to the Chamber of Deputies and to the Senate in this election period. The reason is that during our EU presidency we are to chair the commission which will be dealing with this issue. It was approved by majority of votes. I think we are able to answer your questions concerning this issue.

We adjusted soldier's pay during military or alternative service and during military exercises. This amount has not been valorized and therefore it was valorized by the Order of the Government.

We changed particularities in the institutional support of the research and development. I think that a very interesting issue was that, which we approved in the very end of the meeting. It concerned establishing an agency for social inclusion in Romany localities, which had been submitted by Minister Džamila Stehlíková.

An issue which was also very topical and which deserves your attention was debated in the framework of the European agenda; it concerned the proposal for negotiation on an agreement on stabilization and association between the European Community and the Republic of Serbia. This proposal was approved. It means that we belong among countries which care for conclusion of so called association agreement with Serbia. The development in Serbia is not positive. We know that the first run of presidential election won rather pro-Russian and nation-oriented Nikolić, nevertheless negotiation on the association agreement has its deadlines; it is being negotiated in a standard regime and we had no problem with it. I think that the Republic of Serbia should be invited to the negotiation on the accession to the European Union. It is in fact all from my side. I will share the answer concerning the issue on settlement of relationship between the state and churches with Mr. Václav Jehlička.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: I thank the Prime Minister and now the Minister of Finance, Mr. Miroslav Kalousek has the floor.

Miroslav Kalousek, Minister of Finance: Nice day, ladies and gentlemen. I informed the government today on the result of the arbitration award of the case the Czech Republic – Petrcíle. After reading through today's newspapers we regard as useful to inform you on this issue at this press conference. I think we concur that if the Czech Republic were not successful and was condemned to pay 5,6 billion crowns including accessions of the claim, which would be in total seven billion crowns, information on it would be on front-pages of all prestige dailies and their experts would pay attention to the roots and consequences of such a decision. Because of our success dailies Mladá fronta and Hospodářské noviny published articles that had been prepared by teams, which either did not want to understand or were not able understand the core of the problem. Lidové noviny daily did not inform about this issue at all, and so the only one daily which paid proper professional attention to it was the Právo daily.

So, allow me to say once more in what situation the Topolánek´s cabinet was, what it could do and what it could regard as a success. There exists an agreement of the National Property Fund of 1996 with the company Petrcíle, in which the National Property fund undertakes that it would sell, under certain condition, the block of shares in question, which represented about fourteen percent of the firm, for a price, which should not exceed 850 million crowns, according to our calculation. The Czech Republic did not do that because of many reasons, as it had a feeling that the agreement had not been fulfilled and that another agreement of 2002 existed on the same block of shares with the company Mital. The core of the agreement is that provided the Czech Republic wins that block of shares in the trial, it will sell it for three million dollars, which represents 57 million crowns according to the current rate of exchange, to the company Mital. The Topolánek´s cabinet had not even a theoretical chance to acquire the block of shares for free use. The Topolánek´s cabinet was facing a risk of necessity to pay seven billion crowns and then it would be possible to sell the block of shares either for 850 million crowns or for 57 million crowns. There were no other alternatives there. The result is that it need not pay 5,6 billion crowns, which represents seven billion crowns including accession. We were successful in reaching a dismissal of the Petrcíle case. In case the company Petrcíle exercises the option for 850 million crowns, it will be our duty to sell that block of shares for 850 million crowns. If not, it will be our duty to sell that block of shares for 57 million crowns, which means for approximately three million dollars, according to the current rate of exchange. It is the most advantageous variant; it is an absolute success of the Czech Republic in this arbitration.

Those who write in newspapers that the state is out of play, or who doubt this success, should say to their readers what would be better possibility for the government. If they are not able to say that, there is no choice but to express our regret that people in prestige dailies who do not understand those issue write about them. Whatever willingness to inform objectively will be, true is that we are ready to continue in this aggressive strategy concerning arbitrations for the benefit of the state budget and that with the Topolánek´s cabinet ended up times when the state budget was a sitting duck for purpose-aimed arbitrations. That was comment on the information which I delivered to the government today.

Furthermore, let me inform you on the fact that the government approved the Bill on Government Bond Programme. You know that the state budget was approved with the deficit amounted to 70,8 billion crowns and that it was decided on settlement of the deficit in such a way that 60 billion of this amount will be settled by bond whose maximum term will be more than one year. There is no other way than to adopt a law and I submitted to the government the respective bill today. The government approved it and it will be passed to the Chamber of Deputies. Thank you for your attention.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: I thank the Minister of Finance and now the Minister of Interior Ivan Langer has the floor.

Ivan Langer, Minister of Interior: The government dealt today with the Strategy of Fight against Organized Crime. It is further conception material, which I submitted to the government and it is an evidence of the fact that security units of this state, this government, regard the fight against organized crime as their most important priorities in the sphere of internal security.

It is a conception document, which covers several areas. The first one: the activities themselves, structure, operation of the individual police units and their mutual cooperation, and cooperation with other institutions represented by the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Finance.

The second area that is included in the conception is aimed at better protection of those who fight against organized crime in the name of the state, who risk their lives and health.

The third area is aimed at the core of the organized crime and crime against property; I mean profits resulting from these activities. There is an unambiguously declared effort to find more effective mechanisms how to seize property resulting from criminal activities.

The fourth area of this conception deals with the sphere of education and prevention. I can say that about twelve or fourteen concrete tasks arise from this conception, which are divided according to the institutions which control them. The first area covers tasks connected with the executive decisions within the respective ministry, I mean the Ministry of Interior or the Police of the Czech Republic and in the second area there are spheres connected with the respective legislation where competences are shared: the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Finance. Now, as far as concrete task are concerned, I would emphasize pressure to better structure of operation of specialized police units through sharing information, mutual cooperation, so that results would be better than they were in the past.

The second issue which I regard as very important is to take measures aimed at minimizing risks resulting from information leakage, with which they are connected serious doubts regarding investigative, prosecuting and adjudicating bodies.

The third concrete step is to improve cooperation between police units and intelligence services, because these two security units have very important information available. The objective is quite clear – to gather them, to unite them, so that to avoid situations when one unit of the state has certain information while the other has not. The issue of more successful fight against profits resulting from criminal activities can be solved through two possible measures. The first one is aimed at better proving of such a property. It is connected with the change of the style of police activities; in the past the criminal activities themselves used to be investigated first and only after that the attention was paid to profits resulting from criminal activities. But they go hand in hand with criminal activities since the very beginning. The second one concerns finding mechanisms which would enable to seize property in case of well-founded suspicion that the property originates from criminal activities, or to impose tax o the property; I mean to provide Tax Offices with such competences, so that to reduce significantly that engine, I mean unjustified profits.

The last issue I want to mention here in the framework of the fight against organized crime is a matter about which I already informed you after the last meeting of the government; it concerned great emphasise on improving protection of victims who give their testimony in favour of the state and against criminal structures. Also this issue we regard as one of the most important prerequisites for more effective fight of the state against organized crime than it has been so far. That is all for the present.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: I than the Minister of Interior. Now, the Minister of Justice has the floor.

Jiří Pospíšil, Minister of Justice: Good afternoon once more, ladies and gentlemen. I will just briefly inform you on what the government approved today. It approved the Outline of the Judicatory System Reform. As the Prime Minister already said, the material was thoroughly debated with experts. A great conference was held at the Žofín Island in November, where more than 400 representatives of justice and legislative sphere expressed their opinions concerning this material and they more or less supported it. I do not want to describe in detail this material, which has several tens of pages, and so I refer you to web sites of the Ministry of Justice, where you can get detailed information. Here, allow me to give you just general information.

The entire reform is based on three basic pillars. The legislative pillar, which means changes of legal norms; we expect there will be over 60 of them. Then, it is so called pillar of electronization of the justice, in the framework of which we expect total electronization of the Czech justice, which should culminate at the end of the election period in implementation of the electronic judicial file. Furthermore it is personnel pillar which expects changes concerning number of judges and especially changes concerning number of justice employees. If I am to say a few words about the legislative pillar, as I have already said it will concern more than 60 amendments to laws or new legal norms. The government debated more than 20 bills during the last year, which originated from the Ministry of Justice. It means that one third has been approved and the next part is being prepared nowadays. To mention the key ones: we expect that in this election period could be accomplished and approved three key codes: the Criminal Code, the Civil Code, and the Commercial Code. It is a really, allow me to say it, historical breakthrough, because these three legal norms form basis of a legal order of every state. If we are successful, the Czech Law will change significantly and it will be a change corresponding to a democratic state respecting the rule of law.

The government discussed in detail issues connected with the Civil Code today. We agreed that we would prepare some of important passages of the Civil Code for spring of this year. It will concern the issue of marriage, the issue of the Rent Law, the law of inheritance and these issues will be discussed before the articulated version of the Civil Code leaves the Ministry of Justice. Nevertheless, we have such a commitment that we would like the Civil Code to be available for the government by the end of this year, so that the government could debate it.

I could speak here about process rules, laws, about courts and judges, detention facilities and so on. But these are matters, which you can find in materials. The important issue is the Act on Courts and Judges, which includes clauses on disengagement of judges. We want to propose mandates for a definite period. The proposal has been debated by the Legislative Council of the Government and it would be on the agenda of some of the next meetings of the government. Detention facility is a key issue of the government in the sphere of security policy of the Ministry of Justice. It is necessary, after last thirty years, to establish facilities in which culprits will be placed who because of insanities or other problems cannot be fully responsible for their behaviour, and who show great danger of recidivism. It means that service of a sentence itself will not bring an effect; it means their socialization and improved behaviour.

One comment to the electronization – as you know, starting from 1st January we implemented the Insolvency Register. In spite of the fact that it was a very complicated system, it has been operating without problems, in fact. We will evaluate first experiences and then we will inform you. But as early as nowadays tens of citizens have used it and they submit for example proposal for debt forgiveness. As to the personnel aspect, we are finishing the personnel audit and we will soon submit to the public a proposal how we will change the structure of ten thousand of employees of the Czech justice, so that the share of those who are members of justice mini-teams would be higher, and so that these people would be at the disposal of judges and will not be engaged in administrative work. If you compare number of employees of the Czech justice with those of Bavaria, it is analogous, but there is much lower share of those employees who are engaged in work for judges; this is what we want to change.

To summarize it, ladies and gentlemen, the material which reflects what the government is doing was approved and according to my opinion the government have already passed to the Parliament one third of what the material includes. This material shows that the individual amendments are not ill-considered and isolated proposals, but that they form a concept, which should lead to the shortening of proceedings and to higher quality of the Czech justice. Thank you.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: I thank the Minister of Justice. Now, the Minister of Culture has the floor.

Václav Jehlička, Minister of Culture: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. As the Prime Minister already has mentioned, the Subject Matter of the Act on Redress of Certain Property Injuries Caused to Churches and Religious Societies was unanimously approved at today's meeting of the government, and redress will take place concerning certain, I emphasize certain, injuries. I would like to say that this proposal is not my proposal, and it is not a proposal of the Ministry of Culture, either. It is a common proposal of several ministers. I would like to mention the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Agriculture and Minister Džamila Stehlíková. Also the Deputy Chairwoman of the Chamber of Deputies, Mrs. Němcová, is a member of the government commission.

The commission, which started to work approximately in the half of the last year, submitted today the subject matter of the law. This subject matter of the law is a kind of a compromise, which is, according to my opinion, acceptable either for municipalities and for the state and for churches. The principle of this proposal is partial restitution of property and financial compensation for property that is not restituted. The financial compensation represents about two thirds of church property and one third will be restituted by orders and congregations. The financial compensation amounts to 83 billion crowns and as all of you certainly know it will be paid for 60 years. The state will not pay up the compensation immediately to churches. Part of the property will be transferred to municipalities, part will be privatized and part will remain in the possession of the state; Minister Gandalovič would better explain it. It concerns also forests.

I would like to say that there is a temporary period here of twenty years. It is certain bumper or pillow and churches will have to get accustomed to the necessity of independent economy; compensations will be paid to them. In the first year the compensation will correspond to the existing amount and it will be decreasing by 5 percent every year until it the compensation will be zero. Claims for economic backup of churches are growing from year to year and the state will get rid of burden, which could be unbearable in the future. We counted certain figures; if the number of clergymen increases as it has been since 19, the state would pay in 60 years by 300 billion crowns more than it will pay in this case, which we propose. We did not take into consideration the fact that number of churches will be registered and the state would have to pay expenditures to them for their economic activities.

The entire proposal is a compromise and churches made a concession from their requirements; we were able to make an agreement. I would like to emphasize that not only consensus took place between the state and churches, but also historical agreement was reached of all seventeen churches financed by the state, which reached an agreement on allocation of compensation for property that would not be restituted. I think that it is a unique event in the European context. Thank you.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: I have been following the discussion in media and because of number of myths I feel necessity to express my opinion. First of all I must say that it is not a matter which dropped from the clouds; it means three years of work and the matter which hardly anybody knows is that the discussion with churches attended long before elections Petr Nečas, Mirek Topolánek, Miroslava Němcová and Vladimír Tlustý for the ODS. The entire construction is in the end the intellectual property of Vlastimil Tlustý who in fact unblocked those discussions on assignations and the annuity. That compromise which was reached in the end arose from those discussions which had been held long before elections. I regard as a breakthrough the fact that one commission was established, which I nominated, I mean the government commission, one church commission was established and that settlement was reached, or an agreement of those two commission in the end. I think it is necessary to unblock all those problems which arose from unequal relationships between the state and churches; it is the only one chance.

We are solving concurrently four problems in fact, and therefore this legal norm is not simple at all. The first complex of problems is perhaps of moral character, in spite of the fact that it has its economic background; it is a problem of settlement with the past. As early as after the revolution, authors of all restitution laws knew that it was not possible to restitute all the property that it concerned only redress of certain injuries. And this is in fact crowning of this process. It means that redress of certain property injuries takes place concerning property stolen by communists during the past regime.

The second question which is solved by this proposal is factual separation of the state from churches, and Václav Jehlička spoke about it. Not only number of clergymen but also number of churches is increasing and the commitment of the state is to finance them in the existing volume, as it is standard according to law. The fact that there will be degressive transmission period of twenty years, when payments will be decreasing, it is a matter of a compromise, which is advantageous for the state from the economic point of view and that is why we agreed to it.

The third problem that we are solving concerns preservation of historical monuments and maintenance of the national heritage, as it will be a great task for churches after annuity payments are terminated. Today it is a duty of the state and it must, except of financing of churches also finance preservation of historical monuments. It brings additional expenditures and these expenditures are huge and constantly increasing; so, it is advantageous for the state.

The fourth problem which I regard as essential is unblocking of buildings and pieces of land in case of pending restitutions, as municipalities cannot handle with such property, whether it concerns movable or immovable property. Thus, the property which is blocked does not bring in money. Based on very conservative calculations we could document that such lost amounts of money would be huge during those eighteen years. Therefore, in case of unblocking the property the state will be able to sell it or to transfer to municipalities and thus great revenues will occur that can be easily calculated and that make the transaction, which is a historical transaction, more advantageous.

The problem which occurs in media, and I would ask journalists from Právo daily who were praised by Miroslav Kalousek, not to use the figure of 260 billion crowns, as it is lie. If you buy a car which costs 250 000, then it is the value of the car. When you buy the same car on leasing, you would have to pay two or three time more. If I buy a flat on mortgage, Topolánek will pay for his luxury flat, which is often mentioned, more of course, because of that mortgage. Nevertheless, value of the flat remains 8,5 million crowns and value of that car is 250 000. That is why the value apportioned in time is 83 billion crowns and it changes only because of inflation and discount; nevertheless, value is still the same.

I think that I will substitute Miroslav Kalousek in our discussion now and I will inform you on the way of calculation of that 4,85% interest. I think it is quite simple; it has already been described in media. There must be some interests, we could pay this money in the only one sum, but it would be more expensive, as interests would be between eight and nine percent. Those 4,85 percent corresponds in fact to revenues from bonds during those sixty years. It is acceptable for the state and the value of the annuity remains the same. As I have learnt from media commentaries, some of economic journalists do not understand it well, and therefore I think it is necessary to explain it to the public and to those who think that the amount will be higher than those 83 billion crowns. Thank you.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: I than all members of the government. The first question, the TV Nova.

TV Nova: Good afternoon, I have just two questions of a technical character. First of all, I would like to know whether you can quantify that amount of that transmission period when you will be paying up money. What amount will it be in those twenty years? Then, I wanted to ask - how do you want to explain it to some of your deputies that it does not concern 267 billion crown, as it is not only problem of journalists; also deputies may think that it is complicated.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: Well, I suppose that also journalists will understand it in the end and I am great optimist. I suppose that, based on professional argumentation, deputies will understand it, as well.

Miroslav Kalousek, Minister of Finance: There exist an alternative of course how to pay up 83 billion crowns immediately. However, we pay up 83 billion crowns; we will be paying the amount for 60 years, because possibilities of public budgets do not allow paying 83 billion crowns in a lump sum. Nevertheless, theoretically the alternative exists. A bond programme would be prepared amounted to 83 billion crowns. From its revenues would churches get 83 billion crown, not more. It would not be possible to speculate if it would be less or more; they would just get 83 billion crowns and this amount we would be paying to financial institutions, which would buy our bonds. It would be much more expensive operation for the state.

Václav Jehlička, Minister of Culture: As I calculated, it will cost over four billion crowns for those twenty years.

Miroslav Kalousek, Minister of Finance: I do not think so.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: I do not think it will be four billion crowns.

Václav Jehlička, Minister of Culture: I am sorry, it will be more, but I do not have necessary data available.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Further question, Česká televize.

Daniel Takáč, Česká televize: Good afternoon. I would like to assure myself of the fact that during those twenty years the state will be paying to churches that amount for the property plus that contribution, which will be decreasing; at present it is one billion crowns and it will be decreased by five percent annually.

Václav Jehlička, Minister of Culture: Yes, I apologize, I do not have necessary data, but the state will be paying the annuity at the amount of 4,275 billion crowns and it will be paying off annually for twenty years 1,28 billion crowns; this amount will be decreased by five percent every year. I do not have all figures with me and I added up only about one third of them by mistake; therefore, we will inform you what the amount is. It is possible to calculate it.

Daniel Takáč, Česká televize: So, I will continue if I can. I have still other questions to the Prime Minister.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: It will be approximately ten billion crowns according to my estimate.

Daniel Takáč, Česká televize: It depends on your estimate.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: Well, if you calculate it starting from one billion towards zero, it will be something like this during those 21 years.

Daniel Takáč, Česká televize: All right, if I can continue, I would like to ask a question, Prime Minister, concerning the negotiations on the American radar. The USA, the Pentagon claim that, simply said, they are near to an agreement. The Czech side does not claim that. I would like to know your standpoint. In what stage negotiations with the American side on the radar are? As to Petrcíle, I would like to ask the Minister of Finance Kalousek to explain why, if there was a reason, why the state did not sell those shares which caused the arbitration. Did the reason blow over or does the state want to participate in another arbitration proceeding and so it does not want to realize that transaction? What will be done with those shares? The second question – the state offered in the past the option not only Petrcíle but also Arserol, according to information of a colleague of mine. Why that double offer took place? Will anybody near responsibility? Can you give an explanation on it? Thank you.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: I do not want to answer instead of Miroslav Kalousek, I do not know whether the question is to him, but I will answer the question which concerns the anti-missile defence and the shield. That was the statement of the American side, of course. We cannot say and we do not want to say nothing more than we have already said; neither the Ministry of Defence nor the Ministry of Foreign Affairs set concrete deadlines, let alone the government. Our objective is to negotiate the most advantageous conditions Our requirements perhaps differs from the Polish ones, but there are also certain guaranties here concerning safe operation of the shield. Requirements concern participation of Czech firms in the process of construction and it is the priority of the government to conclude such an agreement which would ensure assets for the Czech Republic and especially for the army research and development. We want quality, not speed of conclusion of the agreement. The next round of negotiations will be held on both agreements, on the great one and the smaller one. We do not anticipate the date of conclusion. The fact that we have certain ambitions or certain scenario it is one matter, but only the negotiations will show what the progress will be. Therefore, do not expect any deadline or bombastic proclamations of us. You will not hear any in spite of the fact that we will not be trying to block these negotiations.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Thank you, the Minister of Finance.

Miroslav Kalousek, Minister of Finance: I think I have already mentioned it, but I try to say the same from a view. Part of the arbitration decision which was delivered us yesterday is refusal of request of Petrcíle for payment of financial amount, which is key issue for us, and a decision saying that if Petrcíle will exercise the option regarding those shares, we will have to sell them for 850 million crowns. It is important, not key, but important, because if it was not so, we would have to sell the block of shares to Arserol for three million dollars, it means for 57 million crowns based on the agreement which the Czech Republic signed with Arseol in 2002. I do not assess the conclusion of those agreements now. You must ask those who signed them, nevertheless, I am far from criticizing them, as it would be improper. I am just explaining the pitch where we were playing our dispute with Petrcíle, and I am explaining that our result, I mean that we need not pay a single crown and then we will sell these shares for 850 million crowns, not for 57 million crowns, is the best possible result we could reach on this pitch. There is no doubt about it.

Daniel Takáč, Česká televize: It was my fault that I did not know that Arserol and Mital is the same company, I apologize. But my question was - if the state had a reason not to fulfil the option agreement in the past, is the reason still valid? Does not the state want to participate in arbitration, so that the option need not be exercised?

Miroslav Kalousek, Minister of Finance: I informed you that it was included in the decision. The state signed an agreement; it cancelled it because it came to the conclusion that the agreement had not been fulfilled in the past. Now I am speaking instead of those who were before us. Those who felt to be damnified initiated the arbitration against the Czech Republic. The arbitration decision is that we need not give them a single crown and they demanded 750 billion crowns, excuse me, it was seven billion crowns and we must sell them those shares, provided they exercise the option, for 850 million crowns. To be frank, I do not regard it as a detriment, because if it were not this decision we would have to sell them for three million dollars, based on the agreement of 2002.

We did not have even a theoretical chance to reach free use of those shares; on the contrary, we were facing a risk of necessity to pay enormous penalty and besides we would have to sell shares for 850 or 57 million crowns; because in the past the Czech Republic had been condemned to pay two billion crowns in this connection. Only if Petrcíle does not exercise the option and Mital does not exercise the option of three million dollars, which is an absurd situation that we cannot expect, we would be able to handle them freely. We are constricted by agreements from both sides and they are agreements that the Topolánek´s cabinet inherited. That is why I explained again that on the pitch on which we were playing our tough game, where there was enormous risk of necessity to pay huge amounts of money, we won the best possible result both from the point of view of absence of penalty and from the point of view of share price.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: So, it was success.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Further question.

Tereza Kručinská, Česká televize: I have a question to the Minister Langer. Could you specify what you plan regarding better protection of those who fight against organized crime? Are there any concrete steps?

Ivan Langer, Minister of Interior: I will not mention any concrete steps now, because it is a conception material, in which objectives are stated and ways how to achieve them. We will have to be able to achieve the state, when those who risk their skin will have a feeling that the state is able to protect them. I will not say any concrete measures now.

Tereza Kručinská, Česká televize: And the second question which has also connection with it. Could you specify sanctions against legal entities in case of illegal actions, which were also mentioned in the conception material?

Ivan Langer, Minister of Interior: Yes, it is a concept from the legal sentencing or a discussion on the issue whether to punish legal entities, or to use instruments of administrative sanctions. Now we incline to the administrative sanctions. It concerns penalties, exclusion from certain public resources from public finances.

Tereza Kručinská, Česká televize: Thank you very much and if I can ask further question, I would ask the Minister Pospíšil – could you express your opinion on the plan for seizure or more effective seizure of profits resulting from criminal activities, as the Minister Langer has outlined here.

Jiří Pospíšil, Minister of Justice: I completely agree with opening that discussion. The discussion is running and it is necessary to prepare instruments for simpler seizure of property which resulted from criminal activities against property. It is necessary to analyse whether existing instruments are sufficient or not. On certain examples from the practice it is shown that they are not, and therefore we are in the beginning of a discussion and it is necessary to prepare changes in the sphere of criminal procedure and the Criminal Substantive Law.

Ivan Langer, Minister of Interior: I will mention an idea. The point is that either a court will come and will seize property of a culprit of a crime who was not able to prove its acquirement, or the Tax Office will come and will impose enormous tax on the property.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Further question, please.

Ženka, Economic Section of the CTK (Czech News Agency): Good afternoon. I would like to ask about the Act on Redress of Certain Property Injuries Caused to Churches and Religious Societies. The question is how the price of pieces of land, which will be sell to churches were determined, and if it those pieces of land will be sell for market prices. Would it be moral in the context of the prepared law on redress of injuries caused in the course of transformation of farm cooperatives, where prices of early 1990´are as a basis for calculation? Thank you.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: Well, Minister Gandalovič is missing here.

Miroslav Kalousek, Minister of Finance: Nevertheless, the basic evaluation took place. It was derived from account value and, of course, the figure is significantly influenced by the political agreement. It would be nonsensical to perform market evaluation if the transaction was based on a key agreement. It means that the agreement was 83 billion crowns.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Thank you. Further question, Právo.

Jitka Götzová, Právo daily: Good afternoon. Arguments have been mentioned here on the coalition agreement on property compensation with churches, but the Deputy Chairwoman of the Chamber of Deputies, Miroslava Němcová expressed her opinion in Radiožurnál broadcasting and she was of the opinion that the agreement was slightly deflected in favour of churches and religious societies. How is it possible? She was a member of the commission. Thank you.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: I nominated Miroslava Němcová to this commission, apart from other reasons, also because I wanted her to have arguments and figures at her disposal. I think it will be not only I who will have to explain it once more to all deputies, because it is a problem of number of figures, time and numerical sequences, and it is necessary to discuss the entire complex.

The agreement is financially acceptable for the state. I do not speak about moral aspect of that compensation, but from the economic and long-term point of view the state would pay much more for protection of historical monuments and for, let us say, economic relations with churches, payments to clergymen, and all that and also lost opportunities. I will really try to find somebody who would be able to quantify that lost opportunity of the entire property, which cannot be used until the new principle is introduced. Nobody mentions this figure. A piece of land can be either sold for house construction or for industrial zone. It can be used anywise, and even the most conservative estimates show that after those sixty years the lost amount would be much higher because of non-using of the property, than those figures we are speaking about. It means that the discussion is rather irrational and we want it to shift it to real arguments, to realistic figures, which really represent basic economic education. I think that all deputies including my colleague Němcová will understand that this agreement is advantageous for the state.

The principle of the agreement was that an agreement must be concluded between the individual churches, and that was not easy. I do not know, somebody says that since the days of Jan Hus such an agreement of churches, including Jewish community, has not been concluded. The fact that we concluded such an agreement is important, not a discussion whether the agreement is more advantageous for the state or for churches. I think it is necessary to redress injuries and this is the best economic principle, which ensures that neither the state nor citizens of the Czech Republic will lose money.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: The Minister of Interior will add something.

Ivan Langer, Minister of Interior: I would like to respond to it. It is really a historical moment and I am temperamentally convinced that the agreement will be advantageous for the citizens who are not registered in those churches which form side of the agreement.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Further question.

Spanish press agency: Could Mr. Topolánek say whether there is certain economic separation? I mean that the state will not contribute to protection of historical monuments. In Spain there is also separation, but the state cooperates with churches, so that those buildings and monuments would be preserved. Does it mean that the state will not contribute to these activities in the future?

Václav Jehlička, Minister of Culture: There is an internal debt amounted to 50 billion crowns regarding religious monuments, which are open to the public, not only to churches. It is also included in the Czech-Vatican Treaty that they are open to the public, that they are public property, they are tourist destinations. The state has not chance to invest those 50 billion crowns, of course, and therefore it will, in the cooperation with churches, repair these monuments in the future. It is like in case of restitutions of historical houses to private owners. The state also helps during their reconstruction or renovation, and the same procedure will be applied in case of religious buildings, which are our dominant cultural heritage.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Thank you. Are there any further questions? Thank you for your attention. Good-bye

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