Press Conferences

24. 1. 2007 11:48

Press conference of the Prime Minister of the CR, Mirek Topolánek after the meeting of the government on Wednesday, 24th January 2007

Martin Schmarcz, head of the press unit of the Office of the Government: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the first press conference after the meeting of the government of the CR. As to the first one, I give the floor to the Prime Minister of the CR Mirek Topolánek, who will inform you on the main issues that the government debated and approved.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the CR: Good morning everybody. Today's meeting of the government was in fact the first one after the new government had gained confidence. Those issues, which we debated today, were mostly of a technical character. They concerned rather executive than legislative proposals. We will still have to wait for them. The government also debated today the Legislative Plan of the Government. The individual ministers were charged to prepare, in compliance with the Programme Declaration, legislative plans of the individual ministries and I suppose that we will be able to present the Legislative Plan of the Government for 2007 in several weeks. Concerning matters that might be interesting, I would mention the Draft Budget of the Land Fund, which is not approved by the government, but which is passed to the Chamber of Deputies for approval. We debated, for example, Rules of eligible expenses for programmes co-financed from the Structural Funds, where we put accent on simplification and more transparency of their using and transparency of those rules, in fact. We approved, by the way, or we were debating five conclusions of the NKÚ (Supreme Audit Office). The routine, which was introduced in times of my first government, I mean far more detailed debate aimed at taking system measures, finding responsibility for shortcoming stated in conclusion of the NKÚ, will continue also in case of this government and I think that the debate on them was very interesting. All the other points, which have been debated, were not of special urgency or importance in comparison with a point, on which Minister of Agriculture Petr Gandalovič will inform you. You have the floor, minister.

Petr Gandalovič, Minister of Agriculture: Dear Prime Minister, ladies and gentlemen, following to my proposal the government declared state of emergency, which will last from 25th January, 5 o'clock a.m. to 5th February, 24 o'clock. The state of emergency is declared for the territory of South Bohemia, Plzeň, Karlovy Vary Vysočina and Lirerec regions and in the districts of Bruntál in the Moravia-Silesian region, districts of Benešov, Příbram, Kutná Hora and Kolín in the Middle Bohemian region. The principal issue of the state of emergency declared is establishing a crisis staff in the framework of the Ministry of Agriculture, which I will chair and through which I will coordinate works aimed at damage removal of this calamity. The principal matter, in compliance with the Act on Crisis Management, is certain restriction of rights of natural persons and legal entities, of course. Among the most important ones it is ban of entry of persons in forests in those territories, where the state of emergency is declared. I would like to specify it a little. We did not take this measure with pleasure, of course, because it is snowing and all people were looking forward to go to forests, cross-country skiers, tourists, and such like. But on the other hand, the situation in those forests is very serious, as the snow blanket will increase the danger of breakage of these trees, which are damaged by wind. It means we declared this ban because of people's health protection of people. Of course, certain persons are excluded from this ban, those who will be involved in elimination of that catastrophe and persons who must enter forests because of performance of duties within state administration, especially in the environmental sphere. The ban is declared for the same time as the state of emergency, it means 12 days. I apologize in advance for those restrictions. We agreed with the Minister of Education on informing all schools and all sport and other subject, which are in their competence, to adapt their activities to this situation. As to the, let us say, works aimed at damage removal, relatively lively discussion has already got under way. I want to emphasize again that I do not want anybody, both from the side of business sphere or professional sphere and from the side of the company of Lesy ČR (Forests of the CR) to interpret it as a way of circumvention of the Act on Public Tenders. I do not want anybody to have a feeling that we declared state of emergency so that we could make contract concerning forests without public control. On the contrary, I declare that I will do my best to ensure that these contracts will be concluded transparently on the regional level in the attendance of regional representatives. It means that I flatly refuse various pronounced or non-pronounced imputations of this type. I think it is all for the present. Thank you.

Martin Bursík, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Environment: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I begged to offer the minister certain cooperation on behalf of the Ministry of Environment. First, because the Ministry of Environment performs a function of the state supervision in forests. Second, we have Czech Environmental Inspection and experts who could help in supervising the damage removal, so that to avoid useless exploitation of sound wood in the framework of exploitation contracts. We absolutely agree with minister on those matters. We solved one concrete matter, which concerned forests in the territory of national parks, to be concrete the Krkonoše National Park and Šumava National Park. In Šumava around 600 thousands of cubic meters of wood have fallen down while the annual exploitation of 108 thousands cubic meters, in other words, it is nearly one sixth of the annual exploitation of wood. In Šumava, it is nearly a tragedy. In the Krkonoše National Park nearly annual exploitation of wood has fallen down and we agreed that after the meeting of the government on 5th February, we will debate the issue of possible increase of financial means for damage removal in the territory of national parks. We have all documents and basis prepared and we will certainly find certain possible actions. The tragedy that happened in our forests is also an opportunity to think hard about wood exploitation, so that to strengthen natural way of exploitation of forests in the territory of the CR. As it was shown, there are photographical documents here, those mixed forests, more stable forests managed to resist, while trees what has fallen down was trees, which we call "maize" or, to be more precise, waterlogged maize, as unfortunately the soil was not frozen. In fact, 80% of damaged trees were windfalls. But I am of the opinion that we regard this issue similarly with the minister. I think the cooperation will be positive and we are ready to participate in formulating some principles concerning forest revitalization, which will become topical issue in several months. Thank you.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the CR: I hoped that Martin Bursík would mention one more point, and therefore I will mention it myself. Based on works that lasted for certain period of time at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and based on recommendation of the BRS (National Security Council), the government decided today to establish independent commission for assessment of long-term needs of energy, which has no connection only with those oil crises that we were witnesses of in the past period of time, but also with an issue that the entire EU is debating nowadays as one of priorities in the framework of Finnish and German presidency, I mean security of supplies of energy. The Chairman of the Czech Academy of Sciences professor Pačes has been appointed as a chairman of this independent commission; certain key for nomination of political parties is apart of this material. This commission should operate on similar principle as the Bezděk´s commission for pension reform, in spite of the fact that it will be in a different sphere. It is a partial fulfilment of our promise – to communicate across the political spectrum such issues that are beyond the mandate of this government.

Martin Schmarcz, head of the press unit of the Office of the Government: Ladies and gentlemen, now there is time for your questions. I would ask for questions that concern the meeting of the government first, if there are any.

Michaela Tučková, Česká televize: I would like to ask how the money will be earmarked, if only money from budgets of ministries will be used or whether the government consider earmarking of a special amount, for those windstorms, of course.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the CR: Within every ministry there are certain budgetary reserves, or certain subheadings that can cover similar matters of emergency character, as it is the calamity of the last week. At the Ministry for Regional Development it will be covered by the amount of 200 million crowns, but it will be neutral from the fiscal point of view, as other 200 million will be frost. So, it is a system which the Ministry for Regional Development has chosen. Certain needs has the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, they will be solved within the heading of the ministry and within the existing budget. All matters, except of what Martin Bursík mentioned, will be covered using existing budgets, or reserves earmarked, which are destined for similar type of events. The government does not consider any special amount, as far as I know, which would be necessary, apart from revitalization of national parks; Petr Gandalovič will complete my information.

Petr Gandalovič, Minister of Agriculture: I think it is exactly so. As to the property of the company of Lesy ČR, we expect loss, which will be caused by more expensive exploitation after a calamity as exploitation after calamities is more expensive and on the contrary, exploitability is lower. However, in case of forests in national parks, the debate will still continue as needs are quite different.

Martin Bursík, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Environment: Just for your information, to have an idea on the amount, we have quantified that, we were doing it last night, those extra costs in connection with calamities in national parks in this year; of course these effects of these calamities cannot be removed in one year, and then there will have to be done revitalization. In this case it is positive to wait for other two years at a minimum until natural revitalization takes place and then to plant deciduous trees there. This is a method which is used in national parks. It is more effective and more environmentally friendly. And as to those costs, we quantified costs for 2007 – in case of Krkonoše National Park at the amount of 28 million crowns in addition, and in case of Šumava National Park at the amount of 90 million crowns in addition. In other words, 118 million crowns altogether. Now we will negotiate it with the Ministry of Finance and seek for other possible reserves within our heading; and we would like to find the way out by 5th February.

Martin Schmarcz, head of the press unit of the Office of the Government: You can get more detailed information at Mrs. Júdtová´s office, where you will have opportunity to consult those materials, which have been approved by the government. Further question, please.

Štěpánka Martanová, TV Prima: I would like to ask if the state is going to help also those people who have been affected by windstorms, or for what amount they will able to ask. Thank you.

Petr Gandalovič, Minister of Agriculture: The Ministry for Regional Development will help municipalities and regions in case of damage caused by windstorm. As far as natural persons are concerned, it will be processed in the regime of that Act on Destitution and it is in the competence of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and it must it must be assessed whether a person in question asks rightfully, whether it got to destitution because of this calamity and if there was a possibility to solve the situation in a different way, for example through insurance. I say frankly that if the wind blew away a roof of somebody, he/she is to solve the situation with an insurance company.

Martin Schmarcz, head of the press unit of the Office of the Government: Are there any further question, please?

Jitka Götzová, Právo daily: I will make a small digression. What do you say to the case of Jiří Čunek? Some information emerged and the team of the mandate and immunity committee will consider this issue. Thank you.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the CR: I am repeatedly horrified by information leak from investigative files and I am going to speak both with the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General about far stricter measures aimed at information leak prevention in case of inquiry into any case, it means also into this case. I must say that I am repeatedly horrified by this. That was the first thing. The second thing – and that is why information in media leave me cold, the important matter is decision-making process in the mandate and immunity committee and in the Senate. Jiří Čunek indicated he wanted to be extradited and this is the only one relevant information, in this sense. If you ask me whether I am annoyed, I am of course. Nevertheless, with regard to the fact that it does not concern a crime, which would be connected with his activities in this government, I am not he who would has right to judge his guilty, and in this sense I leave the whole matter up to his personal consideration. I suppose that the procedure will be a standard one, he will be extradited, and it is a relevant result of this investigation, in this sense.

Martin Schmarcz, head of the press unit of the Office of the Government: Are there question concerning the meeting of the government? If it is not so, then the ITAR-TASS agency. Igor Shamshin, press agency of Russian Federation ITAR-TASS: Prime Minister, I have a question for you and also for Mr. Bursík. Certain reservations occurred in Russia that placement of the American radar in the Czech territory poses a threat for Russia. Is it so or not, what do you think? Can you comment on it? Thank you.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the CR: The reverse is the case, as it is common in similar cases. The U.S.A. withdrew from the ABM Treaty, which restricted the antimissile defence on their territory as early as in 2001, as far as I know, following an agreement with Russia. It meant termination of certain obsolete model of the cold war, it meant acknowledgement of possibility of antimissile defence against so called "load states", it means against states which are not under control of great powers, which could posses and which could developed their own ballistic missiles with various types of charges and they were not regimes, which would be subjected to certain regime of international community. New threats emerged, of course, in connection with this, which the Russian federation respects in the framework of global terrorism, and it concerns using ballistic missiles with various type of charges, from nuclear ones up to various weapons of mass destruction by numerous organizations of non-state type. Sometime the Hezbollah is mentioned in this connection. All these threats are common for Europe, the CR and the Russian Federation. In this sense, the antimissile defence of the type of "Missile Defence" is a system which is being negotiated by the U.S.A with Russian Federation for a long time. It is being negotiated on the level of NATO and Russia, either, and I suppose rather cooperation than competitive projects in the future, because the project is not based on massive antimissile defence, but on the contrary on antimissile defence against individual missiles or tens of missiles, so it is not aimed against great power of the Russian or Chinese type. It is aimed against terrorist attacks, sometime accidental attacks or errors, but not against great powers massively. The CR protects in this sense Europe and I am of the opinion that also the Russian Federation will adopt similar type of antimissile defence, because it will want to be part of reasonable world.

Martin Schmarcz, head of the press unit of the Office of the Government: There was one question there. Mr. Takáč.

Daniel Takáč, Česká televize: I just add something, that question was aimed at Mr. Bursík, too and I would ask him for his answer concerning his attitude and the attitude of his party regarding the base. Thank you.

Martin Bursík, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Environment: Good morning, Mr. Takáč, it is quite a different question. Regarding your first question, I did not know why to add something from the position of the Minister of Environment or a Chairman of the Green party. Regarding your question – there was a lively debate at the National Security Council on it. I think that our attitudes are quite evident. We analyse all documents, we are having talks, and it is very important for us, so that this bilateral project of possible placement of a radar base would not weaken NATO, would not weaken the EU and it is very important to know what the opinions of our partners, both in the EU and in NATO, are. It is very important for us to have a plain idea about integration of the system in the joint defence of NATO in the future. And these are issues that we have time enough to solve and we also asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defence to seek answers. There was a debate on this issue at the meeting and I think that it is a topic, which the whole political representation is interested in. It is not a topic, which only the Green Party would be involved in.

Daniel Takáč, Česká televize: And how about a referendum, yes or no?

Martin Bursík, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Environment: Our attitude to a referendum is neutral. We are not in a situation, when we would require a referendum, but I must say first that we need clear answers to those questions, which I have formulated here, and after it we will decide and we will adopt a stand.

Martin Schmarcz, head of the press unit of the Office of the Government: Ladies and gentlemen, if there are not further questions concerning the meeting of the government, I finish the press conference. I believe you will respect our habit that neither ministers nor the Prime Minister answer your questions.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the CR: Have a nice day and good-bye.

print article   email   facebook   twitter