Press Conferences

4. 6. 2007 15:14

Press conference of the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Mirek Topolánek after the meeting of the government held on Monday, 4th June, 2007

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference after the meeting of the government. I welcome members of the government, the Prime Minister, Mr. Mirek Topolánek, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Environment, Mr. Martin Bursík and the Minister of Justice, Mr. Jiří Pospíšil. The Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek has the floor.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: Thank you. As you have certainly been informed, not only the government had its meeting today but also the Committee for the European Union, which has the same constitution as the government in fact, and which it is, thanks to the Czech presidency, quite independent body. We approved several mandates for negotiations of our representatives in the European Commission, the mandate for the Minister of Transport concerning the Galileo Project, we approved the mandate for the Minister of Industry and Trade in the sphere of roaming and liberalization of postal services, we also approved the mandate for the same minister concerning the sphere of energy, so called ownership unbundling, and we discussed assessment of the institutional arrangement of the membership of the Czech Republic in the EU. We debated the Plan of Coordination of Preparation for the Presidency of the Czech Republic in the Council of the EU and for the Minister of Finance we debated proposal of our position to the Ecofin session concerning consolidated base for calculation of the income tax of legal entities. That was information on the meeting of the Committee for the European Union, and now I will inform you on the meeting of the government. Regarding issues, which were discussed, I will leave them to my colleagues, both Jiří Pospíšil, as he had several materials on the agenda, and Martin Bursík because he had several materials on the agenda, as well. Regarding those materials, which concerned neither of ministers, I would mention several orders of the government, which concerned number of spheres. We also noted the Strategy for the Children and Youth State Policy and we approved recommended position for Jiří Čunek for the debate on the National Strategic Framework for Using Structural Funds. It is all as an introduction and now I like my colleagues to be given the floor.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: I thank the Prime Minister and now the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Environment, Mr. Martin Bursík has the floor.

Martin Bursík, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Environment: Thank you. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Regarding issues, which I submitted to the government today, two of them are the most significant. The first one concerns the mandate of the government for negotiation with the European Commission concerning problems of operational contracts in the sphere of water mains and sewer systems. You perhaps know that negotiations have been holding for about three years with the European Commission and the point is to negotiate and set condition for applicants, who will require using European funds, because mainly the Environmental Operational Programme will be used, in which 4,317 euro is earmarked. And the highest amount is earmarked for the first priority – water – it will concern just sewer system projects for both municipalities above 2000 inhabitants and below this level. It is very important to finish this protracted dispute with the European Commission, so that we could unblock the Operational Programme of Environment and start to use financial means. The mandate is very detailed. I think that based on this mandate we will be able to negotiate such conditions, which will be attractive in case of new infrastructural projects. The government also admitted a possibility that in case of existing contracts, which had been concluded in the framework of the big privatization in 1992-1994, conditions determined by the Commission would lead municipalities to revise those contracts, to amend them, to include certain guarantees there concerning quality of supplies, price and effectiveness. In exceptional, well-founded cases there will be possibility to shorten validity of contracts, which had been concluded for 30 years or even for an indefinite period, in certain cases. The debate was very fruitful and the government nearly unanimously gave a mandate to me. I will do my best, of course, to negotiate the best conditions for the Czech Republic; it concerns the future. And I also suppose that the Commission, based on condition negotiated for the future, will assess those six water system projects that had been submitted to Brussels. So much for the first point. The second point concerned the Draft Government Order stipulating the "Heřmanský Stav – Odra – Poolší" Bird Area. It concerns one of the long-term debts of the Czech Republic, which did not stipulate this natural area in the past. The delay was caused by project of a business zone. Furthermore, the motorway D47 and a high-speed railway are to lead across the natural area. We succeeded in reaching an agreement. As to the motorway D47, there is already a planning permission issued. The Ministry of Environment agrees with it and it defined in conditions, which concern this natural area, the route of the motorway. The important thing is that we found another bird area for one of endangered species – harrier – and therefore it was possible to decrease expanse of the bird area. The genesis of this issue is very long. There is no conflict regarding that matter any longer, because the area does not overlap the business zone, the existence of which is uncertain. The result is that the government solved one of those debts. We declared the bird area and agreed that 1st June of the next year will be the date of effect of this measure. The reason is that we want to clear certain legislative and legal aspects; we want to give time to state administration for preparation all the necessary documents and measures, which are necessary for the harmonization of the state, when the motorway D47 will go across the bird area, as the Ministry of Environment expects. Also a high-speed railway corridor will go across the area, which the Ministry of Environment does not find as a problem. We have been expressing our approval to this for a long time.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: I thank the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice has the floor now.

Jiří Pospíšil, Minister of Justice: Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon once more. The government approved three materials of the Ministry of Justice today, which would significantly change penal policy of the state in case of approval by the Chamber of Deputies. First of all, the law stipulates existence of so called detention facilities. Professionals have been calling for them since 1970´ and only the government of Mirek Topolánek prepared this articulated bill. In case it is adopted, these facilities will be established in our territory, which will provide health care. But on the other hand, they will be fully under control of the prison service. Dangerous aggressors, sexual deviants, people who commit serious crimes, who are very dangerous, but who cannot be placed in a prison because of mental disorder or serious disease, will be placed in them. The objective is to protect society from dangerous aggressors who cannot be placed in prisons. Therefore we are of the opinion that it is a significant contribution to the enhancement of security of our citizens. The second bill, which I want to briefly present here, is the bill, which significantly enhances right of recovery in case of corruption. You were given basic information and that is why I will be brief – we increase severity of sentence in case of all crimes that are connected with corruption. We expect that in case the corruption is connected with public tenders or activities of public officials, also prohibition to undertake activities for up to 10 years can be imposed, apart from imprisonment. We suppose that in case a person is informed on a case of serious corruption and does not notify the police, then it will be held to be a crime. We also suppose that in case a Tax Office finds out in the course of control that there is a suspicion of corruption, it will be obliged to inform a body in charge of criminal proceedings. That was just brief information, including examples demonstrating how the government wants to punish people for corruption more strictly; and it is a part of the governmental plan of fight against corruption, and also special courts are connected with this issue. The government fulfilled its promise given in autumn today. The first government of Mirek Topolánek adopted a resolution on this issue and now the second one submits clear Bill amending the Act on Penal Proceedings. I just add information, part of the bill, which stipulates detention facilities are measures that are to ensure that persons condemned to service of a term of imprisonment really register themselves in prison. You know that it is a great problem in the Czech Republic; up to 5000 condemned persons do not register themselves in prison. We are taking such measures, which will eliminate these negative trends. And the last bill concerns the Bill amending the Act on Penal Proceedings, which as you certainly know is to introduce a control system regarding wiretapping permission. It makes conditions for a judge, who allows wiretapping, stricter. He/she must give reasons for the wiretapping order and we give a citizen right to be informed on wiretapping and right to have recourse to the Supreme Court, so that it could examine legality of wiretapping. Ladies and gentlemen, so much on the package of bills that was approved by the government today.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: I thank the Minister of Justice and now there is time for your questions.

Tomáš Drahoňovský, TV Prima: I would like to ask a question regarding an issue, which does not directly concern the agenda of the meeting, but you must have discussed it definitely. The American president George Bush arrives today. I would like to know whether certain change of his attitude to the abolition of visa duty for Czech citizens can be expected. Thank you.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: You may be surprised but we did not deal with this issue at the meeting of the government, as all the security measures are being taken without participation of the government. It does not mean that they are taken in a wrong way. As to visas, I think that the visit of George Walker Bush is being overstated in this respect. He himself declared in Riga last year that the discrimination of certain countries, regarding visa policy in relation to the USA, exists and that he considered solution of this problem as his personal objective. There are several proposals in the Congress concerning visa policy of the USA towards third countries, or countries of the EU, which do not have free visa regime. I think that these words of his, which he presented before his journey to Europe, before the G8 session in Germany, are absolutely clear. I have already answered this question; I think that the problem will be solved in the course of his mandate, but it means that we will have to persuade certain European countries, which have the existing regime, that the new regime will mean certain change in the framework of the fight against terrorism and in the framework of the visa programme, which is now being debated in the Congress. I think that we cannot expect any other breakthrough than that George Bust announces that this issue belongs among his priorities and that it will be solved in the course of his term of office.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Thank you, further question, please.

Michal Kratochvíl, TV Nova: Good afternoon. Prime Minister I have a question to you. At the press conference held today, the mayor of Trokavec accused you that during your visit at Jince on 4th May you said this sentence concerning negative impacts of radar in Brdy: "We will see what they will present us, then we will doubted, including their source. They cannot know more on the radar than we do". I would like to know whether you really said this sentence and what you make of the fact that the mayor of Trokavec accused you of making fun of people and lying.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: I do not know anything about it; I cannot remember saying this sentence, not during the public speech definitely.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: The TV Prima again.

Tomáš Drahoňovský, TV Prima: Once more, I have a question to the Minister of Justice. I would like to know, regarding those detention facilities, there was an argument about it, under control of what ministry they will be. Will they be under control of the Ministry of Justice or the Ministry of Health? What was the result of the debate at the meeting of the government? Thank you.

Jiří Pospíšil, Minister of Justice: A discussion had been held on the control of detention facilities in the course of preparation of the bill. To the government was submitted a material which was not doubted. These facilities will be under control of the Ministry of Justice.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: One more question.

Tomáš Drahoňovský, TV Prima: I would like to know whether they are some favourites regarding places where these facilities are to be situated. I think that for example Brno has been mentioned, and so on. Do you have some places prepared, are you preparing, let us say, building of these facilities? Thank you.

Jiří Pospíšil, Minister of Justice: Exactly so. We must be prepared to open these facilities once the law is approved. We must not make fun of people and prepare a law without a background. Now we are preparing the first facility, which will be placed in Brno in the framework of the existing prison. We are re-building part of the existing hospital there. A commission at the Ministry of Justice assesses further possible localities. Municipalities are interested in these facilities because they want to solve the problem of local unemployment. Therefore we have several alternatives for the second facility. I cannot anticipate the final decision now. We expect two facilities in the first stage

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Thank you, Česká televize:

Journalist, ČT: I would like to ask about the capacity of those facilities. What will be number of beds?

Jiří Pospíšil, Minister of Justice: We expect 200 beds in the first stage. This number is based on capacities of countries that are of similar size as the Czech Republic. So, 200 beds in the first stage and we will see whether this number is sufficient or not. It cannot be anticipated just now, because placement of a patient or client in such a facility depends his willingness to undergo a special protective treatment; on his willingness to go voluntary to mental homes, to say it in a simply way. If it is so, he/she will not use such a facility. So, it is just an estimate. We are ready to apply this law fully since the very beginning.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Is there any further question?

Journalist, Radiožurnál: I would like to ask about that potato starch; how did it turn out and what does the government's approval mean? And the second thing is that helicopter base in Přerov; did the government debate it today? Does the town of Přerov have a chance to preserve this base there? Both questions are likely to be to the Prime Minister. Thank you.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: I do not know if the question is to the Prime Minister; regarding the potato starch I can say the only one thing – we adopted the order and in case you want to know any details I recommend you to contact Petr Gandalovič of his deputy Hlaváč, who attended the meeting. And as to Přerov, I think that we promised to create such conditions, so that the helicopter base could be preserved in Přerov. The interim report just states that in case our expectations are met, I mean financial share of both regions and the town of Přerov, then it will be possible to leave the air base there. Nevertheless, it is just interim report; there is some deadline there, which gives both regions and the town chance to present a project, which would be feasible, to present also a possibility to use structural funds and financial background of that combined civil and military air traffic. We regard dissolution of this base as a great mistake and think that because of many reasons, not only because of local patriotism, but also because of strategic, security and other reasons, we want to maintain the base in Přerov if it is possible. So, there is no definite decision made so far.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Thank you, one more question of the TV Prima.

Tomáš Drahoňovský, TV Prima: Thank you; I have a question to Mr. Pospíšil. It concerns an issue, which he perhaps forgot. When the start is scheduled? When those facilities are to start their activities and what are chances for passing the bill in the Chamber of Deputies? Do you thin you will be able to reach an agreement with the opposition?

Jiří Pospíšil, Minister of Justice: I hope the proposal will be supported by the entire political spectrum, as all of us know that we need such facilities. It is a general need. By the way, the previous government, I mean the social democratic government, declared several times that it would submit a proposal but it did not submit any. Therefore I suppose that it will be in compliance with its statements. We expect the start in 2008. We would like the Brno facility to be prepared in the beginning of 2008

I personally expect that the effect of the law will be from mid 2008.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: It has a connection with earmarking necessary financial means for the start of activities, for 2007 at least, and we also debated this at the meeting of the government.

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Thank you. Are there any further questions? Thank you.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: Thank you for attendance at today's press conference. I just point out that we are not going to answer any questions after the press conference. Thank you. Good-bye.

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