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15. 6. 2008 14:23

Jun15, 2008: The Premiers of the Member Countries of the V4 Group French President Will Sign a Declaration on Strategic Partnership

June 15, 2008: The Premiers of the Member Countries of the V4 Group Will Walk Through a Secret Staircase; French President Will Sign a Declaration on Strategic Partnership Using a Historic Writing Set

In addition to their official negotiations, the visiting Premiers of the member countries of the Visegrad Group and the French President may look ahead to some interesting experience during Monday’s V4 summit in Prague. The Office of the Government of the Czech Republic now presents some of the highlights of their programme.

After the morning talks held by Czech Premier Mirek Topolánek with the Prime Ministers Robert Fico of Slovakia, Donald Tusk of Poland and Ferenc Gyurcsány of Hungary in the main hall of the Valdštejnský Palace the statesmen will take a secret staircase from the Valdštejn (Wallenstein) Study to a grotto – an artificial dripstone cave. From there the Premiers will go to a sala terrena, an Italian-style hall on the ground floor of the Palace, which commands unique view of the Valdštejnská Garden. A press conference will be held in those historic premises at 11:00 a.m.

Lunch: The Best of Czech Cuisine

A working lunch will be served in the historic premises of the Hrzánský Palace after the press conference and the talks held by the Premiers with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The menu at the lunch will include the best dishes of Czech cuisine followed by Czech and Moravian wine. The main dish to be served on Czech china tableware will be saddle of venison with kohlrabi salad and home-made rosemary dumplings. Strawberry soup with baked strawberries and chocolate will be served as dessert.

The programme of Monday’s visit to Prague by French President Nicolas Sarkozy will then continue with talks with Czech Premier Mirek Topolánek in the Kramář Villa, the Prime Minister’s official residence. A unique historic writing set, a gift from Emperor Napoleon I to Marie Lousie in the early 19th century, will be used when signing the political declaration on the Franco-Czech strategic partnership*.

The set contains - in addition to common utensils - also drawing instruments, letter-weights, candlesticks and a bell for calling a chambermaid. It has four secret compartments and an ingenious locking system. Made of wood, decorated with velvet, red-lacquered hide with gold ornaments, silver and nickel-plated steel, gilt brass, ivory and mother-of-pearl, the writing set is the work of Parisian goldsmith M. G. Biennais. (The set may be viewed during the photo opportunity at the Kramář Villa at 3:20 p.m., see Note).

Further information and the programme for photo opportunities and press conferences can be found at this address:

Jana Bartošová, press spokesperson of the Government of the Czech Republic

*Information on the Declaration on Franco-Czech Strategic Partnership:

The French Republic and the Czech Republic have decided to give their mutual relations a new dimension by means of a long-term strategic partnership focused on specific cooperation in a number of areas, e.g. foreign policy both within and outside the European Union, energy and environmental protection, trade, investments, in raising competitiveness, in defence and security matters, migration and last but not least in schooling and education. In the years 2008 – 2009 these particular contacts will centre primarily on efforts to pave the way for a successful course of the French and subsequent Czech presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Their strategic partnership will be implemented in keeping with detailed two-year action plans, the first of which - covering the years 2008-2010 - will be adopted together with the political declaration. At the beginning of 2010, both countries´ Foreign Ministers will meet to review its implementation and approve another action plan for the next period.

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