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22. 5. 2008 10:10

May 22, 2008: Free Movement of Labour and Accent on EU Competitiveness - Key Themes of the Czech Republic’s Presidency

The Czech presidency of the Council of the European Union, the Lisbon Treaty and the Nuclear Forum were the subjects discussed today at a joint meeting of Premier Mirek Topolánek and President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso.

“The motto of our presidency - ‘Europe Without Barriers‘ has three dimensions. First the elimination of disqualifications within the Czech Republic, secondly lifting psychological barriers, and thirdly removing obstacles in mutual trade,“ said Premier Mirek Topolánek after the talks. In the opinion of its Premier, the Czech Republic would welcome distinct support from the European Commission as soon as studies of the impact of enlargement on the European Union’s labour market have been carried out. The member states applying transitional measures, namely Germany and Austria, should substantiate to the European Commission how the abolition of transitional measures is going to jeopardize their labour markets. Premier Mirek Topolánek went on to say that the Czech Republic also fears that an increase in obligations in the social sector will have an impact on EU competitiveness.

Another topic under debate was the Lisbon Treaty. The Czech Republic believes that the distribution of high-ranking posts should reflect a balance of the geographic, political, power and socio-economic interests in the European Union. The new members states should also be represented in the new structure of high executive posts. Later today Premier Mirek Topolánek and José Manuel Barroso will also meet the heads of government of the Visegrad Group member countries, of the Baltic states and the Republic of Slovinia, the presiding country of the Council of the European Union. The Prime Ministers will discuss issues relating to energy and energy security, questions concerning the EU presidency of the Czech Republic, and implementation of the Lisbon Treaty.

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