Press Advisories

22. 5. 201623:02

Prime Minister Sobotka Attended Czech-Israeli Intergovernmental Consultations on Trade, Security, and Research and Development

Premier Sobotka and a delegation of Cabinet ministers attended the Fourth Intergovernmental Consultations between the Czech Republic and Israel held in Jerusalem on Sunday 22 May 2016. The Czech Prime Minister met with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin, and Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein. The Czech delegation included some 30 entrepreneurs.

The intergovernmental talks focused on cooperation between the Czech Republic and Israel on political, security, strategic, and economic issues. The discussions revolved around such areas as research, development, and innovations, cyber security, development cooperation, healthcare, environmental protection, tourism, social services, culture, and education.

"The Fourth Intergovernmental Consultations between the Czech Republic and Israel testify to the excellent relations between the two countries. They are an expression of an extraordinary partnership that binds our countries based on shared values and a long tradition of historical ties between the Czech and Israeli nations. Premier Netanyahu and I met in Jerusalem today to discuss the development of cooperation on trade, cyber security, and research and development. In a declaration Prime Minister Netanyahu and I signed, we have also agreed to hold intergovernmental consultations regularly every two years. Moreover, we debated the stabilization of the Middle East, where the Czech Republic supports the restoration of peace talks between Israel and Palestine. Another important topic is the migration crisis and fight againt the Islamic State, in which both our countries are taking active part. Prime Minister Netanyahu and I have also attended the Czech-Israeli Trade Forum, as the Czech governmental delegation included more than 30 Czech entrepreneurs," said Sobotka during the visit.

The Czech Prime Minister emphasized that from the time the previous intergovernmental consultations were held, a joint Czech-Israeli invitation for proposals had been made for basic or industrial research projects, the first Czech diplomat for research and development and a National Security Authority expert for cyber security had been appointed and stationed at the Czech embassy in Tel Aviv, and cooperation between the two countries' ministries of defense had been reinforced.

With trade exchange worth nearly one billion U.S. dollars, Israel is one the Czech Republic's most important partners in the Middle East and a growing source of incoming tourism. Another successfully developing area is cooperation on research, development, and innovations. Further, a significant potential exists in cyber security segment, one of the Israeli government's top priorities. Of fundamental importance for the Czech economy are Israel's investments into real-estate development ventures, the food, pharmaceutical, and textile industries, information technologies, and other sectors. Likewise, there is extensive exchange between the two countries in culture and education.

A joint declaration signed by the Czech and Israeli prime ministers on the occasion of the intergovernmental consultations commits the two countries to hold consultations regularly every two years. In addition, the Czech Republic and Israel signed the Program of Cooperation on Education, Research, and Culture for the Years 2016-2019 and four additional declarations on cooperation on science, cyber security, tourism, and development cooperation.

The official governmental delegation was accompanied by a trade mission comprising nearly 30 representatives of Czech corporations, which was organized by the Czech Association of Industry and Transport in collaboration with the Czech-Israeli Mixed Chamber of Commerce. Opportunities exist in Israel for Czech manufacturers both in traditional sectors, such as energy, mechanical engineering, agriculture, and transport infrastructure, and in new sectors, particularly cyber security and various innovation-driven segments, such as nanotechnologies, information and communication technologies, and healthcare. The Czech premier and his Israeli counterpart appeared jointly at the Czech-Israeli Business Forum, where Sobotka stressed the interest of Czech enterprises to take part in contracts for the modernization and development of the Israeli railway infrastructure and invited Israeli corporations to invest in the Czech Republic.

The consultations included a review of the current political and security situation in Israel, regional security challenges relating to the lasting crisis in Syria, and relations between Israel and Iran. Close attention was paid to the Middle East peace process and potential ways of settling the conflict between Israel and Palestine, where Sobotka confirmed the Czech Republic's resolve to play an active role and preparedness to assist both sides in resolving the conflict.

During his trip to Israel, Premier Sobotka was accompanied by Minister of Industry and Trade Jan Mládek, Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Michaela Marksová, Minister of Health Svatopluk Němeček, Minister of Education, Youth, and Sports Kateřina Valachová, Minister for Regional Development Karla Šlechtová, Minister of Environment Richard Brabec, Minister of Culture Daniel Herman, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Martin Tlapa, and National Security Authority Director Dušan Navrátil.

Held since 2011, the last Czech-Israeli intergovernmental consultations took place in Jerusalem on 25 November 2014.

List of memoranda and agreements signed today:

Joint Declaration of Prime Ministers

The joint declaration summarizes the results of the intergovernmental consultations and the current state of cooperation in the main areas of Czech-Isreali relations, including trade, investments, research, development, modern technologies, defense, security, cyber security, education, cultural exchange, tourism, and foreign policy. The declaration contains a committment to hold intergovernmental consultations regularly once in two years.

Program of Cooperation on Education, Research, and Culture for the Years 2016-2019

Based on this agreement, the Czech Republic and the State of Israel will support cooperation of educational establishments at the primary, secondary, and tertiary levels, exchange programs for teachers, and the teaching of facts about their respective partners. Special attention will be paid to the prevention of racism and antisemitism and to the distribution of information on the Holocaust and the fate of the Jewish community in Czechoslovakia during the Nazi occupation. The agreement includes a commitment to grant scholarships for the study of the languages of the respective partners as well as various other fields. The Czech Republic and Israel will support cooperation between heritage authorities and cultural institutions, joint cultural events, the lending of works of art, and exchange in the area of librarianship and cinematography. In the area of research and development, the Czech Republic and Israel will support the mobility of researchers and joint research projects. The agreement includes a commitment to support youth exchange programs.

Joint Declaration of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports of the Czech Republic and the Ministry of Science, Space, and Technology of the State of Israel

Under the declaration, the two ministries express their resolve to continue to strengthen Czech-Israeli cooperation on research and development and welcome the announcement of an invitation for proposals for Czech-Israeli basic and industrial research projects for the years 2016-1018.

Declaration on Joint Plan for Tourism Cooperation

The Ministry for Regional Development of the Czech Republic and the Ministry of Tourism of the State of Israel declare their resolve to strengthen cooperation in the area of tourism, which they consider an important aspect for deepening mutual understanding and friendly relations between citizens of the two countries. The ministries will support the forging of direct contacts between institutions active in the tourism sector and the mutual participation in trade fairs, and will exchange statistical data and other pertinent information.

Declaration on Joint Plan for International Development Cooperation

The Czech Development Agency and Israel's Agency for International Development Cooperation (MASHAV) declare their resolve to cooperate in the area of development cooperation, exchange of information on their activities, and to execute joint projects in the area of third-country development cooperation.

Memorandum of Understanding between the National Security Authority and the National Cyber Bureau of the State of Israel

Under the memorandum, the two institutions declare their interest in establishing cooperation, sharing information on their activities and on cyber security threats, organizing training and exchange programs for their specialists, and to hold regular consultations.