Press Advisories

29. 8. 201914:03

Sixth Czech-Polish intergovernmental consultation held in Warsaw

On Wednesday 28 August 2019 a joint meeting of representatives of the Czech and Polish governments was held in Warsaw. At this, the sixth such meeting, the cabinets of Prime Ministers Andrej Babiš and Mateusz Morawiecki discussed the multiannual financial framework, the climate, bilateral cooperation and appointments to key posts in the European Union.

The Czech and Polish Prime Ministers initially met at the Palace on the Isle in Warsaw, where the main topics included cooperation between the two countries. Andrej Babiš praised the meeting as a wonderful opportunity for discussion and strengthening relationships. According to the Prime Minister the two countries have close and friendly relations, which also reflect similar experiences in their histories, such as their shared anniversaries of joining NATO and the European Union. The two countries also cooperate closely on the Visegrad platform.

“Our relations with Poland are on the whole excellent, and we work very well within the V4. Both Poland and the Czech Republic are highly successful countries, and we want to be among the leading countries in Europe. We can serve as an example for other European countries,” the Prime Minister said.

Trade plays an important role in these relations. Poland is currently the Czech Republic’s third largest trading partner, with a turnover of 22.2 billion euro. The Prime Ministers also talked about the expansion of mining operations in Turów in Poland, which may also affect Czech citizens and could potentially result in a loss of groundwater. In this respect the Prime Minister would welcome closer cooperation with the Polish side.

“Poland is our third largest trading partner, although for exports the situation has been developing in our favour. According to the latest balance of trade, we have a deficit of 40 billion. That’s something we, and especially our exporters, need to think about,” the Czech Prime Minister added.

Besides bilateral cooperation the Prime Ministers also discussed the European Union, including for instance the multiannual financial framework. According to the Prime Minister negotiations on the framework within the EU have highlighted the significance of the V4. Andrej Babiš said it was important that individual member states’ needs be better reflected. The Prime Ministers agreed on the need to secure commensurate funding and effective regulations for implementing the cohesion policy. They also agreed on securing funding for the common agricultural policy and ensuring effective conditions for implementation. Another topic was the forthcoming summit between the V4 heads of government and their counterparts from the Western Balkans, which will be held in Prague in September. The Prime Ministers also talked about Brexit.

“We function very well as the V4 and meet often. The Czech Republic has the presidency. We’ll see one another again on 12 September in Prague, where we’ve also invited our partners from the Western Balkans. We believe they belong in the European Union, and talks should be opened on their accession. We also want to invite the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to show that the V4 is powerful and influential. We’ve proved that in the recent past,” the Prime Minister said.

Andrej Babiš and Mateusz Morawiecki also debated the European Union’s climate policy. They agreed on the need for a rational perspective and respect for specific national aspects in the use of low-emission energy sources. The European Union’s objective is to achieve carbon neutrality by the year 2050. However, the Czech Republic’s climate strategy does not envisage this scenario. According to Andrej Babiš, achieving EU climate targets will be very costly. Meeting these targets is a matter for the individual member states. During its presidency of the V4 the Czech Republic wants to hold discussions with the European Commission to find a solution suitable for both sides. The Czech Republic and Poland are still dependant on coal, especially to generate electricity, and the objective of carbon neutrality could have a major impact on industry in the two countries.

“The climate was one of the main topics. We share the same views, and there’s a need to discuss this specifically, rationally and sensibly. We also want to talk about this at the climate conference in New York in September. It’s important that we don’t jeopardise our economy, industry, employment or the European budget. If Europe wants carbon neutrality, the costs will be immense. Europe should contribute to this above and beyond the budgets we’ve been allocated,” Andrej Babiš added.

Another point discussed concerned appointments to senior positions in the European Union’s institutions. Andrej Babiš and Mateusz Morawiecki talked about the dividing up of portfolios between commissioners from the individual countries. They agreed it was also important to look at appointments to key posts in the individual commissioners’ cabinets. They talked about the Council of Europe, which according to Andrej Babiš should be a coalition government for Europe. The question of appointments to European posts should be resolved through cooperation and coordination within the V4.

Talks between the two Prime Ministers were followed by a lunch for the delegations at the Polish Chancellery, where the ministers who were attending presented the outcomes from their sessions. Subsequently an Agreement on Cooperation in Military Aviation between the Czech Ministry of Defence and the Polish Ministry of National Defence was signed.

Minister of Industry and Trade Karel Havlíček talked chiefly about artificial intelligence, nuclear energy and dual quality products. The Minister of Foreign Affairs discussed the priorities for the Czech presidency of the V4, the Eastern Partnership, contemporary issues in Europe, security and cross-border cooperation. Matters discussed by Minister of Defence Lubomír Metnar included cooperation for defence and connecting Poland to the Czech electronic warfare system. Minister of the Environment Richard Brabec talked about developments in the Turów mine, climate policy and the illegal transport of waste. Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Jana Maláčová focused on social issues at EU level, migration, the minimum wage and demographic issues. Minister of Transport Vladimír Kremlík spoke about the building of the D11 motorway and connecting Poland with the Moravian-Silesian Region. Minister of Agriculture Miroslav Toman talked about support for a large agriculture budget, African swine fever and support for the Polish candidate to the European Commission. Minister for Regional Development Klára Dostálová discussed cooperation on construction legislation, cross-border cooperation and European funds.

These Czech-Polish intergovernmental consultations are held every one or two years. The previous consultations were in 2018 in Prague, which also hosted the initial consultations in 2011.