Press Conferences

28. 12. 200612:38

Press briefing after signing the coalition agreement, on Thursday 28th December 2006

Press briefing of the Prime Minister of the CR and the Chairman of the ODS, Mirek Topolánek after signing the coalition agreement with the Chairman of the KDU-CSL, Jiří Čunek and the Chairman of the Green Party, Martin Bursík on the new government in the Kramář's villa on Thursday 28th December 2006.

Martin Schmarcz, head of press unit: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen welcome on the occasion of solemn signing of the coalition agreement of the ODS, the KDU-CSL and the Green Party. Now, without much fuss, I ask the Chairman of the ODS, Mirek Topolánek to sing the respective documents as the first one. And now I ask chairmen of three coalition parties to come to microphones after the Chairman of the ODS takes over all the three counterparts of the document. And I give the floor, as the first one, to the Chairman of the ODS, Mr. Mirek Topolánek.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the CR and Chairman of the ODS: I wish you nice day. We were whispering now that had been reliving such a déjà vu that we had relived something similar at the turn of July and August. I do not remember the exact date; nevertheless we are by several months further. It was shown that this three-coalition project is in fact the only one project, which is supported by parties and through which it would be possible to implement reform changes. We have signed a coalition agreement, which has much larger programme part in comparison with the former one. It is in fact a kind of a programme declaration, which could be just specified. Nevertheless, they are individual objectives there, the individual tasks how to achieve the objectives including specification of legal norms and authorities. One of the areas is specification of deadlines, at least in such cases where we were able to define them roughly. In comparison with the summer agreement, there is one more clause, which expresses clearly what the government wants to achieve, apart from those programme objectives. In case it is not able to fulfil the programme declaration, which will include the programme part of the coalition agreement, there is clear mechanism described there how to organize early elections. The decision can be made whenever, but on the occasion of approving the state budget, at the latest, as concurrently with approval procedure of the state budget, the government will submit a government bill, which will be bound with a vote of confidence and the government will try to prevent the debate on this bill for three months. In case the state budget is not passed, it would, based on the non-passed bill, ask the President for dissolution of the Chamber of Deputies and issuing the writ of general elections within sixty days. This mechanism is defined there in order to avoid any doubts that this government will not govern unless it is able to take reform measures. I would like to thank my counterparts. We had little time after the decision of the executive committee of the ODS to specify the programme and to amend the coalition agreement. We had just one week in fact and I thank all those who have been involved in it for being able to elaborate this document in such a form that would enable good governance.

Martin Schmarcz, head of press unit: Now, there is time for the introductory speech of the Chairman of the KDU-CSL, Jiří Čunek.

Jiří Čunek, Chairman of the KDU-CSL: Good afternoon everybody. The Prime Minister said a lot of essential matters. I can just say I firmly believe that the signature of the coalition agreement is just an administrative act and I firmly believe that based on all those negotiations, after those days we had spent together we learned that we are trustworthy partners. And so, the signature is just an administrative matter and the trust will prevail in the future. And perhaps our desire will be met and the government will be pro-reform and it will be able to take the responsibility. Thank you.

Martin Schmarcz, head of press unit: And now I ask the Chairman of the Green arty, Mr. Martin Bursík, for his introductory speech.

Martin Bursík, Chairman of Green Party: Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, for us, members of the Green Party, this moment is paradoxically perhaps the most important one. It is at least as important as the vote of confidence itself, because by signing this document we confirmed our agreement with our common programme. And we very appreciate shift in opinions of our political partners and ability of three political parties to contribute the best features of the individual political parties to our common project. The result of this is that the government is undoubtedly a pro-reform one. It is frequently mentioned, but it is a government which desires the Czech Republic to become an effective state, which would continue and accelerate modernization, so that the Czech Republic would become a state, which not only passively adopts that what comes from Brussels, but which is also actively involved in forming the European policy, defines its own priorities and which would become a really important player of the European and world policy. In this agreement you can also find passages that concern our global responsibility, you can also find there issues that have not been formulated at the level of a coalition agreement so far. We appreciate it very much and we regard this programme consensus as a basis of our future cooperation, no matter if we will be able to govern according to this project, or not. But we regard the ability itself to reach an agreement on the government programme at such an extent of details as – for us as novices in the parliamentary politics – a very significant and positive moment.

Martin Schmarcz, head of press unit: Ladies and gentlemen, now there is time for a couple of your questions.

Helena Šulcová, TV Prima: I would like to ask, Prime Minister, do you have any information from the Prague Castle? I also wonder if any changes occurred, regarding the personal composition of the government. And a question for Mr. Čunek – do you know who will be appointed instead of Simona Zikmundová?

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the CR and Chairman of the ODS: There are no problematical names in the government. The resignation of Simona Zikmundová means that I will have to go to the Prague Castle once more at a minimum to complete the name. I will be with the president on 2nd January and I do not suppose that any change occurs by that time, there are no signs regarding this, I have not notice them. When we complete the name of the Chairman of the Government Legislative Council, the minister without portfolio, I will treat my duty as carried out, from the constitutional point of view.

Jiří Čunek, Chairman of the KDU-CSL: As for us, we are strenuously trying to find a substitute for Mrs. Zikmundová.

Helena Šulcová, TV Prima: One more question. You are going there on 2nd January with the complete list once more, is there any sign that the President might to appoint the government?

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the CR and Chairman of the ODS: I am not going there with the complete list; I am going there with the only one name.

Helena Šulcová, TV Prima: Do you have information when will you go there with the list?

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the CR and Chairman of the ODS: Mr. Čunek has not told me the name so far and therefore I cannot determine the date when I will go there.

Martin Schmarcz, head of press unit: Now I ask for two questions, if there are any. Česká televize.

Miloš Kozumplík, ČT: I would like to know what is included in a more detailed manner in the agreement, whether you could mention one sphere, at least.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the CR and Chairman of the ODS: I would say that in the general part, as to the extent of details, the individual spheres rest more or less the same as they had been determined in summer. As to details, we defined the individual legal norms, the individual laws with setting of deadlines of implementation. You will have the entire coalition agreement at your disposal, of course, and you will be able to study the extent of details. It is phased starting the pension reform into three stages, which are describes in a relatively very detailed manner. Nevertheless, the deadline is set just for the first stage. The environmental tax reform is described there, their two stages, in a detailed way. There are described details in the transport sphere and necessary changes of the legislative. There are norms mentioned there, which are necessary to be amended in the sphere of health, so that the programme could be fulfilled. The list is defined in a detailed way. All is defined in a detailed way.

Martin Schmarcz, head of press unit: Televize Nova.

Journalist, TV Nova: I would just like to know how to understand the President, who says that he is not content with the composition of the government.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the CR and Chairman of the ODS: Try to read the Constitution.

Journalist, Hospodářské noviny: Could you, Prime Minister, say what is your stand to the eventuality, which is known to journalists, that some of deputies of governmental parties could not vote for the confidence?

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the CR and Chairman of the ODS: I do not think you are completely right. I regard number of statements as very misrepresented. I do not suppose deputies of the ODS to vote against their government in the course of vote of confidence.

Martin Schmarcz, head of press unit: Last question, please.

Journalist, Respekt: I have a concrete question. What is your attitude to the European Constitution Treaty? Do you agree with the debate on the reform of European institutions so that they would correspond to the 21st century?

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the CR and Chairman of the ODS: To such a long question, which is concurrently an answer, I can answer just – yes.

Journalist Respekt: What is the attitude like?

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the CR and Chairman of the ODS: From the wording of the coalition agreement you must have understood that very neutral, because regarding this treaty, in spite of the fact it does not fractionate us, we have slightly different views on it, a different views. Nevertheless, not even Angela Merkel, when I was present to the debate, did not indicated that she would solve this issue by the European Constitution Treaty or by the Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe, as we have already forgotten to say. She has no ambitions to finish it, she has ambitions to start a debate both in March on the occasion of signing the Berlin Declaration and on the occasion of transfer of presidency to further country, which will preside the EU. Angela Merkel has no ambitions to finish it. And we will actively take part in the debate.

Martin Schmarcz, head of press unit: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you. As to the coalition agreement, you will get it of course. There is also included a chapter on European institutions there, which is described in a very detailed way, and so the attitude of coalition parties to the reform will be known. As soon as I get down to my PC, all of you will get it. Thank you.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the CR and Chairman of the ODS: Thank you and good-bye.