Press Conferences

11. 3. 20088:56

Press Conference of the Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek, after the Meeting of the Government, Held on 11th February 2008

Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference after the meeting of the government. Allow me to welcome the Prime Minister, Mr. Mirek Topolánek, the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Mr. Petr Nečas, the Minister of Justice, Mr. Jiří Pospíšil and the Deputy Minister for European Affairs, Mr. Marek Mora. I ask the Prime Minister for his introductory speech
Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: Good afternoon, welcome everybody. The government had two meetings today, in fact. The first one was in the framework of the Committee for the EU and the second one was the regular meeting of the government. I have brought the Deputy Minister Mora with me, and so I excuse the absence of Mr. Alexandr Vondra who had left for Berlin, as a lot of questions may arise regarding that Committee for the EU. We debated number of framework positions, which should be promoted by the respective ministers at their ministerial meetings. We did not agree on the only one material today, in fact, and we postponed our decision. It concerned the framework position of the Czech Republic to the climate-energy package. Works on it are just starting. It is being debated from three different views. One of them is the view of the Ecofin and possible influence on the budgetary policy of the state. In this case, we hold positively negative standpoint, and we are not alone. The second matter was debated at the meeting of ministers of industry and trade and the third one concerned the meeting of ministers of environment. We have had several analyses made. We are going to revert to these issues after three weeks, so that we have common standpoint prepared by 3dr March. It also concerns allocation of revenues resulting from auctions of emission limits, to which we are preparing our comments as well. There is a lot of work ahead of us. I am not going to express my opinions here, as we have not reached common standpoint. We approved the framework position to the common migration policy. We approved framework position to the Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Employment. I will let the Deputy Minister Mora to express his opinions regarding these materials that concern the Czech presidency. We approved the framework position to the strategy of the internal market and the framework position to the regulatory framework for electronic communication networks and services. We have a negative stand to the establishment of the telecommunication regulator as further free-standing institution. The Deputy Minister Mora will present sector priorities of the Czech presidency and how we want to promote them in the framework of assessment of preparation works of the state administration for the presidency and in the framework of the assessment of the institutional background of the Czech Republic and the coordination process from 1st May 2007 to 31st December 20007. As to the meeting of the government, I think there were several key issues there, but the most essential was the item no. 3 – The Act on Pension Insurance. Petr Nečas has a presentation prepared of what has been approved. The only one information I can say is that we unanimously approved the material, which had been debated for number of months. Further issues concerned the health insurance, about which the Deputy Prime Minister can also say something. Jiří Pospíšil is here today because of presentation of the draft amendment to the Rules of Criminal Procedure, which amends issues that has nor been stipulated so far. The amendment is a result of recent experiences. Finally, we suspended the issue that concerned the Order of the Government on Remuneration of the Performance of Members of Municipal Councils. So, questions, if any, concerning this issue would be groundless; we will deal with this issue at the next meeting of the government. We dismissed the proposal of deputies Bebarová, Rujbrová, Bublan and Vašíček, which was an attempt to amend recently approved law that concerned the residence of foreigners in the territory of the Czech Republic. We approved the National Action Plan of the Fight against Terrorism, which passed the comment procedure and was recommended by the National Security Council. It was an updated plan of 2005. The update was made for the following three years. We approved the material of the Minister of Health Julínek – the National Plan for Solution of HIV/AIDS Problems for 2008-2012. Also the Construction of the new Headquarters of the NATO in Brussels was approved; our share would be at the amount of 1,2% of total expected costs. I think it is all as far as issues, which were considered in the course of the debate. Now, I ask my colleagues to present issues which they regard as essential
Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: I thank the Prime Minister and now the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs has the floor.
Petr Nečas, Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. As the Prime Minister has already said, the government approved at today's meeting the first stage of the pension reform; it means the relevant articulated bills which concern the change of the existing pension system. Necessity of the pension system change is beyond all doubt. It is a consequence of demographic trends in our country – decrease of birth rate and, in particular, the average life span. Just one reminder – there were 340 000 inhabitants above 80 years of age in the last year, in 2010 there will be 380 000 of them and in 2050 it will be more than 1 000 00. Approximately one fifth of inhabitants are above 60 years of age; in 2030 it will be one third. It means that we must implement the reform of the pension system beyond all doubts, and thus to respond to the development of aging of population. The expenditures in this sphere are quite considerable; to have an idea of the part of the state budget, which is spent to pensions, it is nearly 300 billion crowns in this year. It means one third of total expenditure and I regard as very important to emphasize that the pension system does not include only the issues of aging population and old-age pensions. About 70% of the total expenditures are spent in this sphere. Additional 30% are spent for disability and inheritance pensions. If we talk about a real pension reform, we cannot omit disability and inheritance pensions. At present we have 2,7 million pensioners and I want to emphasize that 2,4 million of them are dependent on pensions and 2 million of them are dependent on old-age pensions and 400 000 on disability pensions. It means that one fourth of our citizens are dependent on the pension system. As to main measures proposed through this government bill, I will mention only the most important ones, as the bill is very comprehensive. Gradual extension of the minimal length of insurance from existing 25 years up to 35 years is expected in the bill. Those 25 years was stipulated in 1964; it means that it is 40 years old measure, which is out-of-date nowadays. Further key measure consists in continuation of enhancement of the retirement age up to 65 years after 2030. This age limit will relate to men, and women with one child. In case of women with two children the retirement age will be in 64 years of age, with 3 children in 63 years and with 4 children and more in 62 years of age. Further measure concerns the change of the system of disability pensions. I have mentioned that disability pensions formed nearly one fifth of total expenditures of the pension system. Also the concurrency drawing of pensions with earnings extends possibilities of seniors. It means higher motivation of seniors, so that they could rest longer in active employment, which is all-European, or worldwide trend in developed countries. The increase of the retirement age will be gradual; those curves are shown on this graph. We regard the area of disability pensions as key one too, because , and I would like to emphasize it, it is not possible to take only the retirement pension into consideration; they form just 70% of expenditures, and we must reform also those 30% that remain. It means that we will transfer the existing system of partial and full disability pensions to the three-degree disability pension system. I would like to emphasize that the existing pensions will be maintained for those citizens who draw disability pensions regardless whether they will be classified in the first or in the second degree. It means that the new system, including that percentage of the calculation basis, will concern new disability pensioners, who will enter the system after the law comes into force. The time schedule, according to which we want to implement the system, is quite clear. We want this bill to be debated as early as at the March session of the Chamber of Deputies in the first reading and to be approved in the second and the third reading by the end of June, so that it could be passed to the Senate and to come into force on 1st January 2009 This one years and a quarter of the legislative process is absolutely necessary because it creates space for the Czech Social Security Administration to do necessary changes relating to the new pension system. It comprises great changes in the sphere of information technologies, communication systems; it comprises changes in the medical experts committees. There is a new system of disability pensions implemented, and therefore this one-year gap between the approval of the law and its coming into force is necessary, so that the respective institutions have time enough to prepare for the law. That was information on the pension reform. I just remind you that we have also approved the amendment to the new Act on Health Insurance. It concerned a great deal of financial means again. Revenues resulting from the health insurance were at the amount of 45 billion crowns last year. Expenditures were at the amount of 35 billion crowns. I want to say that those expenditures are difficult to be estimated, because they depend on number of flue epidemics, for example. One flue epidemic represents about one billion of expenditures in the health insurance sphere. We want to modify the system in connection with the government stabilization package, which has been passed. We are also of the opinion that some necessary changes of a technical character has to be done, and that the circle of employers should be extended who can enter the system, and thus have 50% of their wage refunds refunded after two weeks of sickness. In the existing law this stipulation concerns only employers up to 25 employees. The circle will be extended to firms with 50 employees through this amendment. This bill means in particular simplification of the entire health insurance system; mainly in reduction of duty to notify, which means lower burden for the business sector. Also reduction of obligatory data in registers of employers, and District Social Security Administrations will occur. In other words, adoption of that amendment will mean reduction of an administrative burden of the business sphere. That was information on two laws on the pension reform, which were approved by the government today. Thank you
Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: I thank the Deputy Prime Minister. Now, the Minister of Justice, Mr. Jiří Pospíšil, has the floor.
Jiří Pospíšil, Minister of Justice: Good afternoon once more, ladies and gentlemen. I will briefly present the amendment to the Rules of Criminal Procedure here, which was approved by the government today as a part of the package of reform laws in the sphere of justice. The amendment is part of the category aimed at enhancement of aggrieved persons. The purpose of the amendment is to protect victims of a crime who become an object of the media, who is identified, named and whose photography is published. Following a discussion with the non-profit sector, to be concrete, with the League for Human Rights, following a discussion with experts and following to comparison with foreign laws, concretely German, Swiss and French laws, we prepared an amendment which would protect underage victims of crimes. It will not be possible to publish data based on which their identification would be possible, unless their guardian ad litem approves it. It concerns for example a situation when a victim of a crime is an object of kidnapping. In such a case it will be possible to search the person through the media only following the approval of the guardian ad litem. In case of adult persons we suppose that they should be protected from the media in case of certain types of crimes, such as crimes against life and health, crimes against freedom and dignity, crimes against family. In case an approval of an adult person – a victim of a crime – the person can be publicized in the media. The purpose of the bill is to provide standard European level in the sphere of protection of crime victims. Those victims often suffer from stress, psychical problems and therefore we want to protect them, and that is why it relates to crimes against life, health, and human intimacy. We want the protection to be aimed at such area and that is why such a protection will be provided. In this respect the government meets its obligations resulting from the justice part of the reform package; it wants to enhance crime victims' protection. It has connection with amendments through which more chances are given victims to exact compensation from culprits of crimes. It is also connected with an amendment which stipulates that conditional parole will be possible only on condition that a culprit settles relationships with victim of a crime. It is a part of an increased pressure on culprits, and generally on investigative, prosecuting and adjudicating bodies, so that they better protect victims of crimes. In this area the Czech law legs behind other countries of the EU; that is why the government wants to bring about changes which would make the protection of crime victims as standard as it is other countries of the West Europe.
Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: I thank the Minister of Justice and now the Deputy Minister for European Affairs, Mr. Marek Mora, has the floor.
Marek Mora, Deputy Minister for European Affairs: Thank you. I will mention several issues beyond what has already been said by the Prime Minister. The government approved four out of five framework positions at the session of the Committee for the EU, one position, which concerned climatic-energy package was postponed. I will mention the other three positions which directly concern preparation for the presidency of the Czech Republic to the EU Council. The government approved the material "Sector Priorities of the Presidency". This material continues the approved material "Main Priority Areas", it means areas which will be the main priorities of the Prime Minister. Now, we are dealing with the individual formations of the EU Council, and we are dealing with the partial priorities within these formations. An agreement has been reached that these priorities on the sector level would be discussed by the individual ministers who would be also responsible for them. Debate would be also held in the respective committees of the Parliament from the professional point of view. It is the first version, in fact, and I would like to emphasize it; a discussion will be held about it and we want to submit further update, further version by the end of June. Further material which concerns presidency preparation is evaluation of preparation of the state administration for the performance of the presidency. This task was assigned by the government at the end of the last year. Its purpose is to perform a control of organs of the state administration related to the presidency. It was stated that an emphasis should be placed on personnel stabilization of people involved in the EU agendas within the respective ministries. In particular, the issue of education in the language sphere has been discussed, which was not satisfying. Relatively satisfying is language knowledge of employees of the first category of the central register. It concerns people who will be in charge of working meetings. Nevertheless, there is not still 100% coverage of those language requirements. I would like to say regarding this that in spring there will be a new wave of language examinations and we expect that those who have not passed this exam will enter it, and that percentage will increase rapidly. The government debated and it also approved that these employees should be motivated financially to educate themselves in languages. It means that remuneration related to the presidency preparation will be bound to language education. Except for that, the government decided to hold a seminar on the ministerial and governmental level; we want to invite top representatives of the Union to prepare ministers for the presidency. Further material is "Evaluation of the Institutional Background of the Czech Republic in the EU Council". It has rather complicated title, which is similar to the previous one, which concerned presidency performance. Coordination mechanisms are described there in particular regarding preparation of political attitudes on the European level. You can see that today's programme covered five framework positions. Our main efforts are aimed at including those serious issues into the framework positions, which are consequently debated by the government, so that the coordination between the individual ministries would be clarified and so that the individual ministers at their councils within the EU discussed them in a unified manner. I would like to point out that it is not like this in all countries. Sometimes it happens that for example minister of environment decide together with minister of finance, and such like. Our efforts are aimed at reaching consistent position of the Czech Republic, and in case of failure, like it was in case of the climatic-energy package today, the issue is postponed; nevertheless, there is unambiguous effort to reach a clear conclusion. By the way, there was stated there that the selection of chairmen of the individual working groups is nearly finished. As to these chairmen, who will operate in Brussels at the permanent mission, their selection is completely finished. As to those who will chair from the centre, it means who will come from Prague ministries; the selection is in a very advanced phase. Just one or two ministries remain us and all chairmen will be appointed. I think that it is clear step in this sphere. That was introductory information from my side.
Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: I thank the Deputy Minister and members of the government. The Prime Minister will add something.
Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: I will add information. It looked like a great idyll. I must say that one of issues that we debated was the language knowledge of the individual chairmen of commissions. We stated that if they have not required language knowledge by the end of June, when their names are submitted to the government, we will consider their removal; it is necessary to say. We know about this problem. The second matter – the training of ministers, which was sneered at by some people, is quite standard in other countries. They have started with it in Sweden, as it was necessary. We will hold and we are planning a government seminar, which will concern rather professional matters; nevertheless there is a lot of work ahead of us from the point of view of moderating, from the point of view of our ability to chair the respective session of ministers, or a commission. I wanted to add this issue. The material seems to be very bald but a lot of work arises from it.
Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: I thank the Prime Minister and the Deputy Minister. Now, there is time for your questions. I ask for questions on the government agenda first, and only then there will be time for other questions.
Czech TV: We do not have a question explicitly related to the government agenda; therefore I leave the others to ask questions.
Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Does anybody have a question concerning the government agenda?
Martin Jahr, TV Nova: I have a question to Petr Nečas. Will be some exceptions in retirement, for example for certain groups of citizens, like miners, whose life expectancy is lower? It means that they might not reach the retirement age. Tank you.
Petr Nečas, Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs: First, that information which use representatives of mining unions do not based on Czech data but on Polish ones; Poland enable exposure time up to 25 years, which is impossible in the Czech Republic. The exposure time in the Czech Republic is 5 years. We are prepared to have a large survey made, which would record health state of miners in the Czech Republic. If we find out that work in mines has such an influence on miners that they have lower life expectancy, then the solution is not an early retirement, but shortening of the exposure time. If it be proved, based on that survey – not on statements of Polish trade unions, that work at the length of 15 years have a negative influence in the life expectancy, we would have to shorten the exposure time. It is not possible for tax payers to finance mining companies, profits of which run into billions, for health impairment of miners. The solution must be in the opposite direction, I mean the shortening of the exposure time. I will be the first one who will propose the exposure time shortening down to ten years. Second, in the course of recruitment of miners, they are warned that occupation of a miner is not life-time profession that they may work in mines only for 15 years. It means if somebody enters his job in 22 years of age, he must leave the job in 37 years of age. In other words, introduction of special retirement categories would be a trend which would be quite different from trends in developed countries. On the contrary, a single retirement category is being introduced everywhere. By the way, and I will say it openly, if that idea was intended seriously, then we would have had those special retirement categories because of performance of the social-democratic governments. Former mining trade union leader is even a member of the social-democratic group of deputies. If they did not introduce such a system, then they must know well that it was not a realistic requirement. But I repeat again, if there is a serious problem here, we would have to have a more extensive survey made and to shorten exposure times of miners. To impair them their health and to retire them it would not be the right way.
Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Thank you, further question, please.
Journalist, Deník: Good afternoon, I have two questions. First one is to Mr. Nečas and the second one to Mr. Pospíšil. A question to Mr. Nečas: what will be further steps of the pension reform like? A question to Mr. Pospíšil – regarding crime victims – you said that also adult persons will be protected in certain categories. Could you give an example?
Petr Nečas, Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs: Well, I have presented here the first stage of the pension reform from the point of view of legislative deadlines. We would like the articulated bill to be approved by autumn, so that the law could come into force starting from 1st January 2010. It means there will be one-year long gap for taking necessary measures aimed at implementation of the entire system. I mean the information technologies, medical expert opinions and similar measures necessary for implementation of the system. Simultaneously, the second stage of the pension reform is in progress, which has two key elements. The first one is introduction of the account of the pension reform; it has already been opened starting from 1st January of this year based on the amendment of the Act on Budgetary Rules. It is an account to which surpluses resulting from collection of pension insurance, if any, will be deposited. Also revenues from certain capital shares of the state in certain companies, like the ČEZ (supplier of electric energy), will be deposited there. These revenues will not be idle on the account; they will be appreciated through investment in securities defined by the law. This part of the second stage of the reform is already in progress starting from 1st January. The second part of the second stage involves the reform of the supplementary pension insurance. I would like to emphasize that from the competence point of view this area does not come under the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, but under the Ministry of Finance. As to this part, which concerns the supplementary pension insurance, we have already a team formed, which is intensively working on changes in the legislation. We want to submit the respective bills this year. Apart from other things, we want to motivate people more, so that they enter this system. We want to increase number of beneficiaries from existing 3,8 million up to 5 million beneficiaries; it means to cover great majority of active population. From the point of view of regulation, we want to separate property of shareholders from the property of clients. These steps are necessary, because apart from demographic aspects that I have presented here there is still one more aspect here, which has a connection with it – number of social insurance payers will decrease because of aging of population. Nowadays we have about 5 million social insurance payers, 4,1 million of them are employees and about 900 000 are self-employed persons. But as early as in 2025 number of social insurance payers will decrease down to 4,3 million. We must to take measures and also to strengthen that the supplementary pension insurance pillar.
Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Thank you, now the Minister of Justice has the floor.
Jiří Pospíšil, Minister of Justice: As I have already said, in case of children, or young people below 18 years of age, the protection is complete. You asked me for examples in case of adult victims. Our philosophy was to include there such crimes, publishing of which might cause a psychical detriment. They are for example crimes against life and health, against human dignity; to be concrete – victims of violation, victims of crime of pimping or damage to health. These cases according to experts´ opinions clearly show that they may be a great burden for victims if the case is publicized in the media; victims are often publicly criticized, and are subjects of attacks from the side of culprit relatives.
Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Thank you, further question.
Kateřina Krausová, Czech News Agency: Mr. Nečas, in what year will people retire in those 65 years of age. Will it be in 2030 or when? Further question – what will be political negotiation like, so that you have sufficient support in the Parliament?
Petr Nečas, Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs: Well, according to the approved proposal, starting from 2031 men, childless women, and women with one child will retire in 65 year of age. As to political negotiations, we have been holding long, half-a-year long negotiations aimed at reaching broad political consensus. I want to emphasize that we did not become resigned to that effort. Even in the bill that I submitted to the government, certain attitudes of the Social Democratic Party are reflected. For example that matter which concerns partial disability pensions. After reassessment of their disability from the second degree to first degree, their disability pension will be maintained. In other words, that three-degree system of disability pensions concerns only new disability pensioners after 2010. This is reflection of that discussion. Further example – we enabled to increase old-age pensions in case a man in the retirement age draws full old-age pension and moreover is working. In such a case the calculation basis will be increased by 0,4% for each 360 days. It is also a result of the discussion and a response to requirements of the Social Democratic party. We are ready and willing to negotiate with the entire political spectrum in the future, with our partners in the Chamber of Deputies and to aim our efforts at the broadest possible support of this proposal. This law is to come into force starting from 1st January 2010. I would regard as politically immoral to pass laws, which would come into force after the end of the election period like it happen to us when number of laws passed by the government of Jiří Paroubek came into force on 1st January 2007. If we want the law to come into effect on 1st January, in this election period, so that there will be a time gap for the Czech Social Security Administration, which needs one year, at least to prepare the system from the point of view of information technologies, then those legislative deadlines are absolutely explicit – first reading at the Chamber of Deputies in March, second and third reading at the Chamber of Deputies in June, then the debate at the Senate, the signature of the President, and coming into force starting from 1st January 2010 There is no time space, perhaps some two weeks, not more, for the government to pass this law. But also in the course of the debate in the Chamber of Deputies, in the Senate, throughout the entire legislative process, we will be intensively consulting and we will be trying to reach an agreement or a tolerance, at least, of those key changes, which are absolutely inevitable. I would like to emphasize that also in the light of figures of the demographic development, these measures that we are taken would have to take any other government of any political composition. The demographic development simply cannot be omitted, it cannot be duped. It is a fact. The fact that our population is aging such rapidly is beyond all doubt, and we must respond to it. Responsible government cannot do anything else that this government is doing.
Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Thank you, further question, please, Právo.
Barbora Škrová, Právo: Good afternoon, I would like to ask about those premature pensions. Is there any change there?
Petr Nečas, Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs: There is a change there, because the existing system of premature pensions is still widely used. In case of old-age, and I want to emphasize that, one third of old-age pensions form premature pensions. If we take also disability pension into consideration, we would come to the conclusion that at present, when the theoretical retirement age should be about 6 years, according to law, thanks to premature and disability pensions their number increased by 68% and the real retirement age in 2007 was 58 years in case of men, and 56 years in case of women. It means that we must slightly correct rules for using premature pensions and disability pensions. We introduce a bit stricter conditions in case of premature pensions which last more than two years, it means that for the third year of the premature pension; and we are ready to negotiate and we have some calculations prepared for adoption of such a system if there is political will here. We want to preserve possibility of premature pension starting from 60 years of age once the retirement age exceeds 63 years of age after 2017. It means that after that there will be possibility of premature pensions earlier than three years before the retirement age, for example when age of 65 years is retirement age, there will be possibility to draw premature pensions for five years in fact, but there will be a progressive decrease of the computation base.
Barbora Škrová, Právo: Additional question – inarticulate
Petr Nečas, Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs: The proposal that is here is a way towards the progressive decrease of the benefit computation base. It means that there is 0,9% for the first two years of the premature pension and 1,5% for the third year.
Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Thank you, further question.
Czech TV: I have a question to the Prime Minister – how was the meeting of the government influenced by certain tension, which had certainly been transferred from the presidential election? Was there certain tension between the Green Party and the ODS? And the second question – what do you say to further candidates for the President, about whom communists are talking, and something can be registered also in case of the KDU-ČSD?
Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: Regarding your first question – we are professional politicians. It means that the meeting of the government itself was not affected, and everybody can confirm that. There were certain issues we argued about, some of them we did not approve, some of them were postponed. For me the unambiguous approval of the pension reform is very precious matter for further work of this government; it is an absolute priority of this year. If we was not able to agree on it, regardless whether it was influenced by the presidential election or nor, the government would lose its sense, that reform ethos would disappear and the government would eventually finish its activities. In this sense, I have not noticed anything in the course of the meeting of the government what would impair the debate. It is always very open, above-standard open, I would say. So, issues which we regarded as the apple of discord really were the apple of discord, and we did not reach an agreement in such cases. In case of the pension reform, there was a debate. You will be able to see in the resolution that we undertook, and especially the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs undertook to submit a proposal by mid-2009, which will solve the problem marriages and families with more children, as the existing state is a result of a compromise. I did not have uneasy feeling about that. We will see what the future development will be like. Regarding candidates, I will express my standpoint on Tuesday after twenty-four o'clock, when I know real proposals. Those speculations leave me calm for the present. We signed a document where we proposed our own candidate. The only one candidate I am able to express my opinion about is Václav Klaus, but you do not expect me to do that.
Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Thank you.
Petr Nečas, Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs: I would add information concerning the meeting of the government. I think that everybody tried to behave in a professional manner. Nevertheless, it would be lie to claim that what had happened was not reflected in the atmosphere.
Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Further question, Mladá fronta, Mr. Kopecký.
Josef Kopecký, MfD: Good afternoon, I would like to ask whether the ODS will solicit votes of the KDU-ČSL and the Green Party, so that at least one of these parties undertake to support Václav Klaus. Thank you.
Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: We have not debated this issue in the framework of our coalition. Perhaps, we will negotiate tomorrow. I think that the coalition agreement is valid in its existing wording. Nobody will change anything in it. I do not suppose that we will negotiate on an institutional support of Václav Klaus. We will rather discuss the mode of the election, as it is apparent that and it is not only our opinion, but opinion of the public, that the public election failed. It failed because, and it must have been seen on the TV, that our heads turned in the direction of seats of members of the Social Democratic Party, and the Communist Party, and heads of leaders of those two parties turned in the same direction to check whether there was somebody courageous enough to vote in compliance with his/her conscience. We will negotiate common standpoint regarding that issue; I do not anticipate anything now. If it is not possible, then it will be reality, but I am not able to say anything about it without information on opinions of my partners.
Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: The Czech TV.
Czech TV: Just one more question regarding this issue – when and with whom would you like to negotiate the mode of the election, whether it will be secret or public. Are you preparing any meeting where you would urge all the parliamentary parties?
Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: I will certainly negotiate with those parties where there is a sense to negotiate. On leaving the Prague castle I bid chairmen of other parties to participate in such a meeting. We will try it first on the chairmen base. I do not think that the negotiation on the election mode is a negotiation on candidates. I must say this unambiguously. Yes, I am willing to negotiate with communists of the election mode, because I do not think it would be negotiation on the election itself. Therefore, in this sense, I will negotiate with everybody and I feel it is my duty, as I do not want to experience such ordeal like on Friday and on Saturday. I even do not have a feeling that I am a man who caused that. We were really striving after an august election.
Jana Bartošová, government spokesperson: Thank you, the last question, please. Nobody? Thank you for your attention, good-bye.
Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: Thank you, good-bye