Scheduled Events

23. 10. 200816:09

Regarding the alleged efforts by France to extend the EU presidency

We present some reactions from the cabinet representatives relative to articles by the French daily LeMonde and the Austrian newspaper Kurier, which wrote about the possibility of extending the French presidency. These are reactions for the media and not in any way an official statement or declaration.

premiér v brýlích_ ilustrační fotoPrime Minister Mirek Topolánek: “I think that everyone knows that we will handle it. The fact that there are some opinions, where someone does not want the Czech presidency, is normal. Austrian presidency in and of itself was for me relatively successful. Most of the small countries do not have overly great ambitions. We do not have them either. Our task is to moderate European discussion, to look for compromises.
We will handle the presidency and we are well ready for it. Articles in the Kurier leave me quite calm.”

Minister of Foreign Affairs Karel Schwarzenberg: he outright refused the speculations by the Austrian press and added that there was not even a mention of anything such as this at the official platforms. The rotation of the presidency is indisputable – it is embedded in the founding European Treaties. “Rules of the European Union are the Rules of the European Union, and they will be observed,” said Schwarzenberg and also added that this does not mean that we would not cooperate with France during the presidency. On the contrary, much of the agenda we are cooperating on already today and the coordination will continue even during the Czech presidency. “We are not so well known. It is true that we are not a superpower and that during our presidency we will have to tackle some issues, which would be a challenge even to a large state or a superpower,” explains the minister for himself how such speculations could even surface.

Vice Prime Minister for European Affairs Alexandr Vondra: "Nobody can take the Presidency away from the Czech Republic. There are formal rules of the game which cannot be changed without the consent of everyone. No such new rules in the EU primary law have been approved. I am aware of the debate within the Eurogroup - an informal platform of Eurozone members, presided by Mr J.C. Juncker. If Eurogroup agrees to be presided by a Frenchman and to meet more frequently, most probably we will not be able to prevent this. However it would not be a wise move but one which would divide EU rather then unify it. Bypass is a metho used to cure an infarct, but is not a suitable method for cooperation wirhin the EU. The EU hopefully, does not suffer from infarct."
Any speculations on extension of the current Presidency are groundless and inacceptable. According the current rules each member state presides the EU over a six-month period according the schedule which has been unanimously approved by the European Council. The Czech Republic is fully prepared to take over the EU on the 1st January 2009 and to fulfill the role of EU moderator for which it has been preparing systematically for a long time."