Interviews - Online

Post your questions for Mirek Topolánek

Mirek TopolánekPrime Minister Mirek Topolánek will answer your questions on Tuesday, 10 Febuary at 10:00 online in the European chat.

You can start posting your questions concerning the Czech Presidency several hours in advance. After the chat is closed, the most interesting questions and answers from both language versions will be published in the ’News and Documents’ section on  The chat is conducted simultaneously in two language versions –in Czech for the local public and in English for readers abroad. Czech and English questions appear only in their respective language versions. To read all the questions answered by the Prime Minister, open both chat versions.

Questions and Answers

Larissa Chace, 10. 2. 2009, 7:58
Dear Mr Prime Minister, please allow me 2 questions: 1) Do you think EU countries should accept prisoners from Guantanamo? Why yes/not? Will the Czech Republic take any such prisoners? 2) What specific steps can EU institutions take to prevent member countries from adopting protectionist policies in relation to the economic crisis? Thank you.
responded to, 10. 2. 2009, 11:18
As we have already declared in a press release, the Czech Presidency welcomes the decision of the US Administration to close the Guantánamo prison. It is obvious that this issue must be dealt with by Foreign Ministers and possibly also Interior Ministers since accepting these prisoners can have an impact on the security of the whole of the EU. The Member States are considering the options that are open to them under their respective legal frameworks – countries such as Portugal, Spain, Italy, Finland and France have expressed their agreement to take these prisoners; Germany, whose opinion in this matter I share, requires a common EU position, whereas Austria, Sweden and the Netherlands have clearly stated their refusal. This means that the EU has not so far adopted a single approach. In the Czech Republic there are problems at a general level related to the acceptability of these prisoners, i.e. explaining and working with the public, and there is also a legal problem. We currently lack legislation that would enable a judicial procedure to take place and we lack the facilities for the prisoners to serve their sentence. We could take these prisoners only within the system of political asylum, which we do not consider as a particularly good solution. I regard the closure of the prison as a process that is still under way. It was good news that it began. Now it is the task of the American Administration as well as of the EU and the individual Member States to solve concrete problems concerning the possibility of accepting prisoners. I am very happy that you have managed to find the time to post your questions, and possibly also to read the answers, and I hope that we will carry on in this way over these six months.
Slobodanka Jovanovska, 9. 2. 2009, 23:32
Macedonia is waiting five years for the date to start the negotiations with EU about membership.Is Macedonia so bad candidate or EU is not ready to take new steps, and just looking for exuses?
responded to, 10. 2. 2009, 11:09
The European Commission regularly publishes Progress reports - the most recent one was published in November 2008. Commission has in February 2008 stipulated eight conditions for Macedonie/FYROM to start membership negotiations - some of them have not been fulfulled so far. Amongst these conditions are for example a visible implementation of judicial reform, combating corruption, solution to the country name and coping with the democratic deficit. This does not mean that there has been no progress but some of the main conditions remain unfulfilled. The key will be the presidential elections in March and dialogue with the opposition. The Czech Republic supports Macedonie/FYROM membership in euroatlantic structures, nevertheless the excitement over further enlargement has been long gone in the old Member States. The old Member States in particular are going through a sobering phase which increases the role of countries such as the Czech Republic which will have to push the old as well as countries such as Macedonie/ FYROM not to allow the enlargement process to stop.
T. Murnane, 9. 2. 2009, 21:13
What are some of the Czech Republic's environmental and energy priorities/goals as a country and for the EU, since the country holds the EU presidency for the first half of 2009? For example, the EU has stressed the expanded use of modern industrial /commercial/residential cogeneration systems to help member nations increase energy efficiency and meet emissions targets. How is the Czech Republic doing in terms of promoting the local expansion of commercial/industrial cogeneration?
responded to, 10. 2. 2009, 11:09
The Czech Republic fully respects the conclusions of the EU. The Troika consisting of the Czech Republic, Sweden and France is fully concentrating on the issue of environmental protection and energy security. France focused on the climate and energy package which was approved in December 2008. The Czech priority is the energy security and the recent gas crises between Ukraine and Russia has proven that it had been the right decision. Sweden is focused on electrical and heat energy production efficiency. Thus all the energy related issues are fully covered by the Troika. The energy issue primarily revolves around common energy policy, diversification of energy supplies and routes, diversification of the energy mix and discussion on the nuclear power. The immediate objective of the Czech Presidency in the environmental area is to prepare the Copenhagen conference to be held in December 2009. This will not only entail the preparation of materials but also trying to involve all the major players/air polluters such as the USA, China, India, Russia and others. The Czech domestic policy is given by our current energy mix, which is based on brown coal energy production and a large share of nuclear. The fulfillment of our national objectives will be therefore defined by the opporunities as well as risks thereof.
Chris Brodie, 10. 2. 2009, 5:54
Greetings from america... Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek will the growing global market crash effect your Presidency. And if it does how will you handle the demand of the people?
responded to, 10. 2. 2009, 10:46
The biggest problem of the current global crisis is the crisis of foreign demand. Without resolving the situation in the US or China the situation will not get better even in Czech Republic. Exports account for over 80% of our GDP while 75% of the household consumption is made of imports. I believe that the solution does not only and simply consist in stimulating domestic demand and foreign supply. The crisis of trust can be resolved only by renewing the trust. If big countries continue to behave in a protectionist way they will only repeat the scenario of 1930s. I recommend the leaders of these big countries to take a quick glance over the history books.
Andrew Snashall, 9. 2. 2009, 21:31
Do you think the single currency has a future as a result of the strain imposed on it by the different needs of Europe's economies? Thankyou
responded to, 10. 2. 2009, 10:29
The biggest enemy of the common currency in the eurozone is the eurozone itself. The currency is not there only for good times but for bad times, too. The response of the eurozone countries to the financial and economic crisis deformed the joint project of the euro more than any other imaginable event. Most of the national states using the euro started breaking the common rules by their declarations as well as by practical steps, while the basic anchor of the whole process is to adhere to these common rules. The project has been successsful but it remains to be seen how successful this project is going to be in the near future. If the Member States continue preferring individualistic and protectionist approach and if they choose to become free rider of the system and continue breaking the Stability and Growth Pact rules then there is a big danger of watering down the whole project. I do not wish for it and therefore although we are not members of the eurozone, we want to become the guardians of the rules which have to be followed.
Shishlo, correspondent of Ria, 9. 2. 2009, 18:05
Dear Mr Prime-Minister, what do You think about the North and South stream projects? Thank You.
responded to, 10. 2. 2009, 10:01
In order to decrease energy dependency and thus increase our freedom there are several ways we should follow up in parallel. First of all, we need to increase interconnectivity amongst European countries, provide for larger storeages of gas, strive for greater diversitfication of resources which in turn will give us more freedom to choose our energy mix as well as our supply routes. The North stream snd South stream is one of the ways how to fulfill the latter requirement.

Discussion has ended.