Interviews - Online

Post your questions for Mirek Topolánek

Mirek TopolánekPrime Minister Mirek Topolánek will answer your questions on Friday, 13 March at 10 a.m. 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

MT, 13. 3. 2009, 10:50
Closing remarks
responded to, 13. 3. 2009, 11:51
I already got used to our chat sessions. I know that it is sometimes difficult to understand the Czech humour, but I hope that by the end of the Czech Presidency I will teach you so. I hope that the ones who write to me or read this chat will understand that in spite of my sometimes humorous tone we take our role very seriously and with strong responsibility. I am looking forward to chatting with you next time. Have a nice day.
Franco, 12. 3. 2009, 18:38
What is your idea of Europe? U.S. or Swiss model?
responded to, 13. 3. 2009, 10:46
My feeling is that this kind of discussion is still premature. So far it reminds me of the Babel tower concept. Neither the US nor the Swiss models are realistic in short term. The US was born from bloodshed and violence. Today even people who cannot say more than five words in English feel American and put a palm of their hand on the heart while listening to the US anthem. It does not matter where they came from, what colour is their skin or what religion they follow, and for how many generations they have lived in America. Yes, there is something like an American identity. Until something like a European identity comes to existence, such projects will remain artificial. My idea of the EU at his moment is the idea of Europe which is open and flexible. Where the rules agreed upon by the member states are simple but at the same time strictly adhered to. I do not think that we can say that any of these are valid today hundred percent. In spite of that I am an optimist. This is not a bicycle race. It is not true that if a cyclist, i. e. the EU, stops pedalling, the whole world will collapse. Currently, we are going down from a hill and we are resting our feet on the pedals, in fact sometimes we are trying to put on breaks. I hope that we will be able to make it through the next curve which I hope is the curve to the right:-)
sassoli, 12. 3. 2009, 16:20
Sir, don´t you think that in the actual difficult phase of European Union a serious reconsideration of all the gaols has to be conducted?I mean, don´t you think that all the enlargement criteria can be achieved only after a new pact for a new Europe. To organize today is better than to stop tomorrow.
responded to, 13. 3. 2009, 10:31
I regret that you have probably not read the Lisbon Treaty. The Lisbon Treaty has become a kind of a mantra which however does not provide any answer to what the future EU should look like. If by the "new pact" you however mean the Growth and Stability Pact, of course its watering down and breaking of its rules during the financial crisis is bad news for both the ones inside and outside the EU. I think that the essential discussion on where the limits and borders of the EU are and how deep the future integration of the EU should be has not started yet. The current debate on the institutional reform is just an intermezzo during a half-time of the game. Economic problems of the current global world and the EU should in no way damage our long-term objectives and the values of the European Community. If this happens, it could jeopardize the whole project. Reservations of some of the European citizens to further EU enlargement are in fact an insult to me since the Czech Republic also joined the EU only 5 years ago. There are numerous people behind the gates of the EU which similarly suffered under the yoke of communist totalitarian regimes and yet they believe the same values as we do. What gives us the right not to give them at least a chance?
Georgi Gotev, 12. 3. 2009, 15:58
Your country is pushing for further EU enlargement. But is the Czech Republic at odds with other member countries, such as the Netherlands, over the accession prospects of Montenegro, Albania, Serbia (Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina being a more difficult case)?
responded to, 13. 3. 2009, 10:10
I think it is quite the contrary. The citizens of the countries which try to prevent further EU enlargement are opposing the principal idea of the European Community; the civilization mission and the enlargement of the space of security, prosperity and freedom must be perpetuated since these are the values upon which the EU was founded. Introducing new iron curtains, barriers, or walls is a road to hell. The West Balkans is a part of Europe where the EU failed greviously in the 1990s. They allowed a war to escalate to an unprecedented extent, unseen since the Second World War. Without gradual integration of these countries into the EU while insisting that Copenhagen criteria be fulfilled the EU would create a new problem in the abdomen of Europe as Winston Churchill one stated. And this is not the opinion of just the Czech Republic. It is in fact a majority opinion in the EU. I admit that it is not going to be easy as there is no such thing as an automatic process. On the other hand, this is the only way to go forward.
Jean Durant, 12. 3. 2009, 16:06
1. In summer 2008 the U.S. President´s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (Pepfar) passed the Congress and was signed by George W Bush. The plan promised to remove the ban of non-U.S. citizens living with HIV to travel to the U.S. The ban however remains in effect because the Bush administration failed to implement the plan. The Europeans living with HIV are still not allowed to travel to the U.S. under the same conditions as other citizens of the EU. The U.S citizens on the other hand are free to travel to any EU member state regardless of their HIV status. As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama voiced his support for lifting the HIV ban. Does the Czech Presidency intend to remind President Obama about this open issue during his forthcoming visit to Prague? 2. The European Parliament resolution of 20 November 2008 called on the Council and the Commission to formulate a strategy on HIV to promote early diagnosis, called on the Member States to enact provisions which effectively outlaw discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS and reduce of barriers to free and anonymous testing. What steps has the Czech Presidency taken to implement this resolution on the EU level and in the Czech Republic?
responded to, 13. 3. 2009, 10:02
For me, the most important thing is that despite opposition from certain old Member States the US visa waiver programme has been extended to the Czech Republic. I don’t think that anybody is discriminated against vis-à-vis the USA since this rule holds true for all. As for us, we respect the rules set by the US Administration for granting visa-free travel. There are only two options here – either the EU introduces the same rules reciprocally or this topic will be negotiated within the context of talks about a new visa regime for the EU. I believe that the new European Commission, that will be formed after the elections to the European Parliament, can take up this issue, raised by the EP, and start negotiating with the USA.

Discussion has ended.