14. 10. 2011 18:02
Prime Minister Petr Nečas: Support of the less developed countries of the EU is the way to competitiveness
The Czech Republic, currently the presiding country of the Visegrad quartet, hosted a Summit in Prague on Firday 14th October, which was attended by the Prime Ministers Viktor Orban of Hungary and Donald Tusk of Poland. The Slovakian Republic was represented by its ambassador in Czech Republic Peter Braňo. The Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas welcomed them at the meeting in the seat of the Czech Senate.
The V4 countries are connected by a common cohesion policy
“We strive for as strong cooperation within the Visegrad Group as possible. That which connects us the most is the cohesion policy. We want a strong and effective cohesion policy, which would above all support the competitiveness of Europe and the EU in the global competition, but which would still remain in its main aim a tool, which will contribute to the support of the less developed countries and regions and at the same time contribute in this way to better competitiveness,” stated the Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas after the meeting.
The Prime Ministers of the Visegrad Group countries discussed the possibilities of a united representation at the EU during the discussions about the next Multiannual Financial Framework for the period 2014-2020, which the Czech Prime Minister described as a key issue. The focal point of these discussions was the future of the EU cohesion policy.
The cohesion policy also forms the base of the presidency declaration of the Czech Republic, which is the presiding country of the Visegrad Group since this June. “This declaration sums our common interests in this field and in the coming weeks we will develop our common position even further,” added the Czech Prime Minister. The Czech government stresses the importance of improving the competitiveness of the European economy, particularly through completion of the European Domestic Market.
The conviction of Tymoshenko will influence the attitude towards Ukraine
The main point of the meeting was the new Multiannual Financial Framework for the period 2014-2020 and energy issues. The Prime Ministers also discussed the current situation in Western Balkans, the development of the Eastern Partnership and the situation in the Eurozone. The discussion also covered the upcoming meeting of the European Council in Brussels, which was rescheduled for Sunday 23rd October.
Within the discussions about the development in Eastern Europe the government leaders of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland have agreed on the support of the pro-western orientation of Ukraine. Together they also cast doubt on whether the human rights are observed in this country, particularly regarding Tuesday’s conviction of the former Ukrainian Prime Minister Julia Tymoshenko. Jointly they also regard the EU enlargement in the Western Balkans region as one of the priorities.
Interconnection of the power grid is a priority for the V4 countries
The Prime Ministers of the Czech Republic, Poland Hungary also discussed current topics in energetics, particularly the development of the energetic infrastructure and interconnection of the power grids in the Central European region. “We focused mainly on the north-south connection,” said Prime Minister Nečas, adding that he and his counterparts also discussed the Nabucco pipeline.
Within the energetics field the Prime Ministers also discussed the energetic mix. Prime Minister Petr Nečasstressed the need for our countries to remain competitive in this regard. “All Visegrad Group countries have agreed that it is not right to abandon the nuclear program and that the nuclear energy should remain a part of the energetic mix,” stated the Czech Prime Minister.
The Czech Republic is not planning to enter the Eurozone yet
One of the important current topics, which were discussed at the Prague Summit, was the situation in the Eurozone. Prime Minister Petr Nečassaid at the press conference after the meeting of the Prime Ministers of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland that the Czech Republic is not planning to enter the Eurozone in the near future. “The Czech government under my leadership will not set a date for the adoption of the Euro,” said the Czech Prime Minister.
One of the reasons are theconvergence criteria necessary for the adoption of the common European currency, which the Czech Republic currently doesn’t meet. “The monetary union is gradually becoming also a transfer and debt union and it is now necessary to wait, where the Eurozone will go from here. We generally support such measures, which lead to a greater fiscal discipline and enforceability of rules, which regulate budgetary and fiscal discipline. On the other hand we don’t think that the escape to a deeper and deeper integration is the solution of current problems of the Eurozone,” he added as a second reason. The Czech Republic regards the stability of the Eurozone as highly important. Prime Minister Nečasalso pointed out that seventy percent of Czech exports go into countries that use the Euro.
According to its Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Hungary has a similar attitude as it also doesn’t meet the necessary convergence criteria. “The Hungarian economy is not strong enough to enter the Eurozone so we do not concern ourselves with this question,” said the Hungarian Prime Minister at the press conference. He also stressed that its member countries should regard in their decisions also the states that are not part of the monetary union. “We are against the division of EU into Eurozone countries and Union countries. These countries must be interconnected,” said Viktor Orban.
The Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk reiterated the clear intention of Poland to become one of the Eurozone member states. His country is still working on meeting the criteria. He also mentioned the responsibility of individual states to also observe these criteria after becoming members. “Europe should demand the fulfillment of the same criteria by all members. We would like to see the criteria fulfilled by all – the big, the small and the weak. All have to meet the Maastricht criteria so that the Eurozone remains as attractive as it was on the day of its creation,” stated the Polish Prime Minister.