Speeches

10. 11. 2015 16:19

Premier's Comments on British EU Reform Proposals

British Premier David Cameron introduced today his long-awaited vision of EU reform in connection with the planned referendum on the United Kingdom's continuation of membership in the European Union. During his speech, Cameron confirmed four basic issues that have been the subject of a lengthy debate – free movement of persons, sovereignty of Member States, fairness, and competitiveness. These four fundamental areas will continue to be the subject of extensive and detailed discussions both at the EU level and in talks among individual Member States. The first debate involving the entire European Union will take place during the December session of the European Council.
 
In my view, the most important and also the most problematic aspect of the British initiative is the free movement of persons. Efforts made by the United Kingdom in that regard are aimed at preventing the misuse of social systems by curbing the free movement of persons, workers in particular. For the Czech Republic, however, any intrusion into the free movement principle is a very serious problem. The right to live and work anywhere in the EU is of fundamental nature for us in view of our historical experience. The majority of Czech citizens regard free movement as the principal benefit of EU membership, and it is unimaginable that we would relinquish the advantages this freedom represents.
 
As regards sovereignty and fairness in the sense of a balanced relationship between Euro area members and non-members, the Czech Republic's standpoint will mainly depend on specific proposals. The Czech government is prepared to support those proposals that lead to greater transparency, better communication between Euro area member and non-members, and deeper economic cooperation among all 28 EU members.
 
Competitiveness is a key topic for the Czech Republic, as it is for the United Kingdom. We understand the need to promote the growth of the European economy, and we are prepared to support proposals aimed at deepening the economic and monetary union and improving regulatory mechanisms.
 
Bohuslav Sobotka, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic

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