Speeches

24. 3. 2015 21:02

Prime Minister Sobotka dines with EU ambassadors

V úterý 24. března 2015 se v pražském Eurostars Thalia Hotel setkal předseda vláda Bohuslav Sobotka s velvyslanci Evropské unie.
On Tuesday, 24 March 2015 at Prague's Eurostars Thalia Hotel, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka met with EU ambassadors.
On Tuesday, 24 March 2015 at Prague's Thalia Hotel, the prime minister had lunch with EU ambassadors. The event was attended by representatives of approximately thirty countries and the European Commission Representation in the Czech Republic. Prime Minister Sobotka described the Czech Republic's membership in the EU as crucial and said the Czech Republic wanted to remain an active partner for other countries. He added that the EU's functioning ensured Europe's security as well as its energy and economic stability.

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka's speech during the lunch with EU ambassadors

Ladies and Gentlemen, Your Excellencies,

I am very pleased to have the opportunity again to participate in this traditional lunch with ambassadors from EU member states. Please allow me to make a few remarks at the start of our meeting, and then of course I will be prepared to respond to your questions.

I am pleased that the new Czech government has managed to return the Czech Republic to stability and to return it to a pro-European orientation.  We are convinced that a functioning and united European Union guarantees Europe's security, energy and economic stability. I am also pleased that this activity of the government has a positive effect on Czech public opinion, because in our country support for EU membership has risen sharply.

As the prime minister, I have made an effort to increase contacts, both with other member states and with the highest representatives of the EU, and naturally we have been making an effort to get involved in all discussions regarding the further continuation of European integration. At the last meeting of the European Council, we supported the creation of an Energy Union, and I am pleased that this project has strong support in Europe. We consider the creation of an Energy Union to be so important, that we would like to make it one of the priorities of the Czech presidency of the Visegrad Four, which will begin this July. We continue to regard the Visegrad Group as a priority form of regional cooperation, in which the Czech Republic would like to participate very actively in the future as well.

As far as other steps within the EU are concerned, eliminating the obstacles to the functioning of the internal market are very important for us too. We want to support all measures that will lead to economic growth and reduce unemployment. Pro-growth measures are key for us in combination with targeted structural reforms and building of European transport, energy and digital infrastructure. As far as challenges related to security are concerned, I welcomed the conclusions by the European Council, which has connected sanctions against Russia with fulfilment of the Minsk agreements. Therefore, I predict that the sanctions against Russia will be extended by the EU in the coming months until the end of this year, since the implementation of the Minsk agreements is a matter that relates to the entire current year.  I consider it of key importance for the European Union to continue having a united approach to the Ukrainian crisis in the future.

Ladies and Gentlemen, now I would like to summarise the challenges, which I believe await us in Europe. It is undoubtedly important for us not to allow worsening of the political, economic and security situation, not to allow the rise of extremist and anti-system forces in the EU and not to allow the collapse of the Eurozone. It is important for us to increase our countries' energy self-sufficiency and to continue with the integration of the EU, so that the EU can be a strong and trustworthy partner. I also believe that it is important for the negotiations regarding the agreement on free trade between Europe and the United States to be completed before the end of this year. Naturally, other important challenges are the fight against terrorism and further boosting of security.

I expect the Czech Republic to remain an active and visible member of the EU and that it will actively participate in finding solutions to these challenges. In conclusion, I would like to thank you for your cooperation in the past fourteen months, and i am looking forward naturally both to strengthening of our relations and our cooperation within the EU. Thank you.

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