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10. 9. 2019 18:52

Czech Republic to have its first Vice-President of the European Commission, Věra Jourová

The Czech Republic is to have its first Vice-President of the European Commission. The Commission’s new President, Ursula von der Leyen, introduced the 27 members of the European Commission on Tuesday 10 September. Czech Commissioner Věra Jourová, who was nominated by Andrej Babiš’s government, will be the Vice-President and the Commissioner overseeing the protecting of European values and adherence to the principles of democracy. Her portfolio will also include cutting bureaucracy, the fight against disinformation and oversight of the independence of the media.

The nomination of Věra Jourová, who served in the previous term of the European Commission, was approved by Andrej Babiš’s government on Monday 26 August 2019. This is the first time the Czech Republic has nominated the same commissioner again, and Věra Jourová was the first woman the Czech Republic nominated to the European Commission. During the last five years she has been responsible for justice, consumer protection and gender equality.

“For the Czech Republic it is great success that for the first time ever it has secured the key post of Vice-President of the European Commission, a senior position in the European executive. It is a great honour for our country, and in conjunction with the portfolio that has been assigned it reflects the trust President von der Leyen has in our country. It was my priority to secure such a senior post for the Czech Republic. It also confirms that Věra Jourová has done excellent work in the European Commission over the last five years, and I am proud that she can continue to represent the Czech Republic,” Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said.

According to the Prime Minister it is very important that thanks to Věra Jourová the Central Europe region will be represented in a key body of the European Union. “As Vice-President, Věra Jourová will be working very closely with President Ursula von der Leyen and the other Vice-Presidents on the most important issues for Europe as a whole, and she will be able to influence a variety of matters, including economic ones. Thanks to having a Czech commissioner as one of the six Vice-Presidents, the new Commission will be better able to understand the problems and perception of our region, whereas the Commission that is now ending had certain shortcomings in this respect,” the Prime Minister said.

“I myself have done a lot of work on this. Our alliance with the V4 countries has proved to be very important and very strong, and we’ve confirmed that we were right to put our hope in Ursula von der Leyen, who has kept her word. Very shortly after she was appointed to be the new President she received me as only the third prime minister, and I suggested we be given this very powerful portfolio. In consequence the Czech Republic will now have much more influence in Brussels. I’m also pleased that the European Commission will have two Vice-Presidents from the V4 countries, Věra Jourová and Maroš Šefčovič. This is the first tangible success for our presidency,” Prime Minister Babiš said.

According to Milena Hrdinková, State Secretary for European Affairs, the awarding of the portfolio for supervising compliance with the values of democracy and civil rights that are the foundation of the EU is a great honour and distinction for the Czech Republic. “For me it is a recognition that the Czech Republic and before it Czechoslovakia has a strong tradition in democracy and human rights that began with Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, and Věra Jourová can draw on this. A recognition that in 1989 we fought to regain democracy, and that it is exceptionally valuable for us, as we know what it means to lose it,” Milena Hrdinková said.

“The portfolio entrusted to Věra Jourová also has a very concrete scope. In protecting democracy, she will be tackling problems facing our countries such as election manipulation, inciting violence over the internet and cyberbullying. She will also oversee the independence of the media and will work for a transparent and more efficient legislative process for the EU. These are issues that affect our lives, our children’s lives and ultimately the future of Europe and European civilisation,” Milena Hrdinková added.

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