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15. 12. 2017 2:33

EU leaders discuss migration, European defence and education on the first day of the European Council

Family photo, 14 December 2017.
Family photo, 14 December 2017.
Premier Andrej Babiš began his first foreign trip to the European Council in Brussels by negotiating with other V4 leaders about a joint project to protect the Libyan border. Later he met with the President of the European Council Donald Tusk and in the afternoon he spoke at the European Council meeting on the topics of deepening of European defence and education. At a working dinner, the Czech premier emphasized priorities the Czech government will promote in the future architecture of EU migration policy.

After arriving in Brussels, the Czech premier met with the heads of the Hungarian, Polish and Slovak governments. The meeting was also attended by Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker. Premiers of the Visegrad Group agreed on a joint migration project lead by Italy. V4 will send 35 million EUR will to the Trust Funds for Africa. The final amount, to which each V4 country, including the Czech Republic, will contribute 8.8 million EUR, will be used to strengthen the protection of the Libyan border and prevention of illegal migration.

Premier Babiš also met with the President of the European Council Donald Tusk. Tusk congratulated Babiš on being appointed the Prime Minister, and they discussed the topics of the summit. In the afternoon, the Czech premier participated in the first part of meeting of heads of states and governments of the Member States. EU leaders discussed deepening of European defence and launched the Permanent Structured Cooperation in defence (PESCO). “Czechia is ready to actively participate in PESCO. Strengthening of defence and security is one of the cornerstones of EU's future,“ the Czech premier said after the meeting. The European Council also adopted concise conclusions on social issues, education and culture.

At a working dinner, European statesmen dealt with migration. Andrej Babiš emphasized the importance of the EU abandoning the issue of quotas and focusing on the causes of migration. He reiterated to his European colleagues that the only efficient solution to the migration crisis was protection of external borders and help in the countries of origin of migration. The Czech Republic will thus continue its activities in third countries and in combat against smugglers.

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