Press Advisories

21. 5. 2018 20:13

Premier Babiš in Helsinki: We have good relations and we are close partners at the European level

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš met with Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, 21 May 2018.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš met with Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, 21 May 2018.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš paid a working visit to the Republic of Finland on 20-21 May 2018.

With Finland's Premier Juha Sipilä Prime Minister Andrej Babiš discussed migration, the next budget of the European Union, education, cooperation in trade and countering hybrid threats. During his visit he also met Czech compatriots and representatives of Czech firms active in Finland, he opened the Czech-Finnish economic round table and visited a primary school in Vantaa and Aalto University in Espoo.

The key point of the two-day visit was a meeting between the prime ministers of the Czech Republic and the Republic of Finland, Andrej Babiš and Juha Sipilä. They discussed mainly the current European issues such as the form of the next EU budget, Brexit, migration and the asylum system reform.

"We have good relations with Finland and we are close partners at the European level. We discussed a number of topics with Premier Sipilä. We spoke mainly about migration and the reform of the asylum system. We want the system to be strong and resilient to potential future crises. Our joint goal is to help those in need and to secure well the external borders of the Union. We must concentrate on joint solutions and not on what divides Europe, as it was in the case of the quotas," said Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.

An important theme of the meeting was the form of the next European Union budget. For the Czech Republic, it is essential that the Member States have the opportunity to decide about the direction of funding and about investment priorities. The premiers also spoke about the development of economic and trade relations and the cooperation of Visegrad Group countries with the Scandinavian countries.

Czech Premier Babiš discussed with his counterpart Sipilä also the Finnish education system which achieves excellent results and is able to respond very quickly to economic and social needs thanks to a good interconnection with the business sector. Another topic of the meeting was cooperation in security, mainly in countering hybrid threats. During the visit, the Czech Ambassador in Finland, Ivan Jukl, and Director of the European Centre of Excellence, Matti Saarelainen, signed a memorandum of accession of the Czech Republic to the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats, based on which the security experts of both countries will cooperate and exchange information.

In Helsinki, Prime Minister Babiš also met with Foreign Minister Timo Juhani Soini and with representatives of the compatriot community, whom he thanked for their activity enhancing the awareness of the Czech Republic abroad. As part of his agenda, he and the Finnish premier opened the Czech-Finnish round table focused on enhancing economic cooperation while making use of the new trends in economy. The aim of the event was to identify new opportunities for cooperation in transport, energy, healthcare and sustainable circular economy.

The working trip included a visit to Aalto University in Espoo where Premier Babiš spoke with representatives of the Ministry of Education, of research, universities and entrepreneurs about the success of their education system. At the end of the day, he visited a primary school in Vantaa.

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