Press Advisories

12. 2. 2015 23:42

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka holds talks at an informal meeting of the European Council

Premiér Bohuslav Sobotka jednal na neformálním zasedání Evropské rady, 12. února 2015.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka held talks at an informal meeting of the European Council, 12 February 2015.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka headed the Czech delegation at the informal meeting of heads of state and government of EU Member States held on Thursday 12 February 2015 in Brussels. EU leaders discussed the recently concluded agreement on the ceasefire in Ukraine, adopted a joint declaration on the struggle against terrorism and debated the future of the economic and currency union.

The first item on the agenda of the heads of state and government of European Union Member States, who gathered at an informal summit in Brussels on Thursday, was an agreement to bring an end to the conflict in Ukraine. EU leaders applauded the truce personally negotiated by German Chancellor Merkel and French President Hollande. Nevertheless, caution prevailed in Brussels in assessments of whether this second agreement from Minsk could be successful. The leaders agreed that, for the time being, there was no reason to revise the European stance towards Russia, which is a co-signatory to the first agreements and to Minsk II. The EU now awaits the specific implementation of the agreements.

It is, at any rate, a positive step. It is definitely a flash of common sense in terms of what has started happening in the east of Ukraine again over the past few weeks, and it offers hope that the situation can be calmed and that the blood-shedding will be halted,” said the Czech prime minister.

Another item on the agenda was the fight against terrorism. The danger of terrorist attacks in Europe has reared its head again in the light of the tragic events in Paris in January 2015. “The threat of terrorism tests the firmness of the principles and policies pursued by the free world,” agreed the heads of the EU-28 who, in response to the Paris attacks, sent a clear signal that they would fight together against terrorism.

EU prime ministers and presidents today adopted a joint declaration showing the way forward in the fight against terrorism on the European continent. The aim is to make better use of existing EU instruments, to consolidate security-related cooperation among Member States, to draw on European institutions such as Eurojust and Europol, and to implement the existing rules of the Schengen area. The Czech Republic also endorses the accelerated adoption of European legislation on registers of passengers in air transport, an area in which the European Parliament has been at odds with Member States. At a meeting in Brussels, the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, pledged cooperation in the adoption of this directive.

The Czech Republic is a country which does not wish to see a return to borders between Member States. The freedom of movement of persons is an absolute priority for us. Therefore, we need to boost the control of the outer Schengen borders as a key measure in the fight against terrorism,” added Prime Minister Sobotka.

European Council members also discussed the future of the economic and monetary union. The new Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras expressed the hope, at the EU summit, that euro area countries would be able to find a solution to Greek debt that would be acceptable for everyone. The Czech Republic would like to see Greece remain in the euro area, but at the same time insists on observance of agreements made in the past.

While we need to respect the decision of the Greek electorate, which has every right to seek change, they cannot automatically expect that someone else will pay for this change for them,” said the Czech prime minister.

Another meeting of the heads of state and government of the EU is planned for March 2015, when Brussels will host a regular summit of the European Council.

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