Press Advisories

8. 2. 2019 16:08

Prime Minister discussed Brexit and the internal market with Commissioner Vestager

Prime Minister discussed Brexit and the internal market with Commissioner Vestager, 8 February 2019
Prime Minister discussed Brexit and the internal market with Commissioner Vestager, 8 February 2019
On Friday, 8 February 2019, at Straka Academy, Prime Minister Babiš received Margret Vestager, European Commissioner for Competitiveness. The meeting was also attended by Minister of Industry and Trade Marta Nováková and State Secretary for the EU Milena Hrdinková.

The Prime Minister and the European Commissioner discussed the current Brexit developments. In particular, they agreed that after Brexit the importance of the EU internal market will increase and the internal market will need to be strengthened both in the classical and in digital terms. Andrej Babiš and Margrethe Vestager agreed that it is in the interest of the Member States that Brexit take place on the basis of a mutual agreement with the UK. Depending on the outcome of the negotiations, it is also necessary to remove the barriers that prevent Europe from strengthening its competitiveness.

They also talked about the general regulation of State aid postponed to 2022. There were four sub-issues in total, namely the so-called “small on small” and “big on big” principles, which regulate possible sanctions depending on the size of the entity. The second sub-issue was the change to the State aid rules under the Multi-Annual Financial Framework. It aims to modify the co-financing of ESI funds by Member States. Under the new rules, EU funds would not be provided through national budgets, but directly from the relevant budget chapter of the European Commission. Another sub-issue concerned the analysis of the suitability of existing regulations. The last State aid issue was internationalization. The aim is to harmonize and apply the public framework of EU support so that EU entities are not at a disadvantage compared to global competition.

Another topic of the meeting was the sale of ArcelorMittal Ostrava. The Prime Minister and the European Commissioner talked about the sale of the metallurgical plant to Liberty House. Already in June 2018 in a letter to European Commission President Juncker and Commissioner Vestager, the Prime Minister stressed out the importance of maintaining production and employment in connection with the sale of the plant. Andrej Babiš also sent Margrethe Vestager the most serious problems concerning the sale of the company to Liberty House. Specifically, these include the absence of an investment plan and the planned emission allowance transactions. The sale has also been opposed by the Unions.

Support for broadband Internet access in the Czech Republic was another topic of discussion. They talked about promoting next generation access (NGA) in white areas. The Czech Republic is currently planning to declare the 2nd call for the building of NGA networks. This concerns sparsely populated territory, covering about 10% of the Czech Republic. At the same time, an action plan was prepared to allow the provision of soft loans to entrepreneurs building NGA networks, the provision of vouchers for connection to high-speed Internet services, and the creation of digital technical maps focused on line infrastructure. It should facilitate the planning and construction of communication networks.

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