Press Advisories

23. 2. 2018 22:32

The Czech Prime Minister talked to European leaders about the EU budget and election of a new Chairman of the European Commission

Meeting of the European Council, 23 February, 2018. Source: European Council.
Meeting of the European Council, 23 February, 2018. Source: European Council.
On Friday, 23rd February, the Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš took part in an informal meeting of the European Council in Brussels. He met with other Europe´s leaders to discuss a method of election of a new Chairman of the European Commission or reduction of the number of members of the European Parliament after Brexit. At the summit in Brussels the Czech Prime Minister also met with the French President Emmanuel Macron and the Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

At the beginning of the today´s meeting European politicians discussed a method to elect the next head of the European Commission. The election is scheduled for next year following the elections to the European Parliament. The Czech Prime Minister has emphasized that Europe needs an impartial and non-political Commission. This is in conflict with the so-called Spitzenkadidaten system, which means that the candidates are nominated by individual groups of the European Parliament. That is why the Czech Republic and most Member States support a proposal that the candidate for the Chairman of the Commission should be nominated by Presidents and Prime Ministers of the Member States. In discussions about an institutional reform the EU leaders have also agreed that the number of members of the European Parliament should be reduced. After the United Kingdom leaves EU the total number of the Parliament members should be 705.

Another topic of the informal meeting was the EU budget after 2020. Its first draft will be submitted by the European Commission this year in May. Nevertheless, negotiations about the budget may take a few years and during that period of time EU will have to cope with the departure of UK. The Czech Prime Minister has today supported a proposal that the next budget should focus on financing of new key priorities, such as migration and security. “The priority for us is to maintain sufficient financing of the cohesion policy and equal conditions for enterprises in the agricultural policy. We must have the opportunity to decide ourselves how to spend the European money in the Czech Republic and not to be bound in advance by previously specified strict and rigid rules,“ said the Prime Minister after the meeting.

Before the meeting of the European Council the Czech Prime Minister also attended the International High-Level Conference on the Sahel where he presented a financial contribution of 1 million euro approved this week by his  government in support of security in the region through development of G5 Sahel Joint Force. In the course of 2018 the Czech Republic will provide additional 3 million euro to the Sahel region  to support  development and humanitarian projects.

At the  informal meeting  Andrej Babiš also  took  the opportunity to  meet with the French President Emmanuel Macron and with the Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. He discussed with them topical issues,  such as a  reform of the European asylum system and efficient solutions to prevent migration outside Europe.

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