Press Advisories

4. 7. 2017 22:32

V4 Prime Ministers discussed the EU future and further migration policy steps

Family photo of V4 Prime Ministers, 4 July 2017.
Family photo of V4 Prime Ministers, 4 July 2017.
On Tuesday, 4 July 2017, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka took part in a summit of Visegrad Group Prime Ministers. The topics included current European issues in the light of June’s European Council, the revision of the Posting of Workers Directive and the proposal for the European Pillar of Social Rights. Prime Minister Sobotka also met Mr Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, who is a guest of the second part of the summit.

At today’s meeting, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán followed up on the previous Visegrad Group summit, held in Warsaw. In addition, they evaluated the results of the last European Council, with an emphasis placed on the discussion of the EU’s future direction and on specific proposals in respect of the revision of the Posting of Workers Directive and the European Pillar of Social Rights. The Prime Ministers of V4 countries also continued to coordinate their positions on the procedure launched by the European Commission against the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary in relation to the implementation of relocation decisions.

Regarding the posting of workers, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka stated that it was crucial to build upon the results of the meeting of V4 Prime Ministers with the Prime Ministers of the Benelux and the President of France. It remains crucial for the Czech Republic to ensure that the legislation on the posting of workers does not threaten the competitiveness of Czech businesses and allows for simple and non-discriminatory freedom to provide services.

As concerns the joint declaration of EU institutions on the European Pillar of Social Rights, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said that the Czech Republic had welcomed the issuance of the proposal for the European Pillar of Social Rights, and if carried out properly, the initiative might lead to an improvement of the social situation in V4 countries and an improvement in the functioning of the EU Single Market. Afterwards, he named the setting of wages, the organisation and financing of healthcare and of pension policy as the most sensitive areas.

Discussion with the President of Egypt

In the margins of the summit, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka exchanged views with Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, President of Egypt and a guest of the second part of the summit. The topics of their discussion included the economic cooperation between the Czech Republic and Egypt, the cooperation on security and in the defence industry, as well as human rights in Egypt.

The Export Strategy of the Czech Republic for 2012–2020 lists Egypt among the so-called countries of interest; in addition, one of the three African CzechTrade foreign offices operates in that country. Egypt is one of the Czech Republic’s most important partners in both the Arab region and Africa, with the trade exchange between the two countries ranging between $400 million and $500 million. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka believes that there is still great latitude for the trade cooperation to grow, and named the energy sector, agricultural production, waste management and water management as the priorities.

Prime Minister Sobotka also assured the President of Egypt, Mr Sisi, that the Czech Republic fully supported Egypt in its fight against terrorism. According to Prime Minister Sobotka, Egypt’s stability is crucial for the stability of the whole region, and Egypt needs strong partners in this effort. Therefore, the Czech Republic sent the necessary equipment, including pistols and military equipment, to the Egyptian Police and Army over the past years. Moreover, a CASA aircraft with a Czech unit operates in Sinai.

Last but not least, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and the President of Egypt discussed tourism, which is a very important part of the Czech-Egyptian relations. Egypt was visited by 120,000 Czechs last year alone.

Before the summit began, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka had also viewed the St. Stephen’s Basilica, the most important spiritual building in Hungary and the third tallest building in this country.

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