Press Conferences

14. 5. 2008 13:27

Press Conference after the Meeting of the Government, Held on Wednesday 14th May 2008

Jakub Stadler, moderator: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference after the meeting of the government. I welcome ministers and I ask the 1st Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Regional Development for his introductory speech.
Jiří Čunek, 1st Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Regional Development: Good afternoon everybody. The government held its meeting today without the Prime Minister who is on the working visit in South America, if I am not mistaken. Nevertheless, a standard debate on the individual bills was on the agenda today. We dealt with a bill of the environment protection sphere, I mean the Bill amending the Act of Air Protection. Furthermore, we postponed the effect of the Service Act. We were debating matters which were to support sport, in particular from the moral point of view; the government approved that laboratories would be established for anti-doping tests. This task will be especially for the Ministry of Education. Furthermore, we debated bills submitted by the Minister Langer; I will not comment them, minister will comment them himself. One of issues which were on the agenda was the approval of the IOP – implementation of Integrated Operational Programmes; it concerned in particular the technical assistance which meant allocation of about 45 million euros for the individual ministries, principally the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, and of course also the Ministry for Regional Development. That money should ensure smooth process of the individual operational programmes. Further matters were in the competence of my colleague Říman; I will not talk about them either. You can ask questions on remaining issues, now I give the floor to Mr. Minister Langer.
Ivan Langer, Minister of Interior: Good afternoon. I would mention three bills which had connection with today's meeting of the government. The first one concerned the Act on Civil Service Employees and their Remuneration. It is necessary to clear up the situation that concerns this bill. This act was approved by previous governments; not by the last one but by the last but one government. The act is valid but it is still in abeyance, its effect is postponed. The government approved further three-year postponement and its intention is to meet the Government Declaration in which there is stated that the government wants to have integrated law concerning employment of civil servants on the central, regional and municipal level. In other words, the Ministry of Interior has a task to prepare in this election period a single legal norm instead of existing two laws. The postponement of the effect is proposed because of this reason. I noticed certain response of my opposition colleagues in the Chamber of Deputies and I should say that, much to my regret, it is just the continuation of the policy of obstruction, destruction and negation, because they were just the same governments which are in the Chamber of Deputies now, and which submitted themselves postponement of the effect and now their stand to this is negative. They refuse their share in this issue; I am very sorry about it and I do not think it is a responsible attitude. That was the first point. As to the second one, the government approved a very important document from my point of view, which concerned implementation of about 120 projects in the framework of the integrated operational programme - part Smart Administration. It is a unique document, as we managed to interconnect interests, projects, and priorities of the individual ministries and to create an integral block of about 120 projects of modernization of the Czech public administration. Nearly 10 billion crowns are allocated to its implementation. We regard it as a great opportunity for the Czech public administration. It is a great opportunity for users of services of the public administration, I mean citizens. The strong point of this material is the attitude which guarantees interconnection, integrity and synergy of thee projects, reduction of duplicities or the ministerial attitude. Well, 120 billion crowns were allocated for the modernization of the Czech public administratio

The third point, which I would like to mention, concerned a unique document from my point of view, which has not been debated by the government and which responded to a serious phenomenon of our society – thefts of cars. The Czech Republic belongs among countries of the EU in which the situation is the worst. The highest number of stolen cars, low detection rate is a matter which cannot be ignored. Therefore this document was worked out and approved by the government. It concerned car thefts. I would like to emphasize that this phenomenon is really very serious as car thefts form about one quarter of the total number of crimes in the Czech Republic and 30% of crimes against property. Proposals for measures which we submitted are strong because they interconnect the individual ministries. We are aiming at the Police, this is one sphere, and at the tightening conditions for stolen car sale, or the sale of spare parts, and also at tightening of the control and registration of cars. From the point of view of the Police, we are preparing establishment of a specialized unit in the framework of the Unit for the Fight against Organized Crime. The unit will cover, coordinate and methodically control work of the individual teams. The second purpose is to create nation-wide information fund. The greatest problem of the Police in this sphere is non-sharing information; one unit does not know what the other units do. The third measure in this respect is electronization of the judicial proceedings, so that we would have a real chance to gain information concerning criminal activities in the entire Czech Republic in time. The second sphere, which concerns the competences of the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and the Ministry of Transport, has connection with tightening of conditions for sale of stolen cars and their parts. Based on the statistical research we have had made, about 80% of stolen cars in the Czech Republic is dismounted and sold as spare parts. About 20% of stolen cars are transported abroad. If we want to change something, if we want to change this situation, then it is necessary to tighten the existing conditions which enable to make tens of spare parts from a car wrack, so that to avoid sale of documents of wracks. It is necessary to introduce stricter duty of identification of such vehicles or spare parts. I think that just combination of this, I mean measures of the Police, measures tightening conditions for car sale, and measures concerning tightening of car registration are precondition for a real chance to change this situation. The last remark concerns not very optimistic fact regarding the registration of vehicles at so called state technical controls. In case the registrations are performed without control, 90% of vehicles are perfect. In case they are controlled, only 30% of vehicles are perfect. Also this fact indicates that there must be a large hole, which gives space to culprits of criminal activities. The last remark concerns the registration of vehicles. I can say that since 7th May the application of the registration of vehicles in case of inquiries to the Schengen Information System is fully functional. The new application brings new functions which make the system more comfortable for its users, and it is more secure for users as it introduces registration of import signs; it is very important for comparison in case of a car stolen abroad. I emphasise that two thirds of newly registered cars have their origin abroad, in other words this new function is for the benefit of owners of such cars in case of theft and it also make search for stolen cars easier. I apologize for that perhaps too detailed information and thank you for your attention.
Jakub Stadler, moderator: That was information of the Minister of Interior, Ivan Langer and now I ask the Minister of Industry and Trade for a few words.

Martin Říman, Minister of Industry and Trade: Good afternoon, I will inform you on a material which has been approved today – the Draft Material Intention of the Act on Free Movement of Services. It is rather complicated legal norm by means of which a European Directive on services will be transposed to the Czech law; it will come into force on 1st January 2010. It is a significant change and through this norm one of four basic freedoms, the European Community is based on, will be filled – it means free movements of services and their provision. It is a freedom which is interpreted differently in the member countries of the EU. Various obstacles are put to third European countries or other countries of the EU. This directive is really much more liberal in this respect and it introduces standards and simplified procedures for those who want to provide services in the territory of another member country of the EU. It will also have a positive impact on the business activities themselves, on providing services in member countries and in the Czech Republic, as it introduces certain procedures which will not concern only provision of services in the respective country. This act will mean a change in 41 existing laws which are valid in the territory of the Czech Republic, as it concerns, with certain exceptions - as for example financial services, notary services and some other services - the entire portfolio of services, whether they are governed by the Trade Act or other legal norms. Crucial pillars the directive is based on are those which remove discriminatory behaviour in the individual member countries, such as discrimination concerning age, limitation of licence validity; it also introduces the right for legal entitlement for a permit, which is not a rule even in case of some of our services. It means that you may fulfil all duties and a permit may not be granted. The second pillar is so called a silent consent principle, which means that if you settle a matter, for example permit for a business activities, you submit all the necessary documents, then after expiration of certain term the permit is deemed to be granted, and you can start to carry out your activities. It is a clause which forces authorities to meet deadlines. The third significant pillar is so called principle of temporary or occasionally provision of services in another country. It concerns cases when an entrepreneur has a single contract in a different country than in the home country and he/she may carry out the contract based on a permit of the home country and he/she need not ask for a permit in another country. Typical example is France which requires passing an examination of French in case a Czech guide wanted to provide guide services in France also in case that it would be a Czech guide who would guide Czech groups of tourist. It would be logical if a guide wanted to provide permanently such services in France, but in case of a single journey on the occasion of a coach tour, such a restriction is nonsensical, of course. This directive will make such practices impossible. We place great hope in this directive; it should mean 20000 new jobs and an increase of the GDP by 1%, according to the estimate of the consultancy firm KPMG.
Jakub Stadler, moderator: I thank the Minister Říman and now there is time for your questions - I emphasize that only question concerning the agenda of the meeting of the government.
Zdena Plchová, Czech TV: I would like to ask Minister Langer – can you say something about the Service Act. You said that you were preparing or you would be preparing a new law. What will be it be like and what will be transposed from the existing law?

Ivan Langer, Minister of Interior: If this bill comes into effect, we would have two laws on employees of the state. Our intention is to have the only one law, which would stipulate conditions in broader sense, on central, regional and municipal level. This is the main precondition – not to have two laws but only one. Concurrently, we want higher flexibility from the point of view of working relationships. In other words, we do not refuse establishing of positions of managers of public administration. We want to have a chance for better remuneration in case of high-quality work. I mean more flexible and modern bill or a law that that which is de facto of the last century and which lies somewhere in the Collection of Laws and which has not come into force so far. Time has proceeded and the word "official" is not a vulgarism any longer, and we should have a modern norm which would be able to distinguish those who work well and those who work badly. The material intention is being prepared by the Ministry of Interior and it is the Deputy Minister of Interior Mr. Zdeněk Zajíček who manages this matter. He could say more about it.

Keblůšek, TV Nova: I would have a question to Minister Langer regarding those wracks or regarding those cars. What will be changed in case of scrapyards? What will they do and how the state technical controls will be changed?
Ivan Langer, Minister of Interior: There will be a duty to identify a vehicle and its important parts, and in case they are separated, their re-use will not be possible. Without a certificate of the origin it will not be possible to buy it or even to sell it. Evidentiary control of those identification characteristic features will be introduced and the Police will have right to enter the scrapyards, which is not possible now. We also want to introduce an on-line system in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment; there will be clearly stipulated that part of a wrack will not be allowed to be sold. The crucial duty is the duty of identification. One will not be allowed to buy something without the identification of the origin. Also a duty to register such identification will be introduced; I think it is a crucial matter.
Šťastný, Czech News Agency: I have a question concerning the same issue. The government noted this point. Does it mean that it approved these measures which you planned?
Ivan Langer, Minister of Interior: Yes, you understand it well. It noted formally, but it means that it approved it. This government decided to declare war on car thieves and I think that it is a high quality tool how to be successful in this fight.
Jakub Stadler, moderator: Are there any further questions?
Jiří Čunek, 1st Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Regional Development: I would like to add something to my introductory speech. The material submitted by the Ministry of Education concerning doping, was suspended. I did not mention that, therefore I inform you on it now. It was suspended especially because of certain initial costs amounted to 16 million crowns and also costs connected with operation of the laboratory which will amount to 8 million crowns annually. The government suspended this item after a long discussion as certain matters would have to be specified, in particular those legislative ones. The question was whether the laboratory could be private. It means that anybody who wanted to run such a laboratory would be able to do so. But because anti-doping tests for the Nordic Ski World Championship held in Liberec will be made in Cologne on Rhine, it could result in funding a reference laboratory which would not have anything to do. Therefore this material will be amended in particular with regard to economies and to the Czech law system.
Jakub Stadler, moderator: That was additional information and now Minister Langer wants to add something.
Ivan Langer, Minister of Interior: The last comment – summary of concrete tasks, their definitions and the time schedule are in the annex to the material. There you can find comprehensive information on what is proposed, including the respective deadlines.
Jakub Stadler, moderator: If you do not have any questions ... one more question, please.
Martin Petříček, Czech News Agency: Also the Analysis of Possibilities of Integrating the Nuclear Fuel facilities into the State Material reserves was on the agenda of the meeting and the debate on this issue was suspended. Why was it suspended and what will be the next procedure?
Martin Říman, Minister of Industry and Trade: Like in case of any other issue which concerns money, there was a problem with the Ministry of Finance. With regard to the fact that the Minister of Finance was not present, the point was suspended. That was the only one reason.

Jakub Stadler, moderator: Well, the last question, please.
Petr Janůšek, Czech News Agency: I would like to ask about the point which concerned transporters Pandur.
Jiří Čunek, 1st Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Regional Development: You mean the point which was on the agenda in the part "To be considered without debate". Therefore, it was not debated. It would have been debated only in case of certain reservations of a ministry. Because there was not any, the material was approved in the submitted wording.
Jakub Stadler, moderator: Well, now really the last question, please.

Dostálová, Czech TV: I would like to ask what the stand of the government was to the proposal of the Minister of Education which concerned the system of Czech language teaching for aliens as one of the conditions for permanent residence.
Ivan Langer, Minister of Interior: I will answer with great pleasure. The project was prepared in the cooperation of the Ministry of Education with the Ministry of Interior and it is based on the new Act on Permanent Residence of Aliens, which stipulates the duty to pass the language examination and to show knowledge of Czech language for those citizens who have a permanent residence in the territory of the Czech Republic. The original ideas were quite different – several new specialized language institutions were considered to be established expenditure of which would be extremely high. Nevertheless, we agreed on a new model, which will result in establishment of accredited facilities. Aliens will have to pay for lessons in a volume of 140 hours and they will have a duty to pass the Czech language examination on the A1 level. We estimate the total costs to be 40-50 million crowns, because apart from payments of aliens the state will cover costs related to passing the examination. I regard this attitude as very far-sighted as it enables to learn from mistakes of our neighbour countries and to better integrate aliens in the Czech community. We also discussed whether to harmonize that condition also with Czech citizenship applicants; I mean that such an examination would be a condition for granting citizenship of the Czech Republic. But it should not concern the same extent of knowledge; it should not be the same examination.

Jiří Čunek, 1st Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Regional Development: I will just add one number. The first examination of an alien will be free of charge, as the Minister said. If an applicant does not pass it, the second examination will cost 1500 CZK; that was the first matter. The second matter – A1 examination means elementary knowledge of the Czech language on the level of simple sentences. That was just additional information. The integration is really possible for nearly any person, it is just necessary to be able to communicate a bit.

Jakub Stadler, moderator: Well, that is all; I thank all the members of the government. Have a nice day, good-bye.

print article   email   facebook   twitter