Press Conferences

3. 1. 2007 16:08

Press conference after the meeting of the government on Wednesday 3rd January 2007

Martin Schmarcz, head of the press unit of the Office of the Government: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference after the meeting of the government of the CR. I also welcome to the press conference Mrs. Milena Vicenová, the Minister of Agriculture, and Mr. Petr Kalaš, the Minister of Environment. In association with this, I apologize ministers, including the Prime Minister, who are members of the ODS, because they must attend the meeting of the group of deputies. Thus, you can see how it is advantageous to have non-party ministers in a government. Now, I would ask for an introductory speech and to be polite I would start with a lady, the Minister of Agriculture, Mrs. Milena Vicenová.

Milena Vicenová, Minister of Agriculture: Good afternoon, thank you for the floor. I would like to put emphasize on the issue, which is under the control of the Ministry of Agriculture and it is the issue, which concerns food security. As early as two years ago, the government approved this document: the Strategy of Ensuring Food Security in the CR after accession to the EU. Now, after two years of its applicability, we reverted to this document, we checked whether all tasks have been fulfilled and all of us realize, how it is important, in the EU after enlargement by two more countries, how it is very important in the EU, which has 480 million inhabitants, to enable free movement of goods and also such an important commodity like food. And just now it is not about manufacturing perfect, high-quality and safe food, but it is about informing consumers on it using permanent, purposeful, systematic work based on science results. And just this attitude, in the course of meeting this objective, is the subject of this strategy. And I am very pleased that the government noted the significance of food security and that it approved the document.

Martin Schmarcz, head of the press unit of the Office of the Government: I thank the Minister and now the Minister Kalaš will give his introductory speech.

Petr Kalaš, Minister of Environment: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. The point of the agenda of today's meeting, about which I would like to inform you, concerns the environmental tax reform. This point was one of points of programme declaration of the existing government and my office – the Ministry of Environment – presented at today's meeting principles and the time schedule of implementation of this environmental tax reform. The principle of the environmental tax reform consists in its tax neutrality, as the tax burden of various sorts of energy, according to their impacts on environment, will serve as measure for decrease of labour costs, which means it will become a contribution to the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs because of decrease of workers burden. Today's meeting noted the concept submitted, which will consist of three stages. The first stage will be a transposition of the European directive and concrete impact of this transposition will be prepared by 31st March of this year. By the end of this year, the detailed concept and proposal for legislative measures for the second stage will be prepared, in which differentiated attitudes to various energies burden with regard to the respective energy impact on the environment will be included. And access to the third stage, which will be rather middle-term one, will be opened, to the stage and it will concern not only further increasing of energy impacts, but also increasing of other burden in the environmental sphere. It was agreed that the new government, which has this issue in its draft of programme declaration, will continue in debate on this concept. Thank you.

Martin Schmarcz, head of the press unit of the Office of the Government: I thank Minister Kalaš and now, ladies and gentlemen, there is time for your questions.

Jiří Novotný, Právo daily: I would just like to ask the minister; could say what are successes and failures are from the point of view of the material debated?

Milena Vicenová, Minister of Agriculture: I am pleased to can state that all the principal tasks that were included in the material two years ago have been fulfilled. Our four existing scientific committees for food security are working, the fifth committee has been established, which will deal with issues of genetically modified organisms and their share in food. And cooperation of all the ministries involved is good. The Czech Republic is also preparing for meeting of the whole complex of hygienic rules, so called hygienic package, and an emphasis is put to the fact that it is always the respective producer, who is responsible for security of food. Detailed analysis of risks is necessary, and controls will be concentrated in particular on the high-risk areas. Our objective is to prepare also basic conditions for unification of the role of supervisory organs and for utmost usage of existing laboratories and existing control organs.

Martin Schmarcz, head of the press unit of the Office of the Government: Are there any further questions? The CTK.

Alice Blažková, ČTK: Good afternoon. I would like to know whether somebody from the government could answer my question if the government approved the participation of the CR at the world exhibition EXPO 2010. And the government was also to debate the issue concerning the Czech presidency in the EU, its personal and financial provisions. Do you have any detail regarding this?

Milena Vicenová, Minister of Agriculture: With pleasure. I can confirm that the government has approved both points. The government regards participation at the EXPO as very important; the document has been approved in the wording submitted. Similarly, the system of preparation of the presidency of the CR has been thoroughly debated. Also in this case the document has been approved in its entirety.

Martin Schmarcz, head of the press unit of the Office of the Government: Further question, please.

Pavla Renčínová, ČT: I would like to ask whether the government dealt with those conclusions of the NKU (Supreme Audit Office) and what its conclusions were like.

Petr Kalaš, Minister of Environment: Yes, the government debated all documents submitted and the respective ministries adopted proposals of the NKU and following mutual agreement measures have been taken, which will lead to rectification of those findings of the NKU.

Martin Schmarcz, head of the press unit of the Office of the Government: Further question, please.

Ondřej Černý, Český rozhlas: I am concretely interested in the conclusion that concerns the Ministry of Transport; money, which was spent for passenger services of the Czech Railway in years 2004 – 2006. What concrete measures the Ministry of Transport is going to take?

Milena Vicenová, Minister of Agriculture: It is a really concrete question for the Minister of Transport, I am afraid and I can recommend you to ask him.

Ondřej Černý, Český rozhlas: So, has Mr. Schmarcz no information?

Martin Schmarcz, head of the press unit of the Office of the Government: Regarding information that concerns concrete issues, which ministers present in person are not able to answer, ask always the respective press units of the relevant ministries. Are there any further questions, please? If it is not so, with regard to the fact that it was probably the last press conference of this government, I thank ministers and I also thank you and I am looking forward to see you after the meeting of the next government.

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