Press Conferences

25. 10. 2006 11:18

Press conference of Prime Minister of the CR Mirek Topolánek after the meeting of the government on Wednesday 25th October 2006

Radim Ochvat, secretary of the Prime Minister: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, welcome at this late time to the Office of the Government after the meeting of the government. I give the first floor to the Prime Minister.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the CR: I greet you at this late hour. I will try to proceed rather in a chronological way than according to importance of points. Finally we approved the Bill amending the Act on Protection of Confidential Information in the wording it had been originally proposed, i.e. comprising the exception for five state representatives – the President, Chairman of both Chambers of the Parliament, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. By the end of March a complex amendment of the act should be prepared by the National Security Authority, which would solve the problem, regarding our relation to the confidential information of the NATO, in a more effective a system manner, in compliance with our objectives. Information on the Act on Public Health Care I leave to Tomáš Julínek. We approved today the Strategy Concerning the Fight against Corruption, including notification in case of corruption and including compulsion of citizens to inform on such corruption. Of course, there is a range of tasks for the respective ministers to develop the strategy and to prepare concrete bills. But such a strategy, according to our opinion, has been never submitted in such a complex manner and it will mean a significant tool in the fight against corruption in the CR. Apart from other matters, we were solving the scenario for introduction of Euro, I leave explanation to the Minister of Finance, and the public tender for state assets in the AERO Vodochody. Finally, we respected the decision of the previous government, we respected criteria and in compliance with those criteria, we agreed with the sale of state assets of the AERO Vodochody to the winner of the public tender, to the company of Oakfield. I have a feeling that the Minister of Health will inform you on the summary assessment of health insurance, or on the withdrawal, which was a problem in today's session of the Chamber of Deputies, on withdrawal of the Act on Non-Profit Hospitals. Regarding points that are worth mentioning and about which you should be informed, in spite of the fact that there were many of them, one of them is the evaluation of Maastricht convergence criteria, and I will leave this information on this point to the Minister of Finance again. We also debated the Report on Fulfilment of the National Lisbon Programme; we approved this report and we will submit it to the Chamber of Deputies. This is all, regarding the principal points, which the public might be interested in and I ask the Minister of Health to inform you on three materials of his ministry, that have been approved.

Tomáš Julínek, Minister of Health: Nice late evening. I would like, above all, to highlight the law, which has already been mentioned, the Bill amending Act no. 20 of 1966, i.e. the Act on Public Health Care; I submitted the amendment that concerns searching in the health documentation. The government adopted my proposal. It means that a proposal will be submitted to the Chamber of Deputies, and it will allow searching in the health documentation both to patients and to next of kin in case the patient dies and had allowed making copies and duplicates of the health documentation. It is a breakthrough in our system of the healthcare. As you may know, the proposal had been submitted in the past, but as nine amendments, which had no connection with it, were attached to this proposal, it was refused in the previous election period. I regarded as very important to submit it now, when the situation is favourable. As to other matter that has been mentioned, I mean the withdrawal of the Bill amending the Act on Non-Profit Healthcare Facilities, it is a logical step following the decision of the Constitutional Court, which had repealed the respective section from the law. Annual reports of healthcare insurance companies were noted by the government and they will be submitted to the Chamber of Deputies. Just brief information – they document very non-standard procedures in public healthcare insurance and in healthcare insurance financial management, but it concerns reports of 2005.

Radim Ochvat, secretary of the Prime Minister: Thank you. I ask the Minister of Finance, Vlastimil Tlustý for a few words.

Vlastimil Tlustý, Minister of Finance: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Regarding topics that had been mentioning by the Prime Minister – the government approved results of the public tender for state assets in the AERO Vodochody. It was a public tender, which, as you know, the previous government had started and the government approved the sale to the winner of this public tender, who had offered the highest price – 2,91 billion crowns. That was information concerning the first point. As to the issue of Euro, the government approved today one of three scenarios for introduction of Euro in the CR. The government has chosen the variant of one-shot complex introduction of Euro; it means the introduction in one step, where introduction is not staggered into more connecting steps. Part of the resolution is that the government notes, by adoption of this scenario for introduction of Euro in the CR, that the date of introduction in the CR is not determined. In other point that was debated by the government today is stated that the existing state of public finances of the CR and its prospect, do not enable the CR to enter so called ERM II. Regarding points that were debated by the government and in which the public was interested, I can mention that the government approved procedure for sale of claims and property participation in Svět Zlín to the town of Zlín; the principal element of the approved procedure is determination of the market price, this is the first point. And the second one is the condition of acceptance of terms such as option of the state concerning the property transferred, in other words prevention of transfers to third person.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the CR: I just add two pieces of information, which I forgot to mention in my introductory speech. We approved a material submitted by the Minister of Interior, which concerns necessity of need to apply the principle of non-discrimination in launching public tender offers in the sphere of ICT, which is the material that responds to very non-standard public tenders nearly in all ministries in the area of information and communication technologies, which responds to various discriminatory conditions in case of upgrades and to findings regarding range of discrepancies regarding purchases of technologies in this area. The second material, which we had announced, and which was approved, is the material on coordination of the Czech presidency, choosing the model of function and the management of the Czech presidency, including the government secretary, as we finally called this position. And we want, in the following period of time, to nominate the government secretary, so that he/she could take charge of his/her position and could operate based on new statute, which was approved today. The committee for the EU will be composed of the Prime Minister and the individual ministers. This was the principal information that I wanted to communicate, and now there is time for your questions, please.

Radim Ochvat, secretary of the Prime Minister: Your questions, please.

Jiří Novotný, Právo daily: Just regarding the privatization of the AERO. I would like to ask whether the decision of ministers, to sell it to Oakfield based on results of the public tender, was unambiguous. And whether you could indicate, minister, what will be the following procedure, I mean when the Oakfield could take over the AERO?

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the CR: Regarding your first question, I must say that we debated it repeatedly and I personally have a feeling that the voting was unambiguous, or there was one abstention, I do not know it exactly. There was no good solution there, and everybody knew it. We chose a solution that prevents the company from the bankruptcy that continues in the intentions of the previous government. This government has no mandate to adopt any other principal decisions. We were very conformal in this way. We, as well as the previous government, are aware of all risks. We regard this step acceptable for this price and risks to be acceptable for the CR after all, what had happened in the AERO during last years. Vlastimil Tlustý perhaps wants to add information regarding the time schedule.

Vlastimil Tlustý, Minister of Finance: I think that the time of share transfer cannot be defined now, as the journalist asked, because certain conditions are determined for taking-over of shares in the form of guarantees and such like. I need not to cite it, but I cannot predict time when these conditions will be fulfilled by the buyer.

Radim Ochvat, secretary of the Prime Minister: Thank you, further question, please.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the CR: By the way, also the contracting acceptances, e.g. regarding the L-159, etc. everything is stipulated in the framework of public tender.

Journalist Pulkrábek, Bloomberg: Good evening. Minister Tlustý, what will be the further procedure in the matter of ERM II?

Vlastimil Tlustý, Minister of Finance: We declared clearly, and I repeat it again that the CR cannot joint this system next year. At the meeting today, except of mentioned risks and factors like state of public finances, further risk and it is a risk of exceeding of inflation rate was stated, which may be linked with increase of the consumption tax; the increase will be debated in the Chamber of Deputies tomorrow in the second wording. If we stated that it would not be able to do it next year, it meant that we did not know when it would be possible. For that matter, also the formulation that was used in the second material, that the chosen strategy does not comprise the date of introduction, expresses clearly what you know well, that the CR can revert to the date of introduction of Euro in the time when it starts to perform reforms, which will eliminate those negative factors.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the CR: If I can add information, the strategy of introduction of Euro was prepared in 2003. Following the discussion with the governor of the Czech National Bank a decision was made to revert to this strategy. The term for determination of a new strategy is July of the next year, if I am not mistaken, minister.

Vlastimil Tlustý, Minister of Finance: Yes, nevertheless the basic thesis is valid that the originally expected date – year 2010 – was cancelled by steps of the previous government of the social democracy. It is true that further materials will be prepared, which will update and assess this issue. Nevertheless, we cannot determine the date at present, because there is apparent linkage with performance of necessary reforms.

Radim Ochvat, secretary of the Prime Minister: Thank you, further questions, please. If there is no any, thank you.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the CR: Thank you, good night.

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