Press Conferences

10. 9. 200812:14

Press Conference after the Meeting of the Government, Held on Wednesday 10th September 2008

Jana Bartošová, Government spokesperson: Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press conference after the meeting of the government. I welcome here the Prime Minister, Mr. Mirek Topolánek, the Minister of Defence, Mrs. Vlasta Parkanová, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Environment, Mr. Martin Bursík, the Minister of Finance, Mr. Miroslav Kalousek, the Minister of Interior, Mr. Ivan Langer and the Minister of Industry and Trade, Mr. Martin Říman. I ask the Prime Minister for his introductory speech.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: As you can see from our composition, I regard this press conference as very complicated. I have brought my colleagues with me so that they could explain their bills or other legal norms which they submitted today. Minister Kalousek will be talking about the state budget. I could comment on the budget of the State Fund of Transport Infrastructure or I can leave it to him. Both these materials were submitted and there was debate on them. I will leave it to the Minister to comment them; both materials will be submitted to the government in a standard way after certain time, by 22nd September. As to those issues which will not be explained by ministers, I should mention the interesting ones. We have fulfilled at least one part of the approved reform of the research and development as we approved the Bill amending the Act no. 130/2002 Coll. on Support of Research and development from Public Funds and I regard it as very significant crowning of our effort which was incorporated in the Programme Declaration of the Government. Now we have, after one year and a half, this priority of ours, which is the support of research and development, embodied in the legislation and thus, further development on this sphere can be started provided the bill is passed through the legislation process. The Bill on Census of all People and Households in 2011 was under my control. After a suspension we agreed unanimously on its support. I think that Ivan Langer will inform you on more important legal norm on basic registers which is connected with it. As to questions which I may be asked about, we suspended the debate on the Bill amending the Act on Imprisonment. The debate was held on amendment of participation of civil associations and various officers in the sphere of prisons and in the control activities in prisons. We will continue that debate. Based on the proposal of the Minister of Education, we abrogated certain Government Orders which had been redundant and had complicated the life in the education system. We agreed on the negative standpoint of the Legislative Council of the Government to the proposal of deputy Jakoubková. I would like to thank her for that proposal; nevertheless, the government had proposed its own solution which had been approved by the coalition. It concerned the restriction of truck transport on our roads. I hope that this proposal, which will be submitted by the government, will be accepted by the Parliament. We evaluated the development in the health insurance sector financial management. Also in this case the Minister Kalousek should comment it as the development is positive not only as to the payments for beneficiaries whose insurance is paid by the state, but also as to the performance of the entire system. After many years the reserve funds are filled and the system can face to any turbulence, and health insurance companies can even pay to health care providers in time; it is news which is very positive for all. I will leave remaining issues to my colleagues. I ask them to submit their materials.

Jana Bartošová, Government spokesperson: I thank the Prime Minister and I give the floor to the Minister of Defence.

Vlasta Parkanová, Minister of Defence: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for the floor. I am warning beforehand that I will have to leave after my information as at 14:30 I am expected to take part in the session of the Committee for Defence of the Chamber of Deputies. I would like to inform you that the government dealt with the proposal for conclusion of the bilateral agreement SOFA. The government debated the proposal and approved it. This agreement stipulates legal position of armed forces of the USA, civil staff and other persons staying in the territiry of the Czech Republic in connection with the radar base. The agreement is rather extensive, it has 34 articles and it has 28 pages in the Czech version. The Czech side pushed through number of its conditions. The Czech side pushed through that the agreement would concerns only the American staff which would have connection with the radar base and any application of this agreement to other stays of the American staff would be possible only after an approval of the Czech Republic, which would be expressed in accordance with the Constitution and our law. According this agreement, the Czech Republic will save its full sovereignty and property rights related to the territory and any immovable property, using of which was permitted to armed forces of the USA. Also the area of the radar base will remain a territory of the Czech Republic and all real estates built by armed forces of the USA will become the property of the Czech Republic once they are finished. As to ensuring security, the Czech Republic will be responsible for the external security and the USA for the internal security. Detailed data concerning the agreement will be published after its signing. I intend to sign the agreement with my American counterpart, Minister Gates, on the occasion of informal session of ministers of defence of NATO in London next Thursday or Friday. Probably it will be on 19th September. Based on this it is possible to expect that the full content could be published on 22nd September. I would like to add that information that I quoted will be published on websites www.army.cz, www.vlada.cz and www.mzv.cz. And one more piece of information for deputies who will approve the agreement and for you; there will be a seminar organized and you are welcome to attend it. We want to hold it in the Chamber of Deputies probably on Monday 20th October. I would also like to say that we expect the second reading of the agreement to be held after the election of the President of the USA. Thank you for the floor.

Jana Bartošová, Government spokesperson: I thank the Ministry of Defence and now the Minister of Finance has the floor.

Miroslav Kalousek, Minister of Finance: Thank you for the floor. Ladies and gentlemen, as you know the government started the first round of the debate on the state budget today, and the debate on the budget of the State Fund of the Transport Infrastructure. I remind you that in the course of its preparation the proposal of the Ministry of Finance was based on approved expenditure limits which had been approved by the government at the turn of May and June as every year. After that those summer months were months of demanding negotiations with administrators of the individual chapters of the budget and today the government debated the definite proposal of the state budget. As against the limits approved by the government, also expected transfers from the budget of the EU at the amount of 97,3 billion crowns were included in the state budget. It means that by those figures is increase both the revenue and the expenditure side of the budget. We observed the expenditure limit and I repeat again that we are the first government which observes the Act on Budgetary Rules as far as expenditure limits are concerned. Since the expenditure limits have become a part of our law, they have never been observed. The Topolánek's cabinet is the first one which observes them two years in succession. The expected revenues on the proposal amount to 1113,3 billion crowns. Expenditures are 1151,54 billion crowns and the deficit is 38,1 billion crowns. There is just little space for changes within the individual chapters. I would like to appreciate the approach of my colleagues - ministers, who are facing very grey situation. I appreciate that all of us realize that the way towards satisfying budgetary demands does not consist in increasing the deficit but only in the change of political priorities. If we want to cover expenditure, then it is possible only if we reduce any other expenditure; it is not possible to borrow more money or to pretend some fictitious revenues. The only one change which was agreed today, is the change which has connection with the sale of immovable property amounted to 700 million crowns. This change will affect both the expenditure and revenue side of the state budget in chapters of the Ministry of Interior and the Office of the Government without any impact on the deficit. We also agreed on the item by means of which the chapter of the BIS (Intelligence Service) would be increased. Administrators of the individual chapters put forward great number of requirements concerning transfers of financial means within their chapters. They were fiscally neutral impacts as they have to change their political priorities with regard to the necessity of economies. We decided on these issues today actually, is spite of the fact that we have not reach a resolution. My task for the following two weeks is to incorporate those changes into the proposal, to negotiate on two disagreements which still remain. Even in media there was published that two chapters are not concluded yet. We will try to reach any possible solution and there is just little space for that. On 22nd September the government will debate the state budget for the second time and I suppose it will approve the proposal as we must to submit the state budget to the Chamber of Deputies by 30th September. The deficit will be changed on no account and as I have already said, expenditures and revenues which I mentioned will be changed by 700 million crowns on both sides of the budget. It concerns that expected sale of immovable property. Concurrently, it was agreed that the budget of the State Fund of Transport Infrastructure will be concluded in which total resources, whether I mean revenues of the budget or subsidies from the state budget, will amount to 38 billion crowns. It is the amount without the resources of the EU and we expect that the fund will be significantly subsidized from the Cohesion Fund of the EU; so much for today's round of negotiation on the state budget. I would like to appreciate extremely constructive and transformation attitude of my colleagues. It is really apparent that the budgetary policy was done in a different way and deficits were increasing in time when our economic situation was much better for Europe than it is nowadays. The Prime Minister called me to briefly comment the report which the government would submit to the Chamber of Deputies, the report on evaluation of developments in the health insurance sector. The report is up and down positive. It is for the first time in the history when all the health insurance companies show positive balance and when all the reserve funds are filled. From the account point of view, the health insurance companies have in their reserve funds 34,5 billion crowns. There is no reason for spending money in an uneconomical way, especially in the time when there are not passed necessary transformation legal norms. Also the government stated that from the statistical point of view the report is very favourable. From the point of view of dynamics there remains huge number of risks resulting from not very sure results of the health care reform and health insurance reform. Therefore the individual ministers, who have their representatives in organs of these health insurance companies, agreed on aiming at maximum economies in particular in the sphere of overhead costs, so that maximum of these means could be used exclusively for the health care. That was my brief information on these issues and I am ready to answer your questions.

Jana Bartošová, Government spokesperson: I thank the Minister of Finance and now the Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Martin Bursík has the floor.

Martin Bursík, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Environment: Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, I will be brief as I have another press conference at my ministry and there I will be able to give you more detailed information. The government adopted the Bill amending the Act no. 100/2001 Coll. on Environmental Impact Assessment. The amendment is forced by the European Commission which stated that the internal regulations of the environmental impact assessment do not enable all the subjects to exert their right to review. Therefore the government adopted that amendment in which there is rights given to civil associations to file an action and to actively participate in the environment impact assessment procedure and to put forward their observations to a statement or to a review. Then, in case they feel necessity, they can apply to the court for defending their rights. This is the first amendment. The second amendment concerns the Mining Act, which is linked to another issue which will be presented here by the Minister of Industry and Trade, Mr. Říman. The amendment of the Mining Act, which I submitted to the government, contains several crucial principles and removes drawbacks of the legislation relating to mining industry which we have had to cope with for years. First, it concerns depreciation of stocks. Pursuant to the existing legislation the mining companies had a duty to submit documents for depreciation of stock. There is a sanction stipulated in the law but there is no deadline stipulated there. A case is known that a company has been preparing such documents for 17 years and therefore we must amend this law. There is one-year term proposed and in case a company does not submit relevant documents, which are specified in the Act, then there is a sanction of 20 million crowns. The second principle is important as well and I suppose that mayors of municipalities in the north of Bohemia and Moravia will appreciate it. It concerns omitting the existing section no.20 of the Mining Act, which stipulates first right to purchase lands for mining companies. This provision restricts the development of settlements. Moreover, it is illogical as it concerns lands which are in the mining area, that are projected from the underground to the surface in spite of the fact that there is nor connection between them. The amendment also contains with the correction of the territorially-environmental limits in the coal mine in Bílina, which will be submitted by Mr. Minister Říman. I will add just brief comment on it then. Thank you.

Jana Bartošová, Government spokesperson: Thank you, and now the Minister of Industry and Trade, Mr. Martin Říman has the floor.

Martin Říman, Minister of Industry and Trade: Thank you, I will take up the speech of the Deputy Prime Minister Bursík. The government approved today the correction of territorial and environmental limits of coal-mining activities in the North-Bohemian brown-coal basin in the coal-mining area of the mine of Bílina. It is a technical correction which had been proposed by former Minister of Environment Ivan Dejmal who unfortunately died. It is an exchange coal for coal. The company Severočeské doly (coal-mining company) will lose some 32 million tons of brown coal and this loss will be compensated by 32 million tons in a different area. If you are interested you can have a look at the enclosed map. The change is done because of technological reasons and because of better environmental protection of the village of Braňany as the existing limit enabled in fact mining activities at the distance of 200 meters from the village. Now this line is moved by 450 meters and thus pre protection belt in increased up to 650 meters. Concurrently the territorial limit will be extended in the western part of the area which does not pose a great problem. As we have said several times, it concerns a land of nobody. It concerns the area which was affected by the underground mining in the past; there are no economic activities there, not even agricultural activities. There is no building there or a settlement. There will be any problems in this case. Concurrently, the road between villages Braňany and Račice will be preserved which would otherwise have been liquidated. So, this is the change which takes place and which was approved by the government today.

Jana Bartošová, Government spokesperson: Thank you.

Martin Bursík, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Environment: I will just add several notes so that it would be clear about what we are talking. The government, following a very detailed agreement which was reached after many months, decided to open the issue of territorially-environmental limits, so that it corrected the concrete annex no. 5 of 1991. It this annex the mining face was changed and the state was reverted back to the state of 1991. It does not concern any new limits; it is just correction of the line. The correction is neutral as to the carbon dioxide. There will not be more coal extracted but it will enable preserve that about which the Minister of Industry and Trade was speaking; it would enable preservation of the road and protection of villages. Moreover there will arise a corridor, which will be the main corridor connecting the Krušné hory mountains and the České Středohoří mountains. There are positive aspects because of which the agreement was reached. It will be good to say those greatest sceptics, who do not believe it and who would think that the government breaks through the limits, that the government also assigned a task to the Minister of Industry and Trade to depreciate stocks beyond the mining line after handing-over relevant documents of the mining company. Thus, the second security provision was explicitly adopted and it is apparent that no limits are opened for further mining of coal and that those territorially-environmental limits remain unchanged.

Jana Bartošová, Government spokesperson: I thank both ministers and now the Minister of Interior Mr. Ivan Langer has the floor.

Ivan Langer, Minister of Interior: Good afternoon once more. The government has a very ambitious target – to get among five most advanced countries of the EU as to the implementation of the e-Government. As a result of it the project Egon was introduced which was concentrated on four basic areas. You have certainly been informed about them; they are Czechpoints, the communication infrastructure of the public administration, the Act on e-Government and today the government took a step towards the last area which remains to a brain of the Egon Project - the Bill on Basic Registers. What is it about? I think that all of you know that from the practice. You are approaching the counter, you want to settle something and the first question of an officer is: "Do you have this document? Do not you have it? That is a bad luck; you will have to get it." And you will have to go round further five authorities to get information which the state has but which is unable to share. The Act on Basic Registers is an umbrella law of the Egon Project; four basic registers are expected to be established, the register of inhabitants, the register of territorial identification, the register of right and duties and the register of persons. We made the first step today and adopted the Bill on basic registers which defines these registers. I am convinced that we have a real chance to get among five most advanced countries of the EU in the sphere of e-Government within this election period, and I thank for that extremely complicated preparation and work on this Egon Project. That is all.

Jana Bartošová, Government spokesperson: I thank the Minister of Interior and ask for your questions. The Czech News Agency.

Aleš Sosnovský, Czech News Agency: I have a question to the Minister of Finance. Can you specify those two disagreements regarding the state budget about which the debate will be held? And did the government approve today the increase of guaranties concerning removal of old environmental damage in the company of Paramo?

Miroslav Kalousek, Minister of Finance: Yes. I would not like to say disagreements. The administrator of the state budget chapter of the regional development would like to have more funds for his two programmes – the housing programme and the programme of regional development. In 2007 more funds were approved and I do not think that the situation concerning the state budget enables to increase of approved limits, approved programmes. Nevertheless, discussion can be held on these issues. The second sphere about which we must hold a discussion concerns the chapter of the Ministry of Education. It is possible to cover the main priority of the government – the tertiary education – however, it will be at the expense of certain items which cannot be covered by the Minister and therefore we will be searching a solution how to slightly strengthen his chapter. But if I say slightly I do not mean billions. As the company of Paramo, it was approved. It did not concern new contracts but only the increase of that guaranty based on the updated environmental audit.

Jana Bartošová, Government spokesperson: Thank you. The Czech TV.

Michaela Tučková, Czech TV: Mr. Minister, I would like to ask a question concerning the state budget. What GDP growth was expected in preparation of the budget? Has been that slowdown of our economy, and perhaps lower taxes and lower revenues, taken into consideration?

Miroslav Kalousek, Minister of Finance: Our expectations are based on updated indicators of July and I admit you caught me unprepared. I have left those indicator behind on my desk; I do not know but I think it is 4,6% but please, let me specify it in ten minutes. I will specify those figures.

Jana Bartošová, Government spokesperson: Thank you, further question, please.

Vojtěch Janda, Deník: Mr. Minister, I have one more question concerning the state budget. Could you say which ministries were most willing to cut their budgets and by what amounts?

Miroslav Kalousek, Minister of Finance: You know, I would not like to present the preparation of the state budget as a competition of the individual ministries; who will acquire more, who is willing to cut more. It is not like this. The government regards the state budget as a complex. The individual budget chapters represent more than trillion crowns, which is huge sum and we got to the situation that inflation which was higher that expected extended certain mandatory expenditures; therefore we decided not to increase the deficit by those expenditures and to find reserves in operational expenditures of non-mandatory character. We did not do it proportionally. We took the government priorities into consideration, we did not cut expenditures in the sphere of science and research, and we did not cut the development aid, our international commitments. We were searching economies in operational expenditures of the individual chapters, we were searching economies in the individual programmes especially in those where it would be possible to substitute national resources by the European resources. It is not a question of who was more willing to cut or who acquired more money.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: I would add that nobody is willing cut his or her expenditures voluntarily. I do not now any ministry which would do it voluntarily in this respect.

Miroslav Kalousek, Minister of Finance: I can say that when I submitted my first version, no minister, as it is a tradition, was fully satisfied. I think that no minister can be satisfied with the approved budget. Nevertheless, the government as a team fully respects necessity of fiscal reforms and I appreciate it.

Jana Bartošová, Government spokesperson: Thank you, aktualne.cz.

Petr Holub, Aktualne.cz: Mr. Minister, I would like to ask about one detail regarding the budget of the State Fund of Transport Infrastructure. The original proposal was 13,2 billion crowns. I would like to know whether this amount will be cut and whether the government will rely on higher revenues of the State Fund of Transport Infrastructure.

Miroslav Kalousek, Minister of Finance: Our proposal is 13,2 billion crowns and the total framework is 38 billion crowns; they are those national resources. The State Fund of Transport Infrastructure has its own revenues. It is the share in consumption tax concerning fuels, collection of the toll and motorway tax discs. Excuse me if I did not mention all of them.

Petr Holub, Aktualne.cz: There will not be any change then.

Miroslav Kalousek, Minister of Finance: You mean higher subsidy from the state budget? No, it will not be any.

Jana Bartošová, Government spokesperson: Thank you. The TV Nova.

Vladimír Keblůšek, TV Nova: Excuse me I have a question concerning a different issue to Mr. Minister Langer. The Head of the Prague Police was disengaged from his function today, or as of 30th September. I would like to ask whether you agree with this disengagement or whether you were content with his work, or what would you reproach him for?

Ivan Langer, Minister of Interior: This is a personnel measure of the Police President Oldřich Martinů with which I am identified and which I fully support. I think the change could have taken place sooner. We could have been saved ourselves certain troubles which had been of purely managerial, not systematic character. I believe that a new good Head of the Prague Police will be appointed.

Jana Bartošová, Government spokesperson: Thank you, further question, please.

Pavla Kozáková, Lidové noviny: I have a question to Mr. Minister Kalousek and Mr. Minister Říman. The question does not quite concern the meeting of the government. The Chamber of Commerce together with the Union of Industry and Trade and certain Czech companies made such an analysis and it followed from it that it would be much more advantageous if we had euro now or if we adopted it as soon as possible. I would like to know whether you know anything about such an analysis. What do you think of it? Can such an analysis influence the attitude of the government and to cause acceleration of the process of accession to Eurozone? Thank you.

Miroslav Kalousek, Minister of Finance: If I may begin, the government is always engaged in this issue intensively during the debate on the strategy of switching to the euro, strategy of accession to the Eurozone. Together with the Governor of the Czech National Bank I regularly submit a material to discussion. I will submit it again at the turn of September and October. The government debates great number of parameters of accession conditions, the degree of harmonization of the Czech economy with countries of the Eurozone. The more harmonization the greater advantages resulting from accession to the Eurozone. We certainly should not pretend that all members of the government have the same opinion. The experts have not the same opinion either. We certainly should not take such a decision under pressure. It really requires serious debate; in particular on all the aspects of the convergence, I mean harmonization of the Czech economy with countries of the Eurozone.

Martin Říman, Minister of Industry and Trade: If I may add something briefly, if the Chamber of Commerce and unions of entrepreneurs want to have the euro now, they should have aimed their laments and requirements to the former government some four or five years ago, in particular to the former Minister of Finance Sobotka who was appointed in 2002 and immediately doubled the public deficit for 2003. This is the first thing. The second thing – the euro is necessary to adopt the moment when it is advantageous for the overwhelming majority of the society not only for one, though a significant group.

Miroslav Kalousek, Minister of Finance: If I may to add something, I apologize to Mr. Holub; you said that the figure was 13,2. The real figure is 12,8 not 13,2; nevertheless, it will not be changed. The answer was correct but the exact figure was 12,8.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: I quite did not understand why the question on accession to the Eurozone was aimed at the Minister of Industry and Trade and the Minister of Finance, as I am of the opinion that it is within the responsibility of the entire government and the Prime Minister. Both aspects have been mentioned here. I think that we are holding discussion and we are doing our best, as the first government, not to hamper the euro and to adopt it as soon as possible. If we believed words of then Minister of Finance Bohuslav Sobotka, we would have, according to his promises, the euro from 1st January 2009 as well as Slovaks; but we do not have it. This government certainly is not to blame; on the contrary. The efforts to do reforms on the expenditure side of the state budget connected with aging population, the pension reform, health care reform and also social reforms, observing expenditure limits, the reduction of state administration, reduction of the deficit of public budgets, is the only one possible way to accession to the Eurozone. We are the last who would hamper it. Those questions and that care of the respective corporations, which I highly value, should have come sooner; then it would be more proper.

Jana Bartošová, Government spokesperson: Thank you, the Czech News Agency.

Jakub Dospěva, Czech News Agency: I would like to ask the Prime Minister a question concerning the SOFA agreement. Mrs. Minister have left, nevertheless she mentioned that the second reading would be only after the presidential elections in the USA. Does it mean that the Czech government is awaiting the development after that election? Could it change your attitude? And the second question, just to ease the atmosphere, you are said you were to become a protagonist of a movie on the EU. I would like to know some details.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: As to the first question, I think it results mainly from the expected time schedule of the legislative process. If Mrs. Minister announced that she would probably sign the bilateral agreement NATO SOFA with Mr. Minister Gates next week during the informal meeting of both minister, then we can imagine when it could be passed to the Chamber of Deputies and to the Senate The Senate approves such international agreements in the first reading at one session, as it is pre-debated in the respective committees after receiving the relevant the agreements. However there will be two readings in the Chamber of Deputies, and certain deadlines which result from the standing rules of the Chamber of Deputies. Therefore it is not possible to pass it before December 2008. It will be debated after the presidential election in the USA. As to the second question, it is a rather to Mr. Schmarcz. I do not deal with such details. They shoot me every day and therefore I experience my movie every day. That is why I am not surprised if there is somebody who wants to take a movie about my performance in the EU. I do not care.

Jana Bartošová, Government spokesperson: Thank you, Mladá fronta Dnes.

Tomáš Syrovátka, Mladá fronta Dnes: I have a question to the Prime Minister. I apologize, as well as my colleagues did, that it does not quite concern today's meeting of the government; nevertheless, you have not expressed your opinion to a relatively serious confession of Mr. Tlustý concerning his trafficking in subsidies before elections. It means that he promised Mr. Baroš a subsidy to his football school in exchange of his support in that election campaign. Mr. Tlustý accused you that you had known about it. Can you say whether you knew about the promise of Mr. Tlustý?

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: I must say, Mr. Syrovátka, why you ask me. The question should be perhaps to Mr. Tlustý, perhaps to Mr. Cibulka. I am sure I never promised anything to Mr. Baroš. Even those photos, which were presented in the incriminated TV programme, had not been on our billboards. I do not know anything about their origin; they were perhaps from an archive. I should say, and Miroslav Kalousek will confirm it, that we did not fulfil such promises of Vlastimil Tlustý, and we could not fulfil them. I regard as improper to revert to this topic and I should say that it results from the programme that Vlastimil Tlustý is not quite trustworthy. Perhaps you believe him but I do not.

Jana Bartošová, Government spokesperson: Thank you.

Miroslav Kalousek, Minister of Finance: I have been repeatedly asked about this issue recently. Some of my answers were published some of them were not. I repeatedly said, and I am not saying it for the first time today, I repeatedly said to all those cameras and to all those Dictaphones that all the time I have known about that request, the request did not meet criteria of a subsidy programme and therefore it was not settled. All the time I have not heard from the Prime Minister or other member of the cabinet a word about it. It means that I doubt that any of my colleagues form the cabinet would know about it.

Jana Bartošová, Government spokesperson: Thank you, the magazine Respekt.

Sylvia Lauder, Respekt: Good afternoon. The government presents here some essential steps which it intends to take the moment when it is no clear whether you will win sufficient number of votes for their approval. I would like to know whether you debate any strategies or variants of further performance of the cabinet. I mean for example the variant of a minority cabinet which would govern during the Czech presidency before early elections, or other variants for the case of you have not sufficient number of voices for your programme. Thank you.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: I would like to have access to your information resources. I do not know where you got such information. I leave speculations to you. They are media which should speculate. I think it is your business. I do not say I agree with you, but do not want me to speculate. I will not publish whether I am preparing for the future wars as well as I do not publish what was my preparation like for the past wars. The role of the government is to fulfil its executive and legislative activities and the government will do that until it governs. Who cares how long it will be who cares what government it will be, whether it will be a government like this or a different one. We will submit to the Chamber of Deputies such bills of which we will be convinced that they are in compliance with the Programme Declaration, which is our common, coalition declaration. I should say that, apart from some exceptions, we have reached all the objectives during that one year and a half or during those two years if we take the first cabinet of mine into consideration. Try to name objectives which have not been reached; I dare to say there will not be more than five of them. I am content with our governance and the future development will depend on further vote. Only after that vote, in case you ask me a question why this or that bill is not passed, I will be willing and able to answer it. We must be able to ensure majority for most of various types of laws. Sometime it is a natural majority, as there is no ideological character of a bill, sometime it is unsure and in such a case the vote shows whether we managed the situation or not. I have no other answer to your question, and as to the strategy, I am known that I never disclose it.

Jana Bartošová, Government spokesperson: The TV Nova, please.

Vladimír Keblůšek, TV Nova: I have a question to the Prime Minister. Did you, at least marginally, debate the case of Morava and Tlustý? And one sub-question – you said that you would have to clean up the ODS. Can you mention any concrete measures as the party congress is drawing closer? Or will it be enough for you if Vlastimil Tlustý will leave the party?

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: We did not debate this case at all because it did not concern the agenda of the government. I regard this case as concluded in such a sense that Vlastimil Tlustý did not fill expectations of the committee of deputies and the entire ODS and the great part of the public. What I said yesterday was rather more profound and I would need more time to reflect and to say something about concrete steps. I will not disclose them today, I am sure. But as I have said, it requires more detailed analysis; the ODS will have to pass through a catharsis and it will have to offer the public comprehensible solution. It is not possible to repeat those matters which appeared in this case and which caused turbulences in the political sphere. That was what I said. I will certainly come to the party congress, if I will come to it, with quite clear vision how to continue as far as internal structure and internal mechanisms are concerned, with a new vision for the Czech Republic, so as I could espouse my mandate and to stand for a seat in the Parliament. I cannot say anything else on it and I am not willing to do that as it is rather a message into the ODS. Only after that the public will be informed.

Jana Bartošová, Government spokesperson: Thank you, now Reuters, please.

Reuters News: I would like to ask the Prime Minister about the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. Can you see any problem with the Treaty which was submitted to the Constitutional Court to be reviewed? Can it be solved and how and in what time horizon?

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: There are long discussions on it in our country. I will repeat it once more for you. The Constitutional Court, as far as I am informed, may but need not find a disaccord between the Constitution and the Lisbon Treaty If it takes place, which is possible, there are two possible solutions here. That which I prefer concerns a relevant amendment to the Constitution in this respect. That one which may be preferred on our political scene, concerns certain negotiations on an exception, on opt-out and something like that. If that variant wins, I suppose that the suspended debate in the Chamber of Deputies and in the Senate might continue. We would like to submit the Lisbon Treaty again to the voting by the end of the year. The time schedule can be upset by lots of things which I am not able to influence and the government is not able to influence them, either, because it is the Parliamentary agenda, not the on government agenda, now. The government approved the Lisbon Treaty, it negotiated it and I signed it. Certain delay may occur but I have not taken this possibility into account for the present as it would be big speculation and it could complicate not only beginning of our presidency in the first half of 2009 but also the negotiations with Ireland which would be a sensitive point of the ratification process. As to the solution of the Irish problem, the Lisbon Treaty cannot come into force unless Ireland changes its opinion; the international law is quite strict in this respect. In such a case the Czech attitude does not mean anything else than potential complication of the Czech presidency but nothing else.

Jana Bartošová, Government spokesperson: Thank you, the last question. The Czech TV.

Jana Čermáková, Czech TV: I have two questions to you, Mr. Prime Minister. Could you comment the decision of the Minister of Culture to disengage the Director of the National Library? Are reasons for his disengagement sufficient? The architectonic competition announced was contrary to law. The second question – the chief of Russian strategic missile forces Solovcov did not exclude today that the Czech Republic and Poland may become targets of Russian missiles because of the American radar and the entire system. Could you respond to it? Thank you.

Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: As to the first question, it is not within my competences and I am the last who could interfere into the personnel decision-making process of Minister Jehlička. I did not interfere into the appointment of his deputy ministers, let alone directors of organizations which were under the control of his ministry. If I am to express my private opinion, the disengagement was done a bit late; nevertheless, I do not interfere into his personnel affairs. As to the second question, I do not want to contribute to that Cold-War-like rhetoric. The radar is purely defensive. It is a defence against the individual long-range ballistic missiles of "rogue states" or organizations which would take possession of them. From the technical security, and military point of view, it cannot be directed against such a state like Russia with its arsenal of many thousands of those missiles. It is a technical, security and military nonsense, of course. The fact that the Russian administration or rather Russian generals use this rhetoric is perhaps part of that worsened situation. Some people talk about a new burst of the Cold War. There has not been the Cold War here for certain period of time and I am not pleased by this. But I should say that our attitude to this matter remains unchanged because I am of the opinion that the defensive umbrella, the defence of the European countries of the North-Atlantic community, NATO, is necessary and I only wish Russians to come to that conclusion, to which they themselves came. They themselves were building their own anti-missile defence against the terrorist attacks and they did not threaten us in such a nonsensical way. I remember well that time when in the same localities in the Brdy Hills the missiles with nuclear warheads arrayed against European towns were placed; and I hope all our citizens remember it as well.

Jana Bartošová, Government spokesperson: I thank the Prime Minister, all members of the Government and you for your attention. Good-bye.