Press Releases

9. 2. 200916:46

José Manuel Barroso: Excellent start of the Czech Presidency

The Czech Presidency has made an excellent start to its Presidency of the European Union.

The New Year celebrations were still taking place when the Czech Government faced the first major task of the Presidency. The gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine left Europe in a difficult position through no fault of its own. The Czech Presidency and the Commission worked day and night for three weeks to resolve the dispute and get the gas flowing again. I want to pay tribute to Prime Minister Topolanek and his team for the excellent work and my thanks for the extremely close cooperation during this period.

Building on the EU's robust and coordinated response to the economic crisis is our most important task. We need to protect our citizens while rejecting protectionism. This means short-term action to save and create jobs, including by getting the banks lending again. We must move forward on rebuilding the global financial system. We must ensure that investment to tackle the crisis is also investment in sustainable prosperity for the long-term. On Wednesday 11 February, Prime Minister Topolanek will attend the Commission meeting and he and I will have a special session to discuss the next steps in Europe's response to this unprecedented challenge.

The Czech Presidency is working with dedication and competence on a whole range of other issues. At all times the Commission will help wherever it can.

José Manuel Barroso

(published in the Czech Presidency Bulletin)