Czech PM dismisses Zeman´s criticism of his talks with Juncker


28.07.2014 15:23

Prague - Czech President Milos Zeman should not comment on talks about which he knows nothing, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said today in reaction to Zeman´s statement that Sobotka humiliated Czechs in Brussels.


Premiér Bohuslav Sobotka (na snímku) navrhl 7. července na setkání s filmovými producenty v Karlových Varech navázat příjmy Státního fondu kinematografie (SFK) na výběr některé daně, aby fond získal pravidelný roční příjem. ČTK Němeček Pavel

Zeman said Sobotka asked European Commission (EC) head Jean-Claude Juncker in mid-July whom he wants for the Czech European commissioner.

"The idea that I am going to talks with Jean-Claude Juncker... politely asking him which of two or even three candidates for the Czech European commissioner he would like to have... This is such a humiliation of the Czech Republic," Zeman told weekly Tyden out today.

In reaction to Sobotka´s words, Zeman´s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek said the president had criticised Sobotka´s steps during his visit to a government meeting last Monday, July 21.

"This is why the president´s current statement cannot be new and surprising for Czech PM Bohuslav Sobotka," Ovcacek added.

"The president should not comment on talks, to which he was not present, of which he knows nothing and about which he did not even ask," Sobotka said in a press release.

"I firmly believe that next time the president will use one of our frequent meetings to first ask about issues that do not fall into his power in order to get more informed about them," he said.

Sobotka said he had not discussed any specific person who would be representing the Czech Republic in the new EC with Juncker.

He said prime ministers of nearly all EU member countries had met next EC President Juncker. He said it would have been a mistake if he had not met Juncker.

"We did not make any selection of the Czech European commissioner. Such a thing would have been absurd and completely in contradiction to the standard procedure," Sobotka said.

He said he discussed the structure of the EC and the powers the Czech Republic was interested in with Juncker.

After long negotiations, the Czech coalition government nominated Vera Jourova (ANO), present regional development minister, for the Czech EU commissioner last week.

Relations between Sobotka and Zeman, a former CSSD leader and prime minister, have been rather tense for a long time.

Zeman attended a meeting of Sobotka´s cabinet, comprising his CSSD, ANO and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), for the first time on the same day when the coalition parties agreed on Jourova´s candidacy.

Zeman then called her nomination an excellent choice and a very reasonable solution.

However, he criticised the government for having chosen the EU commissioner so long. Sobotka did not have to go to Brussels for advice and the candidate's name could have been known two or three weeks earlier, Zeman said then.

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