Berlin - The Czech government's new pro-European stance is good news and it will enable better cooperation, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said after meeting Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka in Berlin today.
Německá kancléřka Angela Merkelová přijala 13. března v Berlíně premiéra Bohuslava Sobotku ČTK/AP Markus Schreiber
Sobotka (Czech Social Democrats, CSSD) said his cabinet wants the Czech Republic to join the European integration core.
Merkel (Christian Democrats, CDU) mainly hailed the Czech government's decision to accede to the fiscal compact, an agreement a majority of EU states has concluded on responsible budget policy. Its goal is to support the euro zone's stability in the case of further economic crises.
The Czech accession to it will have a symbolic character, since the pact would apply to the Czech Republic only after it adopts the euro.
Sobotka said, at a press conference with Merkel, that his cabinet wants to actively participate in the debate about the EU's future.
The Czechs want to sit at the negotiating table, he said, adding that European integration is in the interest of the Czech Republic which is situated in the centre of Europe and intensively cooperates with the euro zone members.
Sobotka said he wanted to collaborate more with Germany when discussing European issues.
"Just as we coordinate our attitudes within the Visegrad Four [the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia], we would like to coordinate our attitudes with Germany," Sobotka said.
Meetings of ministers as well as negotiations headed by prime ministers accompanied by some cabinet members will serve this, he added.
A closer cooperation can also be expected in bilateral issues, primarily in the sphere of economy and industry, science and research, Sobotka said.
Czech-German cooperation in innovative fields should be enhanced on the corporate level, he added.
"There are many companies in the Czech Republic that have invested in manufacturing and we would like them to also invest in science and research," Sobotka said.
He said he expected talks on specific investments to be held on Friday when he would visit the Volkswagen headquarters in Wolfsburg.
There are some speculations in the Czech Republic that the Skoda Auto factory in Kvasiny, east Bohemia, may be enlarged.
Unconfirmed information has it that a new car is to be manufactured there and perhaps 3,000 new jobs may be generated.
Sobotka's centre-left cabinet of the CSSD, ANO and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) was appointed in late January. It presents itself as pro-European, unlike its right-wing predecessors that partly inclined to Euroscepticism.