published: 20.03.2013, 20:14 | updated: 20.03.2013 21:41:42
Prague - Czech President Milos Zeman will sign the supplement to the Lisbon Treaty enabling to establish the euro zone´s new rescue fund ESM during EC President Jose Barroso´s forthcoming visit to Prague, he said after visiting the cabinet meeting today.
Zeman´s predecessor Vaclav Klaus, whose presidential term expired earlier this month, labelled the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) project horrible and absurd. He refused to add his signature to it though it had been passed by Czech parliament.
Barroso is to visit Prague on April 2, according to unofficial information.
Zeman, a former socialist prime minister who was sworn-in as president on March 8, discussed Czech foreign policy with Petr Necas´s (Civic Democrats, ODS) right-wing cabinet today.
After the meeting he told journalists that as president he will place emphasis on two things - the signing of the ESM and the fight against international terrorism, including support to Czech [military] missions abroad.
"On the occasion of Mr Barroso´s visit I´ll sign the euro zone rescue mechanism and I suppose it to be countersigned by the prime minister [Necas], who, too, will meet Mr Barroso," Zeman said.
PM Necas told reporters that Barroso´s spokeswoman "has confirmed that he will arrive in the Czech Republic in the days to come."
Necas said the government is strongly interested in cooperating with Zeman in the area of foreign policy.
The government´s priorities in this respect continue to be the Czech integration in NATO and the EU, good relations with foreign neighbours and the fight against terrorism, Necas said.
Zeman previously said he considers the signature of the ESM mainly a symbolic gesture, as the ESM only involves the euro zone members. According to Zeman´s estimation, the Czech Republic will adopt the euro in five years at the earliest.
In view of the president´s lacking signature, the Czech Republic is the last EU country not to have completed the ESM´s ratification. This, nevertheless, has no influence on the ESM that has been operating since last autumn.
Zeman also informed the cabinet today that he will pay a visit to Slovakia in early April and to Austria after April 20.
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