CzechRep to support EU joint measures on Ukraine - PM Sobotka


20.02.2014 16:00

Brussels - The Czech Republic will support the EU's joint resolute measures in relation to Ukraine at a meeting of the member countries' foreign ministers today, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said after a meeting with European Commission (EC) President Jose Barroso today.


Český premiér Bohuslav Sobotka v sídle Evropské komise v Bruselu. ČTK/AP Yves Logghe

Sobotka also met European Parliament (EP) President Martin Schulz.

"The Czech government, too, is concerned about the developments in Ukraine, mainly the escalation of violence in the past few days," Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said after his meeting with Barroso.

He therefore welcomed the meeting of the EU foreign ministers to deal with Ukraine planned for today.

"The Czech Republic is prepared to support the EU's joint, united and resolute steps in relation to the Ukrainian government at this meeting," he added.

Barroso again called on all parties to the conflict in Ukraine to stop violence and return to a sensible political dialogue.

Barroso also welcomed a change in the Czech government's stance on the EU and he appreciated that the Czech Republic would like to join the fiscal pact.

The Czech Republic will be able to influence developments in Europe only if it actively participates in European structures, Sobotka said.

His coalition government, comprising also the centrist ANO movement and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), was appointed in late January and it won a vote of confidence in the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday.

The Czech Republic is returning to the role of an active and constructive member of the European family, Barroso said at a press conference after his meeting with Sobotka.

The government is prepared to show Czech citizens that Europe can contribute to resolving the economic crisis, he added.

Barroso and Sobotka also discussed the drawing of European subsidies until 2020.

In the years to come, the Czech Republic can gain almost 22 billion euros from the EU structural and investment funds, Barroso recalled.

The talks on the agreement to enable their drawing and set priorities are to be completed.

Sobotka recalled that the Brussels visit had been his first foreign trip since his cabinet won confidence in parliament.

"The Czech Republic will now act actively, clearly, comprehensibly and constructively towards the EU," Sobotka said.

Barroso primarily appreciated the Czech government's Wednesday decision to prepare for the ratification of the fiscal pact, an agreement of most EU countries on responsible budget policy.

Sobotka said he would like the ratification to be completed within two months.

However, the fiscal pact measures applying to the Czech Republic will only come into force after it adopts the single European currency, Sobotka said.

The Czech accession to the fiscal pact is another step on the path to the euro adoption, he added.

Barroso pointed to the importance of cooperation before the country´s joining the euro zone.

Barroso congratulated Sobotka on his victory in the last October early general election and his appointment as prime minister.

Barroso said the new Czech coalition government was changing the approach to many issues, including the EU.

Sobotka said he and Schulz discussed a possible devolving of some powers within the EU on the national level and mentioned a simplification of the conditions of drawing money from European funds as an example.

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