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Czechs Sound Encouraging

  • January 1st, 2009
  • Posted by EUEditor

czech-minister-1109.jpgThe government of the Czech Republic has set out to reassure its partners it will be sticking to the agreed songbook during its turn in the Presidency of the European Council, which began today.

The Prime Minister, Mirek Topolanek (picture) has outlined his plans on EU websites, countering concerns about the Euro-sceptic views of Vaclav Klaus, the current Czech President.

Mr Klaus, a free market economist and veteran of the 1980s struggle against communist rule in Czechoslovakia, has derided his country’s membership of the EU as a surrender of sovereignty. He has also been a leader among “climate change” sceptics, doubting it has been brought on by human activity.

His Prime Minister has put energy problems high on a list of challenges for the coming six-months’ Presidency, along with the economy and trade.

“The Czech Republic is ready to chair the Council of the European Union and, in addition to promoting European priorities, which are also Czech priorities, to lead the debate on current problems”, he said.

“We wish to promote to the full extent the European Union’s four fundamental freedoms – the free movement of goods, capital, labour and services.

“We must reduce the bureaucratic burden on enterprises and seek to make progress in the arduous discussions on the liberalisation of international trade in the framework of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).”

The Czech Republic takes over the Presidency from France, which under President Nicolas Sarkozy cemented joint positions of the 27 member countries on climate change measures, (See EUAustralia, “‘20-20-20’ says EU”, 13.12.08), and coordinated responses to the onset of the global financial crisis, late in 2008.

Reference:

European Council, “The Czech Republic is ready”, online interview; http://www.consilium.europa.eu/… (1.1.09).

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