Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek responded online in a European chat

Yesterday Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Mirek Topolánek responded online to questions of the Czech and foreign public in a European chat. You can read his answers in the Czech and English language version here

  • MARC CHAMPION, 6. 1. 2009, 10:28

Gas supplies from Russia to the Balkans have now been cut entirely. Is this still an entirely commercial bilateral matter? When does the EU need to get tougher, how and with whom? Do you know yet why the Balkan route via Moldova has been cut?

reply 6. 1. 2009, 16:01

In this given moment, and based on our previous experience, neither the Czech Republic nor the European Commission wishes to act as an arbiter of this dispute. We are monitoring the situation and try to talk to all key players on both the commercial and political levels. The situation caused by the gas supplies having been stopped in the Balkans, Turkey, FYROM and Ukraine is serious but not critical. The EU can at this given moment exert both economic and political pressure however it can assume a potential role of a moderator only if both parties agree to it and if it has all necessary information at hand. Medium-term and long-term solution lies in the diversification of supplies, higher guarantees provided on the level of the EU and the supplier themselves, bigger storage capacities, and alternatively substitutes being introduced in the energy mix, which overall translates in ... this very much complies with our key priority in the area of energy security.

  • karl, 6. 1. 2009, 13:33

Dear Prime Minister, is the Czech Presidency concerned with the impact that the financial crisis can have on development and humanitarian aid? How are the activities foreseen in the EU consensus on humanitarian aid going to be funded?

reply 6. 1. 2009, 15:55

I do not think that the economic crisis on the global scale should have any major impact on the humanitarian aid provided by the EU. If this crisis is, more than anything else, the crisis of trust, the tools to repair the situation do not consist in either increasing or decreasing the humanitarian aid. This does not mean that either the UN or other multilateral bodies might not be faced with a situation demanding rapid and immediate action.

  • Brusselsblogger, 6. 1. 2009, 13:51

It seems the unconditional US support to Israel is the only problem for a temporary stop of the Gaza war. Why is the EU not talking to the US about the Middle East crisis? Talking to Israel only doesn't seem to make much sense.

reply 6. 1. 2009, 15:36

To twist the question around I would ask the following: what should be done about stopping the bombs being thrown from Gaza on the Israeli territory killing innocent citizens? There are no answers to such questions and the Czech Republic does not have the ambition to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which is going on for more than 60 years. The Quartet is the body which is responsible for dealing with this issue. It is composed of the UN, USA, Russian Federation and the EU. Our ambition is to reach a ceasefire in the respective area, to define the conditions which would be acceptable for both sides in order to conclude the ceasefire and with the help of the players composing the Quartet try to stop any military action as soon as possible. As far as the US standpoint on the right of Israel to defend its citizens, this is something I also believe in. Obviously, as far as the scope or the adequate measure of the response is concerned, that is a different question. Thank you for your questions, I am sorry as I have to attend to another assignment. But I will be back soon to continue this interesting chat.

  • Hoblík, Prague, 6.1.2009, 2:00 p.m.

Good afternoon, Prime Minister, my friends from abroad and I really like the Presidency logo and the graphic design of the website. My question is: what type of mandate will the new National Economic Council have in relation to the Presidency? Thank you. I wish you success in your management of Europe!

reply, 6.1.2009, 3:55 p.m.

This Thursday I will introduce the members of the National Economic Council of the Government (NERV). Of course, NERV will not only address domestic issues, but it will also serve as an advisory body in handling or proposing solutions within the EU and for the G-20 meeting in London at the beginning of April. The membership of this council assures me that it comprises of prominent experts from the business sector, the academic community and the financial sector, and that given the present situation this is the right path to take.

  • Karel, 6.1.2009, 12:39 p.m.

Hello, Prime Minister, greetings from Brno. What is your opinion on the response of Czech general public to the Presidency? And what sort of reaction have you had from abroad so far? Perhaps even from countries outside the EU.

reply, 6.1.2009, 3:49 p.m.

This is an area I keep an eye on. The fact that 80% of the Czech population knows about the Czech Presidency fills me with the hope that in six months the figure will be 100%. I consider the fact that 60% of the Czech population trust we will succeed as a binding commitment. The fact that these statistics are not broadcasted comes as no surprise to me. This half-year is a great chance for Czech citizens to gain a deeper insight into the mechanisms behind the functioning the EU, to take a peek behind the scenes, and to take stock of the pros and cons; and it gives them the opportunity to be proud that they are Czech.

  • Jan Kramoliš, 6.1.2009, 10:00 a.m.

Good morning. If you fail to reach an agreement with the opposition on ‘matching’ [where, if an opposition MP is absent during a vote due to official visits or illness, the government coalition voluntarily withdraws one of its own members from voting, and vice versa], do you expect members of the government to resign?

reply, 6.1.2009, 3:42 p.m.

In my opinion, the discussion on matching is somewhat akin to blackmail . The ministers will fulfil their European obligations. If the opposition exploits this situation for negative purposes, there is still the Senate and the legislative process will of course become protracted. However, the major support of the Czech Presidency by European countries means that, if anything, it is the Czech opposition that will find itself isolated.

  • Petr Kohout, 5.1.2009, 10:00 p.m.

Good morning, Prime Minister, first and foremost I would like to wish you, your government and the Czech Republic, i.e. us, much success during the EU Presidency. This is an amazing moment where, for the first time in ages, we are in a position to influence events not only in Europe but also across the world. I am confident that the financial crisis is an opportunity for us to show the world the capabilities of our country – not just in the role of a moderator. Have you prepared any concrete plans for the solution of the crisis? Could you reveal any details? Perhaps there will now be room to correct some of the economic anomalies prevailing in Europe, such as agricultural subsidies, access to the job market and other forms of protectionism. Thank you, have a nice day!

reply, 6.1.2009, 3:38 p.m.

I wish I could share your optimism, but the financial crisis and the economic recession in Europe are, conversely, an opportunity for numerous countries and statesmen to make populist proposals of greater regulation, greater subsidies and greater level of protectionism. Our role in this situation will be to mobilize that part of Europe that shares our more liberal policies. Practical examples of our added value with respect to the financial crisis in Europe could be functional Czech regulation with a single regulator, or, as the cas may be, capital adequacy and minimum reserve requirements of financial institutions, as well as our experience resulting from the financial crisis in 1997 and 1998.

  • Jirka, 5.1.2009, 7:00 p.m.

Good evening, Prime Minister. Are you planning to open an online store with promotional items featuring the logo of the Czech Presidency? Thank you for your reply. Best of luck!

reply, 6.1.2009, 3:30 p.m.

The Czech presidency is not the Olympics. We haven’t sold marketing rights to anyone, nor do we have any plans to sell them. All marketing items are distributed free of charge. We have no intention of opening an e-shop to promote the Czech Presidency at home or abroad. Thank you for your kind wishes, I’m pleased you like our logo.

  • Izabela, 6.1.2009, 2:51 p.m.

Prime Minister, I wish you and your family all the best in the New Year.

reply, 6.1.2009, 4:08 p.m.

Thank you for your wishes and your questions. I’m afraid I have further duties to attend to now. Please accept my apologies. I promise that I will come back regularly to answer your questions.

Last update: 16.8.2011 15:56

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