Sunday, 18 August 2019

Czech government debates EU, says budget is priority

15 February 2018

Prague, Feb 14 (CTK) - The Czech cabinet ruling in resignation wants to mainly focus on the EU budget and asylum policy within the EU agenda, Ales Chmelar, the state secretary for the EU, told reporters after the cabinet's informal meeting on Wednesday.

This was the ministers' first meeting discussing Prague's European priorities. They plan to hold similar meetings regularly.

Chmelar said the debate on the new EU budget is crucial in connection with Britain's departure from the EU and the related EU policies such as the subsidy and agriculture ones.

The Czech Republic will have to form coalitions with other countries in negotiating the multi-annual budget that is to set the basic structure of European finances, including the EU funds' operation, until 2021, Chmelar said.

The EU's security policy, too, is linked to the budget, he said.

In the nearest future, individual Czech ministers will each have negotiations with their EU counterparts, Chmelar continued.

Next week, the government will formulate the mandate for Prime Minister Andrej Babis's (ANO) participation in the informal EU summit due on February 23.

One month later, a regular summit is scheduled to discuss Brexit as the main issue on the agenda.

Chmelar said the cabinet members also want to discuss Czech activities in the EU with the public. Various campaigns are planned, he said.

"We want to analyse what people expect from the EU, so that the cabinet can answer their questions and launch an open dialogue with them not only on matter-of-fact aspects of European integration but also on a certain added value of the EU and the advantages of Prague's membership of it," Chmelar said.

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