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Summit opens new chapter of EU cooperation, Babiš tells Macron

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Paris, June 30 (CTK special correspondent) – The migration deals reached by the EU summit on Friday is “a new chapter of European cooperation,” Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis told a press conference he had along with French President Emmanuel Macron and Slovak PM Peter Pellegrini after their talks on Saturday.

Macron said he does not believe in dividing blocs in the European Union. He said the latest summit showed that the EU can be united and effective.

Pellegrini said Europe is again in a situation that its democratic values are challenged.

Babis welcomed it that the fight over quotas for the redistribution of migrants across Europe has finally ended and the quotas have been given up.

He said the EU should move towards a model in which the member state would have more say on to which projects they would financially contribute.

Within the possible EU reform, Babis supported Macron’s idea of the citizens’ consultations that would raise public interest in the developments in the EU.

In the afternoon, Babis and Pellegrini will take part in a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the oath taken by about 6000 legionaries who promised loyalty to the emerging Czechoslovak state in Darney in northeast France.

Babis recalled that France played a key role in the foundation of independent Czechoslovakia in 1918.

Macron will not attend the ceremony. He did not comment on his absence from it. French Defence Minister Florence Parly will be present.

Babis dismissed the speculations that Macron’s rather unexpected absence was caused by disputes within the European Union.

On Thursday and Friday, the political leaders of EU member states dealt with migration, security and defence affairs and Brexit at a summit in Brussels. Shortly before the summit, Macron met the PMs of Visegrad Group countries – Polish Mateusz Morawiecki, Hungarian Viktor Orban, Babis and Pellegrini. Diplomats told CTK that the V4-France talks removed the tension in the dispute about migration.

Babis said it seemed more likely that the football match between France and Argentina played at the football world championship in Russia in the afternoon is the reason why Macron will not be in Darney.

At their meeting on Saturday, Macron and Babis planned to sign the action plan of Czech-French strategic partnership for 2019-2022, which defines a number of projects on which the two countries want to cooperate in the long term. This is the fourth action plan of the partnership between France and the Czech Republic.

Babis said the cooperation concerned security, fighting terrorism, student mobility and joint foreign policy.

Macron also signed a Slovak-French partnership project with Pellegrini on Saturday.

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