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Brexit must not threaten integration, Czech leaders say

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Prague, April 4 (CTK) – Brexit must not threaten the European integration project, leading Czech politicians agreed at a meeting at Prague Castle, the presidential seat, on Tuesday and they rejected the concept of a multi-speed Europe, President Milos Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek said.

He said they also rejected the narrowing of the discussion on the future of the Union after Brexit to certain countries only.

“In the negotiations about bilateral relations, it will be of key importance to secure the rights of the Czech Republic’s citizens who legitimately work or study in Britain and to restrict the Brexit impact on jobs and the Czech Republic’s competitiveness,” the Castle said in a press release.

Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek (Social Democrats, CSSD) said exports protection and development of cooperation in the security sphere will also be among priorities.

He told journalists after the meeting that he believes that these points will be pushed through at the summit on Brexit on April 29.

The meeting was attended by Zeman, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, the heads of the two houses of parliament, Milan Stech and Jan Hamacek (all CSSD), Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky (ANO) and Zaoralek.

They praised the progress made in the EU’s foreign and security policies, particularly the intensive effort in securing outer security and defence, the press release said.

“They consider the preparedness of the EU to react to outer security challenges, including the effective protection of the EU border and the struggle against illegal migration to be the fundamental condition of maintaining the trustworthiness of the European project for citizens,” the press release said.

It said the strengthening of the Union’s security policy will lead to strengthening the European pillar of NATO.

The Czech Republic is now defining a clear mandate for its representatives to the Brexit summit.

Britain formally announced on March 29 that it is starting a two-year process of its withdrawal from the EU.

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