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PM: Czechs must remain in EU hard core, adopt euro quickly

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Brno, Oct 9 (CTK) – There is no other path for the Czech Republic, with its economy dependent on exports, than to remain part of the EU core and adopt the euro as soon as possible, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said at the conference of the Czech Confederation of Industry on Monday.

Branding all promoters of the Czech departure from the EU fools and semi-fools, Sobotka said he considers the remaining in the EU core the only way to ensure the country’s security and economic prosperity.

Sobotka mentioned “a few urgent tasks” for the new government to tackle after being established following the October 20-21 general election.

“The economic development of Europe’s most industrial country [the Czech Republic] depends not only on an abundance of workforce but also on transport infrastructure. It is turning out that a law on road and railway construction is needed, because we face neither a lack of money nor a low preparedness of such projects, but evil will on the part of various groups and individuals permanently challenging transport construction projects. This [law] will be the most effective way [to tackle the problem],” Sobotka said.

He said the new government will also have to deal with the future of the Czech energy sector.

“A change to the energy mix must be prepared. On the one hand, stability must be preserved. On the other hand, it is necessary to observe the limits stemming from the Paris treaty on [the restriction of] emissions,” Sobotka said.

“In 2025 at the latest, it is necessary to start building a new bloc in the Dukovany nuclear power plant. The prices of energy must remain affordable. Together with high-speed Internet, it is crucial for the transition to digitised industry, which will bring a new potential,” Sobotka said.

He said the state should go an example for others to follow in introducing digitisation.

Furthermore, the new government should work on the country switching from an economy whose comparative advantage lies in cheap labour to an economy generating products with a higher added value, Sobotka continued.

“Investment incentives must no longer eye the number of newly created jobs, but the height of the added value, and they should go to small and medium-sized companies,” Sobotka said.

However, the Czech Republic still is not a part of the euro zone, which Sobotka considers an uncertainty for the future.

“All modernisation measures will work only if we are part of the free internal market and of the core of the EU’s economically strong members. We must fight to prevent barriers from arising on the internal market and on the euro zone borders,” Sobotka said.

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