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Czech PM, EU commissioner agree on fighting protectionism

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Prague, April 11 (CTK) – Czech PM Bohuslav Sobotka and European Commissioner for common market, industry and businesses Elzbieta Bienkowska agreed on the necessity to improve the functioning of the EU’s internal market and fight against protectionism of some countries at their meeting yesterday.

In this context, Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) mentioned the problems of Czech professional drivers in France and Germany.

Bienkowska, in charge of internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises), called protectionism one of the EU’s major problems.

“Some countries, primarily Germany and France, are trying to enforce the observance for their local rules of the minimum wage by introducing new rules and administrative duties. This creates new opportunities to fine hauliers,” Sobotka said adding that such bureaucratic traps are undesirable.

He said this theme must be opened in the EU more strongly.

Bienkowska pointed out that the heads of state and government of the EU 27 had stood up against protectionist economic policies in their declaration adopted in Rome in March.

It is unacceptable that the EU countries create obstacles in mutual economic relations, she said.

The EU must get rid of economic barriers that still exist in Europe and divide it into the East and the West, she pointed out.

Bienkowska appreciated the Czech economic growth.

She added that she would welcome the lowering of administrative burden and an easier establishment of new enterprises and start-ups.

The EU member states must adapt to the ongoing industrial revolution that requires the use of digital technologies and focus on innovations and research, she said.

Sobotka and Bienkowska also discussed the preservation of the Czech economy’s competitiveness, jobs and energy supplies.

Sobotka said they also talked about the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency (GSA), mainly the problem with the cutting of salaries of its Prague employees.

“This has been a long-term problem to keep qualified staff in Prague in the positions that the agency offers there,” he said.


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