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PM asks Juncker for EC to be impartial arbiter in EU

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Brussels, Oct 19 (CTK correspondent) – Czech PM Bohuslav Sobotka has asked Jean-Claude Juncker for the EC to act as a genuine impartial arbiter of the observance of EU rules, since some states have a feeling that this is currently not the case and the EC does not apply equal criteria to all, he said on Thursday.

Sobotka was speaking to reporters in the wake of his and the other Visegrad Four (V4, also comprised of Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) prime ministers’ working dinner with Juncker in Brussels on Wednesday night.

“The EC should apply equal criteria in assessing the implementation of [EU] law by individual member countries. Situations should not occur where a strict approach is taken to a country because of its bad behaviour, while another country faces no strictness for the same misdemeanour,” Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said.

He said the debate during the Brussels dinner last night mentioned, for example, the statistics of the lawsuits the EC has filed against member countries over their failure to observe EU laws, and of the lawsuits that member countries filed against the EC’s decisions.

It is “never late” to start a similarly intensive dialogue, Sobotka said.

He and his counterparts informed Juncker about problems that hauliers from the V4 face elsewhere in the EU, including France, Austria and Germany, where local directives are very strictly applied to them.

According to the V4, the EC should seek ways to remove obstacles on the internal market and reduce administrative barriers for entrepreneurs, Sobotka said.

The V4-Juncker debate also touched on migration, the single EU market, the Schengen area’s operation and also EU reforms and ways to enhance cooperation in defence, all topics to be discussed at the EU summit that started on Thursday.

Sobotka said the debate with Juncker was open and that the V4 countries took consistent positions in it.

“It was evident that the V4 is capable of acting jointly and consistently,” he added.

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