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Chmelař is new Czech state secretary for EU

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Prague, June 21 (CTK) – Ales Chmelar, so far the head of the Government Office’s section for EU economic policies coordination, is the new Czech state secretary for EU affairs, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said when introducing him to reporters today.

He said Chmelar emerged victorious from a tender and took up the post today.

On Thursday, Chmelar will attend the European Council’s meeting in his capacity as the state secretary for the first time.

Today, he headed a Czech coordination meeting before the EU summit.

Chmelar, 29, told CTK that his goal is to improve the communication with Brussels and clearly present the Czech government’s positions to the EU partners.

“Generally, my priority is that the other member countries understand the arguments the Czech Republic espouses in the area of not only migration but also economy,” he said.

“My nearest priority is communication and the highlighting of the Czech position on migration, namely the [migrant relocation] quotas,” Chmelar said.

“We must show the other EU members that our arguments are valid and that we stand by our position,” he added.

Chmelar is a member of the Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD), of which Sobotka was a long-standing chairman until last week.

Sobotka said he hopes that Chmelar in the post of the state secretary will ensure the continuation of the promotion of the Czech Republic’s interests as an active EU member.

He praised Chmelar’s experience with the EU agenda.

“He has been co-forming the Czech positions for a long time, he is an expert who has many-year experience from not only the Czech but also the European scene,” Sobotka said.

Chmelar told reporters that EU membership is a chance for the Czechs to take part in forming Europe’s future. He said he disagrees with the allegation that decisions are made in Brussels regardless of Prague’s positions.

“Irrespective of what may sometimes seem to us, no one excludes us from the decision making. All decisions on the European level are made after being consulted and discussed with us,” Chmelar said.

“We must realise that Europe is us. Our success in Europe depends on our capabilities,” he said.

Among his other goals, he mentioned the submission of the Czech application for hosting the new seat of the European Banking Authority (EBA), which will move from London as a result of Brexit.

Prague competes with another nine countries for the EBA seat. The final decision is expected in October.

“The cards have not been dealt evenly, but we will try to succeed and we will submit a clear and qualified application by the end of July,” Chmelar said.

Chmelar is replacing Tomas Prouza, who left the post of the state secretary in late March.

Chmelar will also head the working group for Brexit, previously established under Prouza’s leadership.

Born on September 11, 1987, Chmelar studied at the Sciences Po institute in Paris and the London School of Economics. He speaks English, French and German. Before arriving at the Government Office, he worked in the Brussels-based think tank Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) in 2012-2014.

At the Government Office, he headed the section of EU strategies and trends (2014-2017) and then the section of EU economic policies’ coordination.

He is married and has a son.

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