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PM: EU is on crossroads

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Beijing, Nov 25 (CTK special correspondent) – The European Union is now standing on a crossroads, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said in his lecture delivered at Beijing University on the fourth day of his official visit to China yesterday.
“On the one hand, there is the existence of the EU itself that comprises the long-term peaceful cooperation of 28 different and independent membership countries based on shared values, solidarity and their history,” Sobotka said.
“On the other hand, the EU is facing perhaps the most serious challenges in its history,” he added.
“The integration project is now standing on a fictitious crossroads,” Sobotka said.
“Either we, Europeans, agree that we will walk on on the road of unification as it has clearly turned out that we cannot make do without an intensified collaboration in some crucial spheres, or we will start fearing ourselves, stop and stagnate,” he added.
Sobotka said such topics as energy, the EU internal market, including the questions of digitation, modernisation of the industry and science and research, the migration and asylum policies and the associated free movement of people demanded a higher degree of integrity within the current EU.
The same is true of the policy of neighbourhood, international trade and defence and security policy, he added.
In all of these spheres, the EU is looking for new models of cooperation both inside and outside it, Sobotka said.
“In order to be successful in them, we cannot be limited to a European solution, but we must also look beyond our borders and look for partners there,” he added.
Sobotka said since 2003, China had been among the countries with which the EU concluded strategic partnerships.
The EU and China are among the most important actors of the present-day global developments, he added.
Questions were asked by the students at the close of the lecture.
In his answers, Sobotka spoke about the ongoing migrant crisis.
“It has turned out that Europe ought not to have ignored the war conflict and instability in its immediate vicinity,” Sobotka said.
“It has also turned out that Europe was not prepared for the massive refugee wave. This is the biggest movement of people since the end of World War Two,” he added.
“In order to cope with the migrant wave, an agreement in Syria should be reached that will end the war,” Sobotka said.
“The protection of the outer European Schengen border should be improved and Europe should take care of the refugees who are fleeing the war and who have no place to return to,” he added.
It is vital to separate the terrorist attacks such as that in Paris from the refugee wave, Sobotka said.
“People born in Europe were mostly actors of the terrorist attacks,” he added.
A large part of the refugees are fleeing the militants, Islamist fundamentalists and religious fanatics. Islamic State must be militarily defeated, Sobotka said.

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