Prague, March 30 (CTK) – Economist Sona Machova will head the Czech team for Brexit at the Government Office, replacing the state secretary for European affairs, Tomas Prouza, who resigned as of March 31, daily Lidove noviny (LN) writes yesterday.
Prouza (senior government Social Democrats, CSSD) accepted a job offer from the private sector. Jan Kral, head of the section of European policies coordination, will head the EU affairs section as of April instead of Prouza until a regular competition for the post.
LN writes that the new “Mrs Brexit” Machova, who graduated from the University of Economics (VSE) in Prague, majoring in international trade and European studies, has worked at the Government Office since 2014. At present she heads the European law and institutional support section that was established only recently in reaction to Britain’s decision to leave the EU.
Previously, Machova worked at the EC Representation in Prague, in the Senate, at the Finance Ministry, in diplomatic services in Brussels and in the CSOB bank.
Prouza knows Machova from the Finance Ministry where both worked when it was headed by current PM Bohuslav Sobotka (CSSD). Prouza was his deputy in 2004-2007, while Machova headed the ministry’s development and European integration department within the financial markets section in 2005-2008.
A similar team for Brexit, which Machova will coordinate now, works in all other EU members states.
She will have to see to it that the rights of Czechs living and working in Britain remain unchanged after Brexit.
“It is unacceptable that the rights of our citizens would worsen in the period between submitting Britain’s application for departure from the EU and signing the (British-EU) agreement,” Prouza told LN.
LN writes that apart from the Brexit team at the Government Office, the cabinet established a 30-member working group for Brexit and the EU reform last June, including representatives of various ministries, trade unions and industry. The group met on Tuesday most recently.
Machova is to prepare documents for Sobotka, who is negotiating on behalf of the Czech Republic at the EU summits dealing with Brexit, by April 10. The first topic the EU wants to open during the talks is the free movement of people or the rules for EU citizens working in Britain in the future, in which the Czech Republic is immensely interested.
Other Brexit-related topics are supposed to be on the agenda of a new government that will emerge from the October general election, LN writes.
The talks on the Brexit agreement between London and Brussels should be completed by the autumn of 2018 if everything runs smoothly. Then the European Parliament must confirm it, LN adds.