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Swedish, Czech PMs discuss trade and EU future in Stockholm

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Stockholm, Nov 3 (CTK special correspondent) – Promotion of cooperation in industry, trade and defence topped the talks between the Czech and Swedish prime ministers, Bohuslav Sobotka and Stefan Lofven, respectively, on Thursday.

Sobotka said Sweden is a trade and investment partner with one of the biggest potentials.

Sobotka and Lofven also discussed the future of the European Union. They said the EU is a guarantee of stability.

The Czech Republic and Sweden want to develop cooperation in research, digitisation and innovative technologies. Promoting cooperation in energy is also important, Sobotka and Lofven said in their joint statement.

“Sweden is one of the most important Nordic partners of the Czech Republic. It is one of the 20 largest trade partners of ours and the volume of trade exchange between the two countries has been permanently increasing in both directions,” Sobotka said.

He added that he would like to bring new Swedish investors to the Czech Republic.

Sobotka and Lofven agreed on the need to preserve the European Union as a guarantee of stability, prosperity and security on the continent.

Europe must be cohesive and countries on the continent must cooperate, Sobotka said.

He said Britain’s decision to leave the EU makes cooperation even more important.

Sobotka and Lofven, who both head social democratic parties, said open and free trade is of key importance. They also agreed on the need to pay attention to the position of the young in the EU.

Sobotka said his visit also aims to “overcome certain divides which appear from time to time between the richer, older (EU) member countries and perhaps the Visegrad Four countries.”

The Visegrad Four is comprised of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.

Sobotka said the Czech Republic and Sweden disagree mainly on ways to deal with the migrant crisis and to boost cooperation in defence.

At a press conference on Thursday, Sobotka and Lofven said they support promotion of cooperation in the security and defence fields.

However, Lofven said Sweden does not support the idea of a joint European military.

That is why Sobotka wants to more cooperate with countries such as France, Germany or Hungary.

Sweden and the Czech Republic also agreed on the need for continued support for the Eastern partnership, within which the EU cooperates with six post-Soviet countries.

They are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

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