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PM Sobotka: Britain should stay in EU

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Prague, Nov 13 (CTK) – The Czech Republic wants Britain to stay in the EU, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) told British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond during their meeting Friday.

Sobotka also said he was for the preservation of the free movement of people inside the EU and the same rights for the people from all EU countries.

Speaking about the conditions for Britain’s staying in the EU earlier this week, British Prime Minister David Cameron called for the limitation of the free movement people in the EU and for the reduction of the welfare payment for the EU citizens who come to Britain.

“We are ready to speak very pragmatically about the British proposals,” Sobotka said.

“We discussed all the four basic spheres. I think in three of them, the Czech Republic is able to negotiate on a joint, acceptable compromise along with other EU countries,” Sobotka told CTK after the meeting.

“In one sphere we did not agree. It is the question of equal rights of the citizens of all EU countries in whatever country they may be,” he added.

Sobotka told Hammond that the Czech Republic insisted on the preservation of the free movement within the EU.

He said this was an affair in which Prague could not imagine a compromise.

“We simply insist on no discrimination against EU citizens in any of EU members and on the preservation of the freedom of movement,” Sobotka said.

Sobotka said the British demands for reform of the EU would be discussed by the European Council.

Later on Friday, Hammond met his Czech counterpart Lubomir Zaoralek (CSSD).

At a press conference following the meeting, he said he is convinced that London´s reform proposals aim at a more effective and more flexible European Union that would focus on economic growth and creation of new jobs.

Zaoralek said they discussed both the proposals which Prague is ready to negotiate about and those which it considers a problem.

Hammond and Zaoralek also discussed issues such as the migrant crisis and the situation in Syria.

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