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PM: Prague wants equal rights for Czech employees in UK

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Prague, Oct 14 (CTK) – The Czech Republic wants Czechs to be able to work in the United Kingdom under the same conditions as British citizens, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said after meeting Czech members of the European Parliament on Friday.

He said the Czech government and Czech MEPs should agree on a joint position before the forthcoming negotiations about the British departure from the European Union.

Protection of Czech employees on the British labour market is one of the key points of the official Czech position, Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said.

“We want our people who work in the United Kingdom and those who will work there in future to do their jobs under the same conditions as the Britons. At the same time, we would like to open the European market to the British. We simply want the relations to be good, if possible,” Sobotka said.

He said he expects the negotiations about Brexit to be very long and very complicated.

Czech MEP Tomas Zdechovsky (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) said he believes that the talks about Brexit may last longer than two years, which is the period of time set by the European treaties for the negotiations.

Zdechovsky said the statements made by the British government on Brexit seemed naive to him.

“I cannot imagine anybody negotiating a better partnership when he is outside a club than they had when they were members of the club,” he said.

Sobotka and Zdechovsky agreed that the meeting of Czech MEPs and the government was very useful and showed readiness to cooperate.

All EP groups that have Czech members participated in the meeting on Friday.

Czechs have 21 members in the 748-seat European Parliament. Seven of them (four for TOP 09/Mayors and three for KDU-CSL) are members of the strongest EP group, the European People’s Party (EPP).

Four CSSD MEPs are part of the second biggest Socialists and Democrats (S&D), four ANO movement members belong to the Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) group, three Communists (KSCM) are members of the United Left (GUE/NGL), two Civic Democrats (ODS) of the Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) and one MEP elected for the non-parliamentary Party of Free Citizens (SSO) is a member of the Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) group.

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