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PM Sobotka to attend Eastern Partnership, 16+1 summits

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Prague, Nov 21 (CTK) – Outgoing Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka will take part in a summit of the Eastern Partnership project in Brussels on Friday and a summit of Central and East European countries and China (16+1) in Budapest on Monday, the Government Office told CTK on Tuesday.

In Budapest, he is to talk to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

This will probably be one of Sobotka’s last foreign trips in the post of prime minister. His government will hand in its resignation after the end of the constituent session of the lower house of Czech parliament that started on Monday.

The 5th summit of the Eastern Partnership is to confirm the engagement of the European Union in Eastern Europe and set future prospects in order to reinforce stability and resilience of the partner countries, the Czech Government Office said.

The summit will end with a joint declaration setting the goals in practical cooperation until 2020, it said.

Eastern Partnership focuses on the relations between the EU and six East European countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The project has been one of the priorities of the Czech foreign policy. The Czech Republic contributed to its creation and hosted its first summit in 2009.

On Monday, Sobotka will take part in a meeting of 16 Central and East European countries with China for the fourth time. This meeting will mainly focus on economic cooperation. This group was formed on the initiative of China and its first meeting was held in Warsaw in April 2012.

Sobotka will also attend an economic and financial forum in Budapest in which several Czech firms are going to participate.

Since the October general election, Sobotka’s centre-left government, comprised of his Social Democrats (CSSD), ANO and Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), has been dealing only with pressing matters. It plans to hold two regular meetings by the end of the year and one special meeting after the parliamentary constituent session at which it will approve its resignation.

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