Bela pod Bezdezem, Central Bohemia, Aug 23 (CTK) – Czech PM Bohuslav Sobotka wants to discuss the protection of the EU, infrastructure, rail connection and the fight against organised crime, mainly drug crime, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during her visit to Prague on Thursday, he said on Tuesday.
Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) spoke to journalists at the ceremonial opening of a sport and recreation centre near Bela pod Bezdezem.
He said the Czech Republic has built very good relations with the neighbouring countries in recent years.
“We have excellent contacts, we are capable of cooperating on issues that are important for us. I would be glad if the visit focused on the positive issues that connect us,” Sobotka said, referring to Merkel’s visit.
He said he and Merkel will seek ways to make the EU more effective and acceptable for citizens. It is necessary to enhance people’s support to European integration, he said.
Sobotka admitted that he and Merkel differ on the ways to cope with migration. The Czech Republic rejects refugee quotas and it is far more cautious in accepting refugees from regions with a very different culture and religion, he said.
“On the other hand, we share the view that the migrant crisis can only be coped with jointly [by EU members],” Sobotka said.
For example, the Schengen outer border may be reinforced or a common European army established, he said, adding that he wants to discuss the later issue with Merkel.
The German government’s spokesman previously said the main topic Merkel will discuss in Prague is the preparation of the EU summit in Bratislava scheduled for September 16. In Britain’s absence, the summit is to discuss the decision by British voters to leave the EU.
Merkel will also meet President Milos Zeman in Prague and visit the Czech Technical University (CVUT), where she is to speak about the future of the EU, the continuation of the Czech-German strategic dialogue and cooperation in science, research and modern technologies.
Sobotka and Merkel will meet again at a summit of the Visegrad Four (V4) group countries in Warsaw on Friday, which is to discuss the upcoming EU summit, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the anti-Russia sanctions, the EU’s relations with Belarus and the situation in Turkey.
The V4 is comprised of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.