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Hollande, Zeman to meet in Prague on Wednesday

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Prague, July 25 (CTK) – French President Francois Hollande will meet President Milos Zeman during his visit to the Czech Republic on Wednesday, Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek said on Twitter on Monday.

The meeting at the Prague Castle, seat of Czech heads of state, will also be attended by Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO).

At first, Hollande was scheduled to come last week, but due to the terrorist attack in Nice, that claimed 84 lives, he cancelled the visit.

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has said on Twitter he will also meet Hollande.

Sobotka wants to discuss the closing of the gap between the old and new EU countries in the sphere of economic and living standards.

“I would also like to stress the need to protect the EU outer border, a resolute fight against terrorism and the question of the establishment of a joint European military,” he added in a press release.

“Europe’s security and prosperity must be a priority,” Sobotka said.

After the end of Monday’s tripartite meeting (government, trade unions, employers), Josef Stredula, chairman of the CMKOS trade union umbrella organisation, asked Sobotka to also discuss a potential strike in the TPCA car maker in Kolin, central Bohemia, owned by a French-Japanese company, with Hollande.

Two weeks ago, the local trade union approved the strike by a vote, but has not yet declared it. It insists on raising the wages by 1350 crowns a month, while the company management has decided to increase them by only 700 crowns.

According to the original schedule, Hollande was to meet Zeman and Sobotka within his three-day tour of five European countries in order to intensify European cooperation after the Brexit referendum.

The security situation will also be discussed at the Prague Castle.

“The topics of the meeting are clear: terrorist attacks in the EU, the migration crisis, the future of the EU after the Brexit,” Ovcacek has told CTK.

Hollande will be welcomed at the Prague Castle at noon, which will be followed by an eye-to-eye meeting with Zeman, Ovcacek added.

A working lunch will be part of the programme, he said.

Zeman met Hollande in September 2014 during his visit to Paris when he invited him to Prague. Sobotka met Hollande in March.

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