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Czech PM: Important EU decisions must be based on consensus

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Budapest, Jan 26 (CTK special correspondent) – The Visegrad Four (V4) countries, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, insist on significant EU decisions to be made on the basis of consensus, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis told reporters after the V4 summit on Friday.

He agreed on this with his Hungarian, Polish and Slovak counterparts, Viktor Orban, Mateusz Morawiecki and Robert Fico, respectively, at the summit in Budapest.

The outvoting of some EU member states, which happened in the case of the obligatory refugee quotas in 2015, must not be repeated, Babis said.

The Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, and Romania were against the quotas that were approved by a majority of the member states eventually. Babis called this unacceptable.

“The individual member states must be of a considerably stronger weight than they have been so far,” Babis said.

He also said the V4 countries would not strive for extending the group, but they would be seeking allies within the EU for particular issues, including migration.

Personal contacts are necessary to find allies in the EU, Babis said, adding that unlike his predecessor (Social Democrat PM Bohuslav Sobotka), he was creating such contacts.

“I have visited the Bulgarian PM and I went to Davos,” Babis said, adding that he met dozens of prime ministers at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Babis also said he might visit Finland and Portugal soon and meet Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz as well.

After the V4 summit on Friday, Babis had a bilateral meeting with Morawiecki and he is to meet Orban.

Babis said he would like to explain during further talks with representatives of the other EU members states and institutions that any other outvoting would be “a total disaster” for the Czech Republic that would have “a devastating impact on the EU image.”

The problem of the current Europe is that it is not ready to act, Babis also said.

“I am glad to have a minority government,” he told the summit, adding that such a cabinet can decide more efficiently, without any delay.

However, his ANO minority government resigned since the Chamber of Deputies did not vote confidence in it. President Milos Zeman accepted the resignation and entrusted Babis with talks on the formation of a new cabinet this week.

A joint trip of the V4 countries’ prime ministers to Libya was proposed at the Budapest summit on Friday, Babis said.

The Czech government will send about 225 million crowns to the EU’s fund for Africa, exactly in aid to Libya to tackle the migrant crisis. The Visegrad Four countries promised to contribute an equivalent of some 900 million crowns to the fund for Africa, each providing one quarter of the sum.

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