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ANO, Social Democrats to discuss controversial issues

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Prague, March 20 (CTK) – Prime Minister Andrej Babis’s ANO and the Czech Social Democrats (CSSD) want to discuss the topics that might impede the government cooperation on Wednesday, Environment Minister Richard Brabec (ANO) told journalists on Tuesday.

There is the chance that the discussion may be closed by the middle of next week.

Babis met Social Democrat leader Jan Hamacek in the Chamber of Deputies, but Brabec declined to comment on the details of their talks.

Brabec said the two parties’ experts discussed the justice and foreign policy, while Labour and Industry Minister Jaroslava Nemcova (ANO) spoke about social policy.

On Wednesday, the negotiations are to focus on education, environment, agriculture and health.

The crucial meeting is to discuss the finances and taxes. It is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

Brabec said he expected a clash there.

“Our views of taxes completely differ. ANO does not want to increase taxes, while the CSSD prefers a considerable rise in them,” he added.

He spoke about the Social Democrats’ plan to introduce a progressive taxation of individuals’ incomes and the sector tax.

The two parties also largely differ on welfare benefits and pensions.

The Social Democrats said on Tuesday they were interested in the labour, health and regional development ministries due to the support for housing construction.

The party also wants to have the ministries where ANO is facing a clash of interest because Babis is prosecuted over an EU subsidy fraud.

Its leaders also said the guarantees in the possible coalition were crucial.

“We do not want to enter an alliance in which our partner might circumvent us whenever he will want,” the Social Democrats said in their statement.

The two parties are conducting talks on their coalition government.

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