Czech PM attends first EU summit since taking office
Czech leader Petr Nečas is no stranger to EU summits, but Thursday’s which got underway in Brussels is his first as prime minister. Ahead of the summit, the PM made clear he would defend Czech interests and press two key issues: the need for automatic sanctions for the breach of EU budgetary regulations (which the summit aims to address) and to raise the pressure over Canadian visas which were reinstated for Czechs last year.
While milder in manner, Prime Minister Nečas has nevertheless made clear he too will defend Czech interests. At the EU summit, for example, he will be pushing for punitive measures for EU members who breach budgetary regulations to prevent, as he has said in the past, “another Greece”. On Thursday here’s what he had to say:
At the summit, the PM also fully intends to raise the issue of Canadian visas which were introduced for Czech citizens last year over the high number of asylum applications by Czech Romanies. Mr Nečas called the visas a matter of EU solidarity; while in the past the European Commission floated the idea of introducing visas for Canadian diplomats in response, it never took the step. Prime Minister Nečas again:
Besides visas and EU regulations, the Czech prime minister expressed indirect support for France at the summit on Thursday on another sensitive issue: that of France’s expulsion of hundreds of Bulgarian and Romanian Roma as part of its crack-down on crime and illegal migration, a move that has drawn vocal criticism from within the 27-member body. Speaking on Thursday Mr Nečas indirectly came to France’s defence, saying each EU state had a right to make sure its laws were observed.