Milena Vicenova appointed new Czech ambassador to EU
Milena Vicenova, former agriculture minister, was been appointed by the Czech government on Wednesday to become the new Czech ambassador to EU. She will replace current ambassador Jan Kohout at the beginning of 2008, a year before the Czech Republic will assume the presidency.
"Yes, that is totally correct. One year in advance is the absolute minimum for the change in the position of the ambassador for the country to get ready for the presidency."
Do you consider that state of Czech preparations for the presidency to be sufficient for the time being?
"I hope so. Anyhow, we are now coming to the period when we have to speed up preparatory work with the maximum focus possible."
What do you plan to focus on as the ambassador? Are there any areas in which you plan to work more actively than in others?
"It will be of course the presidency in general. But coming back to my previous career and given the importance of the issue, I would like focus on the review of the common agricultural policy. The Czech presidency starts in January 2009 and that will be just the period when the so-called health-check of the common agriculture policy will be ready. It will be the right time to discuss the future of the agriculture policy. We are aware of the fact that 40 percent of the EU budget goes to the common agriculture policy. This figure is to be decreased in the future. Agriculture is in fact one of the most difficult tasks of the European policy; that's why I would like to focus on this issue."
Are you going to work towards the liberalization of agricultural policies?
"Exactly. I would also welcome the simplification of the common agricultural policy. It is not a secret that the legislation in this field is really too heavy, too complicated. I welcome the activities of Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel who has made some great efforts towards liberalization and simplification of the common agriculture policy."
The Czech Republic is known as one of the most active EU countries in supporting human rights elsewhere in the world including Cuba and Belarus. Are you going to continue with this Czech policy?
"Yes. I would like to continue. I fully agree with this position of the Czech Republic. I will also follow the government's declaration. I am ready to continue in this policy."
There are some issue where the policies of the European Union and those of the Czech Republic differ. One of those is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. What is your position on that?
"It is too early to present my particular position. I am not totally familiar with the position of the Czech Republic and the EU and I would like to come back to this issue later."