Premier Zeman in Belgium
Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman has been on a tour of Benelux countries this week, discussing cooperation in the economic sphere, and the Czech Republic's bid for European Union membership. On Monday he visited Belgium, where EU expansion was the primary focus of talks. Olga Szantova has this report.
Belgium will be taking over the rotating presidency of the European Union in the second half of this year, and the Czech Republic's EU accession hopes were at the top of Prime Minister Zeman's agenda during talks in Belgium. 2001 has been called a watershed year for the EU expansion process. Only last week, the prime minister visited Sweden, which currently holds the EU presidency, where he held talks on the same subject. At a press conference in Brussels on Monday Mr Zeman emphasized his government's determination to join the EU: Mr Zeman's counterpart, Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, praised existing trade relations between the two countries, and spoke optimistically about their future, after the Czech Republic joins the EU. Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman was evidently pleased with the outcome of the talks in Belgium and expressed his satisfaction in his typical style: