Current Affairs British PM Brown supports Czech EU presidency priorities
Czech PM Mirek Topolánek met with the head of the British government Gordon Brown in London on Thursday in the final stop of his tour of European capitals ahead of the Czech presidency of the European Union. After the meeting, Mr Brown said Britain endorsed the Czech EU presidency priorities, and said it was going to be in good hands.
London’ 10 Downing Street was the last stop for Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek in his diplomatic campaign ahead of the Czech presidency of the European Union. After several weeks of criticism and doubts from other EU countries, meeting Britain’s prime minister was as reassuring as ever for the Czech cabinet leader.
Mr Brown said Britain “strongly endorsed” Czech presidency priorities, specifically the focus on implementing the recently approved recovery plan for the European economy as well as the emphasis on the EU’s relations with its eastern neighbours. British support for the Czechs comes after some other EU countries, especially France, expressed serious doubts whether the Czech Republic will be able to follow up the successful presidency headed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
The Czech prime minister, for his part, sided with Gordon Brown on his rejection of work week limits, which the European Parliament wants to impose on all EU member states.
While the Czech economy has managed to stay afloat and has not plunged into recession, Mr Topolánek said his government was ready to adopt the same fiscal measures the UK cabinet did, should the economic growth sink into the red.
The UK will also support Czech focus on the project of Eastern Partnership Cooperation, which includes countries such as Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia and others. The British prime minister accepted Mr Topolánek’s invitation to an EU summit with these countries, which should be held at some point during the Czech presidency. Britain also supports EU’s enlargement to the western Balkans, with Croatia and Serbia aspiring to join the European Union.
The Czechs, on the other hand, are ready to work together with the UK to organise an EU summit with Pakistan, as the country is playing key security role in the region, where both countries have military presence with UK and Czech troops positioned in neighbouring Afghanistan.
One issue the Czech and British prime ministers did not mention was the
refusal, on the part of the fiercely eurosceptic Czech President, Václav
Klaus, to fly the EU flag over his office at Prague Castle, which earned
the Czechs criticism by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Mr Topolánek refused to comment on the issue when asked by reporters, but
he did have a message for the French president: during his visit to
Britain, Mr Topolánek said, he did not see any EU flags flying anywhere in