French president meets Czech counterpart and prime minister on Prague visit

French president François Hollande met with Czech president Miloš Zeman and later met prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka on a visit to Prague on November 30. The talks with Zeman touched on the future of the EU, defense cooperation, terrorism, immigration, and high speed rail links. The two presidents agreed that a dispute over French moves to impose the French minimum wage on Czech lorry drivers passing through the country should be dealt with bilaterally by ministers of industry and trade. It is the first visit by a French president to the Czech Republic since Hollande’s predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, came in 2011 for the funeral of Václav Havel. Hollande had to cancel previous trips to Prague at the last minute. Sobotka urged Hollande to encourage French companies in the Czech Republic to increase the wages of their workers. He also agreed that the EU should not slip into a series of geographical blocs, a fear that has been expressed in the past in France with regard to the Visegrad Four grouping of Central European states.