The Czech finance minister, Ivan Pilny, on Tuesday attended a meeting of
the Eurozone focusing on the fiscal rules governing the Eurozone and on the
future of the banking union.
The presence of the Czech finance minister was in response to a request from the Czech government for the Czech Republic to be granted observer status at Eurozone meetings despite the fact that it has not yet adopted the single currency. According to Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka being involved in the debate would help prepare the country for Eurozone membership in due time.
The Czech Republic and Croatia have also been invited to attend the December Euro Summit as observers.
One of the important issues discussed at the two-day EU summit in Brussels was proposed changes in the mechanism of EU decision-making, which would allow some EU members to push ahead with integration faster. For the Czech Republic, which is still outside the Eurozone, this could present a serious problem.
The outgoing Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, says the country
should adopt the euro as soon as possible in order to remain at the core of
the European Union, Novinky.cz reported. Speaking at a congress of the
Confederation of Industry, the Social Democrat PM said there was no other
path open to the Czech Republic.
Mr. Sobotka said all modernisation measures would function only if the country were members of the EU’s free internal market and part of a core of economically strong member states.
He also said that Czech politicians who had spoken about the country leaving the bloc were “crazies and semi-crazies”.
Slovakia can serve as an example to the Czech Republic as regards adoption
of the euro and the growth of the minimal wage, the speaker of the Czech
lower house Jan Hamáček said on an official visit to Slovakia on
Mr. Hamáček also praised the excellent relations between the two neighbor states, saying they were the best in history. It seems we needed to break-up in order to meet again in the European Union, Hamáček told reporters in Bratislava.
The speaker of the Slovak lower house Andrej Danko noted that the two countries had a great deal in common and faced similar problems.
The Czech Republic is catching up with the average wealth of euro-zone
countries, according to the Ministry of Finance.
It says average Czech per capital GDP rose this year to 85 percent of the average in the 19 euro zone countries from 83 percent last year.
And, it says the rise will continue next year to 86 percent.
The placing is better than Slovakia, Slovenia, Poland, Hungary, and Portugal.
But Czech costs are also seen rising as well from 63 percent of the euro zone average last year to 68 percent in 2018.
There’s little doubt that the European Union has gone through a lot of turbulence over the past few years and has scrambled to come up with new policies as a result. But the outgoing Czech prime minister believes it has boosted the country’s reputation in these difficult times and cast itself as a reliable and steady partner.
Slovakia’s prime minister, Robert Fico, has backed an idea put forward
last week by his Czech counterpart Bohuslav Sobotka that non-eurozone
members could gain observer status at meetings of EU finance ministers.
Prime Minister Fico backed the idea at a joint-meeting of the Czech and
Slovak governments at Lednice Chateau in the Czech Republic on Monday. Mr
Fico said Slovakia was happy to have adopted the common European currency
and called the process “inclusive”. The Czech Republic does not yet
have the euro nor has a date been set for joining the eurozone.
Other issues on the agenda on Monday included cooperation in the area of energy infrastructure, migration, the situation in Ukraine, and the upcoming 25th anniversary of the Velvet Divorce – which saw the Czech Republic and Slovakia split on January 1, 1993.
Czech ambassadors from around the world congregated in Prague this week for their annual round of consultations. Among the foreign policy issues on their agenda were security, economic diplomacy, EU-related matters and regional cooperation. During a small break in their busy agenda, I met with the Czech Ambassador to France Petr Drulák to talk about Franco-Czech relations, the country’s position in the EU and the role of the Visegrad alliance. I began by asking for his take on Prime Minister Sobotka’s recent proposal that the Czech Republic should