Eastern European countries in the European Union who are net recipients of
EU funds, should count on receiving less from the EU budget in the future,
Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has said.
He made the statement in an interview for Austrian daily Der Standard.
The chancellor said that the Visegard Four’s view was at variance with Austria’s when it came to the EU’s budget plans. The V4 is made up of Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Kurz told the daily that the Austrian government saw eye-to-eye with the V4 on other topics, such as the rigorous protection of the EU’s external borders to clamp down on illegal migration.
Less than half of Czechs aged under 35 have a positive view of the European
Union, according to research published by the Bratislava-based Globsec
institute. The survey found that young Czechs were more sceptical regarding
the EU than their peers in the other Visegrad Four countries, Slovakia,
Poland and Hungary.
Some 43.8 percent of Czech 18- to 24-year-old survey respondents said they regarded the EU as a good thing. Among those aged 25 to 34 the figure was 41.3 percent.
If there were a referendum on whether to remain in the EU, just under half of young Czechs would vote for staying. A quarter of those surveyed said they would opt for leaving.
The Czech Republic gained CZK 55.4 billion more from the European Union
budget than it paid in last year. The figure stems from data released by
the Czech Ministry of Finance on Wednesday.
In 2016 the country made a net gain of CZK 80.6 billion from the EU’s coffers. Ministry officials said this was because that year and in 2015 there was a cluster of payments from the 2007 to 2013 budget period.
The Czech Republic has been a net beneficiary in terms of funding every year since it joined the EU in 2004.
The speaker of the lower house of Parliament Radek Vondráček paid his
first working visit to Brussels on Tuesday, emphasizing the Czech
Republic’s pro-EU orientation in talks with EC President Jean-Claude
Juncker. Vondráček said it was essential to assure the European
Commission of the governing ANO party’s commitment to the EU.
The visit came just a day after Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš held one-on-one talks behind closed doors with the EC president on migrant-related issues and the EC’s decision to sue the Czech Republic for its reluctance to accept asylum seekers. He stressed the importance of communicating the Czech stand and seeking allies among EU member states.
Outgoing Czech prime minister and ANO leader Andrej Babiš is due to take
part in a series of meetings with top European Union officials on Monday
afternoon and into the evening.
One of the meetings will be with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker. The talks should focus on the future shape of the EU, including the make-up of various funds and the overall budget, as well as the thorny issue of migration.
The Czech Republic and other Central European countries have taken a stand against quotas aimed at distributing immigrants who mostly arrived in Italy and Greece.
Attending the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday, outgoing Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, outlined his vision of a strong and united EU that would successfully preserve and develop what it had already achieved. Mr. Babiš is the first Czech top political leader to attend the forum in 18 years.
In his Christmas message to the nation, President Miloš Zeman highlighted the country’s economic successes, telling Czechs they had much to be proud of. As regards the country’s political future, Miloš Zeman ruled out early elections, telling politicians they would have to play the cards they had been dealt in the elections.