The country’s ambassadors around the world should be proud of the Czech Republic and talk up its achievements. That was the message from Andrej Babiš to Czech diplomats currently gathered in Prague. The prime minister also emphasised the importance of the Visegrad Four and repeated his opposition to euro adoption in a broad-ranging speech.
The five-day gathering of diplomats opened on Monday with a wide-ranging speech on foreign policy from the Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš.
“I believe you have to be proud of the Czech Republic, because the Czech Republic is doing very well indeed, even though you may read otherwise in the media. The results are clear. We are among the best in Europe, with the lowest unemployment. The public finances are great. We’re growing, we’re getting rich. And above all we are a safe country.”
Mr. Babiš said the EU was crucial to the Czech Republic, with 85 percent of all Czech exports going to the bloc and membership offering more pros than cons.
He also hailed the Visegrad Four, of which the Czech Republic currently holds the presidency.
“The V4 has clearly demonstrated its strength, in the framework of migration, of quotas and of rejecting the Osaka deal. Because we had a different opinion on that. All of the V4 prime ministers fought for their own countries, just as I fought for the Czech Republic. Not for a political party, and not for groups within the European Union.”
The Czech leader also expressed regret over the UK’s departure from the EU, saying he hoped a no-deal Brexit would not come to pass.
He also reiterated his opposition to the Czech Republic adopting the common European currency.
“I absolutely don’t agree that the eurozone needs an independent budget. There are various arguments that we should enter the eurozone. However, for reasons that I have often stated, I don’t think we want to support increasing collective responsibility at the expense of the responsibility of individual states. So we definitely don’t want to accelerate euro adoption.”
At the close of his address Andrej Babiš turned to domestic politics, specifically the recent political crisis surrounding the post of arts minister, and called on ambassadors to assure partners of the country’s probity.
“We have freedom and democracy, and everybody adheres to the constitution. I definitely do. I think you should refute untrue information about our country. Local journalists should have the chance to learn directly from you what is currently going on in our country. So I’d be glad if communication with the media was a regular part of reports from diplomatic offices and the activities of ambassadors.”
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