EU values - United in Diversity?

12-12-2003

The candidate countries that will join the EU next year have brought new layers of diversity to an already diverse EU. Did they expect it to be so difficult to reach agreement on how the EU should function in the future? Pavel Telicka is the Czech Republics Ambassador to the EU

"It was clear that somehow more or less in parallel with the enlargement process we will see a new attempt at improving the institutions - we will subscribe to that - and I think in this respect a failure now in terms of not arriving at a treaty, a constitution treaty, I think that would have quite serious implications for the European Union."

That is, in the public, or the decision makers of the European Union?

"I think it's about public opinion but it's also about the atmosphere inside the European Union. And it is in our interest to have a European Union that is a strong one, well functioning, with a very strong position of the Czech Republic inside."

Well let's talk about the big debate and it's to do with the weighting of votes and the relative influence of large countries vis a vis small ones. What's the Czech Republic's position on this?

"In the accession negotiations many people have said, you know, do you support the Polish position etc. but what was the reality? The reality was that we had our interests at stake and it was the Czech Republic that was the last to leave the negotiating table. So we've got our views, our positions, we've got our interests. Of course I'm prepared to answer the question of how we view the Polish case but I think it's more important to say we've got a few issues of our own and one of them is definitely the weighting of votes. We are looking for a parity."

12-12-2003