At a meeting of Czech ambassadors in Prague on Monday, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš stressed the importance of being a reliable and active partner in the EU and NATO. At the same time the head of government defended the country’s stance on migration and its decision not to join the Eurozone in the foreseeable future.
Czechs are the biggest opponents of the euro in the European Union,
suggests the latest Eurobarometer survey, quoted by Czech Television. Some
73 percent of Czech respondents in the poll said they were against the
common European currency.
In 2005, a year after the Czech Republic joined the EU, some 63 percent of Czechs were in favour of the euro. Last year, the most recent date for which figures are available, that had fallen to 22 percent.
On the opening day of the Re:publika festival in Brno Czech Prime Minister
Andrej Babiš reiterated his negative stand to euro adoption.
Speaking in a debate titled What Kind of EU Do We Want?, the prime minister said joining the euro was not a priority and he was happy with the Czech currency.
In the event of problems, the prime minister said he trusted the intervention of the National Bank which had proved beneficial in the past.
Mr. Babiš noted that in the case of Greece and Italy the common currency had been a reckless experiment.
The Czech Republic currently meets two out of four conditions for joining
the euro zone, according to the European Commission’s Convergence Report
reviewing member states’ progress towards euro adoption released on
The report concludes that the Czech Republic fulfils the criteria on public finances and long-term interest rate but doesn’t meet the price stability and the exchange rate criteria.
Along with the Czech Republic, the report covers another six EU member states that are legally committed to adopting the euro, which include Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Sweden. The single European currency is currently used by 19 EU member states.
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.
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