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Tisková konference ministra Svobody, komisaře EK Verheugena a velvyslance Bojera

 

Přepis tiskové konference ze dne 29.8.2002, které se zúčastnil ministr zahraničních věcí C.Svoboda, komisař Evropské komise G.Verheugen a dánský velvyslanec J.Bojer.(2.9.2002)

Tisková konference ministra zahraničních věcí C. Svobody, evropského komisaře
G. Verheugena a dánského velvyslance J. Bojera dne 29.8.2002





Ministr zahraničních věcí C. Svoboda:

Dámy a pánové, toto je nová tradice zahájená naším ministerstvem, a to že je pozván na pravidelnou poradu našich vedoucích misí zahraniční host. Při této poradě bylo zdůrazněno, jak EU pomohla ČR s povodněmi, respektive s odstraněním následků škod. Pozitivně se na tomto procesu ukazuje, že rozdíly mezi členskými a nečlenskými zeměmi se zmenšují. Tyto povodně vedou k iniciaci vytvoření nového fondu, ze kterého by se mohly vzniklé škody hradit. Je to pozitivní zpráva, která zároveň ukazuje důležitý politický rozměr, protože EU rychle a flexibilně pomohla. Současně je to jasný důkaz pro naše občany, že kdybychom už dnes byly členy EU, tak je pomoc větší.
Z dialogu mezi panem komisařem G. Verheugenem a našimi velvyslanci opět vyplynulo, že proces rozšíření jde v původním rámci, a že očekáváme jasné a definitivní rozhodnutí na summitu v Kodani, protože proces od Kodaně ke Kodani povede k definitivnímu rozhodnutí, že ČR v první skupině vstoupí do EU.

Evropský komisař G. Verheugen:

Thank you very much. First of all, I would like to say that I felt deeply honoured to have the opportunity to address the heads of missions of the Czech Republic. I must say that it is the second time in my life that I had an opportunity to address such a high-ranking audience. The first time was during my short period as a member of the German government. This is only the second time and an affair that was very important to discuss with Czech ambassadors - our vision of the future of Europe - and we had a very interesting and constructive debate.
After the meeting with Prime Minister Špidla and minister Svoboda I can say that we have already established a very positive, a very constructive and a very friendly working relationship. I can assure you that the co-operation between the European Commission and the Czech government is now in probably the best possible state. Of course, we use the opportunity to discuss the European reaction after the flood disaster in your country. Of course, it is not very difficult for me to understand how deeply affected, seriously affected your country is because as a German I followed closely since three weeks every day what is happening in these areas. I have seen the areas and I must say that I have never seen in my life a similar event. It was really like war what I have seen in these regions.
It is clear that our possibilities to support a non-member state, even if it is a future member state, in such situations are limited but I can tell you that we have exhausted our possibilities to the limit and I think that the present situation makes it very clear that the membership in the EU will give additional value for the Czech people. One of the reasons why we reacted so quickly is to demonstrate that the EU is not a bureaucratic machinery but that the EU is an instrument to serve the interests of people and I am very happy that we could do that and I am very happy that we managed yesterday in the Commission to endorse everything what was discussed in Berlin a couple of days ago in the presence of Prime Minister Špidla and minister Svoboda. The Commission yesterday made a political decision to make a proposal for the establishment of a new financial instrument for disaster relief. That shall be available before the end of this year.
Then of course we used the opportunity to take stock of the present state of play and the process of accession and as I have already said in the press point after the meeting with Prime Minister, there is nothing really new what we must discuss today. Strategy and timetable are unchanged, we exchanged our views and we shared the view that our objective is realistic and that we have a very good chance to conclude our negotiations in Copenhagen before the end of this year. Then the process of political decision-making in member states and future member states will follow. We have discussed some aspects of that process and we share the view that with a very, very high probability the Czech Republic will be a member of the EU in the first half of the year 2004.
Let me make one political remark that I have not made so far in the Czech Republic or other countries. I think it is very important to understand that the moment of accession to the EU will not be the end of the process of transformation in a country like the Czech Republic but it will be a very decisive moment because it will make definitely the transformation irreversible.

Otázka BBC World Service:

I have a question for Mr. Verheugen concerning the new funds for disaster relief. Quite understandably, your answers today as far as how much money will go where are rather vague because the process has only started. Nevertheless, one would assume that you have at least some idea as far as the time frame is concerned and just roughly when about we can expect the money. You just said it was before the end of this year but is it coming in November, December, is it coming in October?

Evropský komisař G. Verheugen:

Well, I think it is impossible to answer that question today. There are too many players. The first step is done, the political decision is there, the formal proposal will come very soon, in less than three weeks and then the Council and Parliament will act. The Danish presidency is very supportive and has promised already a fast track procedure. What we want to establish is a fund within the existing budget so that it makes it much easier, politically and financially and legally easier within the budget and that would guarantee that the fresh money is already available before the end of this year. That will be the 2002 budget and then in the 2003 budget we establish the fund again but with a higher amount of money. The idea that was discussed was to start with 500 million in 2002 and then to try to get 1 billion in 2003 and in the following years. But I really cannot tell you exactly when the new legislation will be in place. But I think the prospect is very good. My view is that everybody understands the need to do it and it will be very difficult for a member state or for a member of parliament to reject the idea because if you reject it you simply take the risk that your country is the next country that is affected and then you would have to explain why you rejected the idea of European disaster relief fund.

Otázka Hospodářské noviny:

Máme tomu rozumět tak, že rychlost čerpání nebo rychlost vypracování našich požadavků na tento pomocný fond je více méně zkouškou české administrativy před vstupem do EU, kdy víme, že zrovna tato oblast je často kritizována v dílčích zprávách, které podepisuje pan Verheugen?

Evropský komisař G. Verheugen:

I think we must make a clear distinction here. The fund that will come in the future is unknown. We do not know the rules and therefore we do not know what the Czech government has to do if it wants to participate. I cannot discuss that. But for the other part of the business budget your question is very important. The money that is available for the Czech Republic, the money that is newly allocated for that purpose - for reconstruction and limitation of flood damage, indeed it depends on decisions of the Czech government which projects will be financed from that money but my discussions this morning show clearly that the process of preparation has already begun and I expect that the projects will be identified very soon. There is another element which I would like to mention, I discussed that with Prime Minister this morning, in a couple of months you will know how much money the Czech Republic will get in 2004 and in following years from the structural operations of the EU. You will be a member of the EU and the structural funds will be available for you and we will know how much money we have as a budget for the Czech Republic. The exact figure will be known and I advise the Czech governmental to be ready to prepare projects which can be financed in 2004 because it is absolutely possible to use the money that will come in 2004 from the structural funds for bigger projects which are not completed in 2004 and are still related to the damage that happened after the flood.

Otázka MF Dnes:

I would like to ask a little bit more on the money that has already been promised. As you said it is really up to the Czech side to decide what the priorities are and which projects should be covered by the money. But is there any kind of idea, what you from the position of the European Commission, what areas should be covered, is there any particular area where you would like send the money?

Evropský komisař G. Verheugen:

Well, a part of the money comes from the instrument ISPA which is an instrument for infrastructure and environment. I would say that a very huge percentage of the projects which would have to be financed are related to infrastructure and environment so it fits. As far as PHARE is concerned, here the possibilities cover a very, very wide range. The system is decentralized and it is our principle that the future member states have to make proposals because as soon as they are member states they have to manage the funds and not the European Commission and I do not see why we should make an exception here. I fully trust that the Czech administration will propose useful projects in due time.

Otázka Prague Business Journal:

Question for both gentlemen. Do you fear that the problems created by the floods especially in the field of agriculture will complicate the spirit in discussions and negotiations in this area in the next few weeks and also in discussions of the overall contribution of the Czech Republic to the EU in the future.

Ministr zahraničí C. Svoboda:

Tato situace, která byla zapříčiněná povodněmi, má naopak podle našeho názoru i některé pozitivní dopady jako všechno, co je špatné a co působí škodu. Konstatuji mimořádné zlepšení vztahů s Rakouskou republikou a s dalšími sousedními státy a větší intenzitu spolupráce s EU. Takže pokud to bude mít efekt na negociace, tak to podle mého názoru bude dopad pozitivní, protože to ve věci vzájemné komunikace pomůže. Myslím si, že to výrazně pomůže ratifikačnímu procesu po uzavření akcesní smlouvy. Takže pokud jde o příspěvek ČR, tak o tom se zatím nevedla řeč . Zásadně samotný proces vstupu ČR do EU to může pouze pozitivně ovlivnit.

Evropský komisař G. Verheugen:

I share the view of the minister Svoboda. Politically I think it helps because we see not only Austria and the Czech Republic in the same boat. We see Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic in the same boat and starting a joint political initiative and a successful initiative. I think it is the first time in the history of the EU that two member states started an initiative together with one future member state. I think it is very important. Economically, it is today perhaps a little bit early to make an assessment. I think that the terrible loss of public and private property certainly has a negative effect on the economic situation of the country and that is very tragic because the economic performance of the Czech Republic was very good and this is a serious, sad fact but nobody can hold the country responsible for that. This is a catastrophe. On the other side, you will have a stronger demand and there will be some positive economic aspects. But I do not think that it, at the end of the day, will in any way affect the economic assessment of the Czech Republic that we have.

Dánský velvyslanec J. Bojer:

I am very grateful to be offered this opportunity to speak to the representatives of the press at Commissioner Verheugen's press conference representing in a way the dual nature of the leadership of the EU, the communitarian side represented by the Commission and the intergovernmental side represented by these six months of presidency of Denmark. In this very concrete situation of the flooding in the Czech Republic this has also been represented in the nature of assistance that has been given to the Czech Republic. As Foreign Minister Svoboda pointed out in an article last week in the press there is assistance from the Commission coming out of the community budget which is of a long-term structural nature and then there is at the same time the bilateral assistance coming from member states which is very short-term to address the immediate emergency that we have here. I must say that we have been extremely satisfied with the cooperation with the Czech authorities and the speed with which they have been able to identify their needs and the flexibility they have shown in receiving what was offered to them. Thank you very much.

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