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Joint Statement of the Highest Constitutional Officials of the Czech Republic on Foreign Policy

9/12/2018

The President of the Czech Republic, the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Minister of Defence of the Czech Republic met at the Prague Castle on September 12, 2018, to discuss foreign policy:

  1. The highest constitutional officials coordinated their foreign missions for this year and agreed on the importance and necessity of a more intensive coordination of incoming visits of foreign partners to the Czech Republic.
  2. The constitutional officials dealt with the issue of restrictive measures (international sanctions) as an instrument for the enforcement of international law, human rights or democratic principles. Concerning the sanction regime of the EU against the Russian Federation, the officials stated that the reasons, which led to the introduction of the sanctions, persist, and called for fulfilment of the Minsk Agreements by all parties involved. The officials also agreed that a complex and open discussion on this topic at the level of the European Council would be useful, including the assessment of the economic and political effectiveness of the sanctions in connection with the procedure of their extension. The Czech Republic will, of course, respect the results of this discussion.
  3. The highest constitutional officials discussed the preparation of the strategic dialogue with Israel, including common projects and goals, and agreed on the benefits of regular intergovernmental consultations with Israel for development of mutual bilateral relations. The officials were also informed about the content, focus and objectives of the official visit of the President of the Czech Republic to Israel in November, including the state of preparations for the opening of the Czech House in Jerusalem. It is to be the first step with the intention to relocate the Embassy of The Czech Republic to Jerusalem, in accordance with international law.
  4. In a situation of impending “trade wars” inter alia between the US and China, the EU, and others, the constitutional officials discussed the current condition of the world multilateral trade rules. The officials agreed that for an open economy dependent on exports, such as the Czech Republic, it is important to maintain liberal trade and the authority of the World Trade Organisation. For the Czech Republic, protective measures would mean an increase of costs, increased unemployment and reduction in foreign demand with negative impact on Czech exports and the GDP. The Czech Republic should, therefore, not only actively support liberalisation and compliance with international trade rules, but also diversify Czech exports, support Czech companies in their prospecting new markets, with a particular focus on countries outside the EU, support innovative solutions and promote a more favourable position of the Czech Republic in global value chains.
  5. The constitutional officials confirmed the importance of the membership of the Czech Republic in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which is the guarantee of our security. They assessed the July NATO summit and its importance for the common defence as well as for transatlantic relations. The constitutional officials called for fulfilment of conclusions of this summit as well as the previous ones, including meeting the commitment from the Wales summit, i.e. towards the gradual allocation of 2% of GDP on defence spending and towards using 20% of this amount for investments by 2024. The officials also stressed the need for deepening the cooperation between NATO and the EU. The constitutional officials supported the contribution of The Czech Republic to ensuring the defence of the Alliance as well as projecting stability in its neighbourhood. This is achieved by both reinforced participation in the Alliance missions and operations, out of which our presence in Afghanistan is particularly important from the perspective of the fight against international terrorism, and continuation of the partner countries support. The participants confirmed their interest to commemorate in a dignified manner both the 20th anniversary of the accession of the Czech Republic to NATO as well as the 70th anniversary of the establishment of NATO next year, with main commemorative events taking place on the 12th of March 2019 at the Prague Castle and in the Czernin Palace.
  6. With respect to Brexit, the constitutional officials expressed the interest to preserve the closest possible relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom in all areas, while maintaining the balance of rights and obligations of an arrangement of the future relationship settlement. In the negotiations on the exit of the United Kingdom from the EU, the Czech Republic supports the common positions of the EU27 and the Chief Negotiator of the European Commission. It has been and remains the priority to preserve the EU’s internal market and to maintain the indivisibility of its four freedoms, to ensure the security in Europe and to protect the interests of Czech citizens and companies. A financial outage in the EU budget caused by Brexit must be solved as well.
  7. In accordance with the Policy Statement of the Government of the Czech Republic, the constitutional officials agreed that the Czech Republic will continue in more pronounced, more proactive and more flexible response to foreign-policy threats, such as massive illegal migration or terrorism. The officials agreed on correctness of the rejection of an involuntary redistribution of migrants. At the same time, they called for an increased activity in resolution of conflicts in areas, which generate illegal migration, and for more efficient and increased development cooperation. The Czech Republic will continue to promote a change of rules of the Common European Asylum System, which prevents from misusing the asylum rules for illegal entry into Europe and which enables to preserve the system for those who really need protection.
  8. The constitutional officials agreed on the importance of the V4 presidency in 2019-2020 and the second presidency of the Czech Republic in the Council of the European Union in the second half of 2022. The officials will get back to a more detailed discussion about the priorities for these and other presidencies at their next meeting. The constitutional officials also discussed the support of current candidatures (incl. the national position on the candidature for the organisation of the World Expo 2025).

Jiří Ovčáček, Director of the Press Department and Spokesman for the President

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