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The Czech Republic will seeks to use its presidency of the European Union in the second half of 2022 to build stronger ties with old member states as a counterweight to relations with its traditional regional allies Poland and Hungary, which are in conflict with Brussels, writes Bloomberg.
“We have a system for very close cooperation with our partners in the Visegrad Group”, which also includes Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, said Czech Minister for European Affairs Mikulás Beck. “This is good and productive for us, but we need to go further and create something similar with other countries,” he added.
The Czech Republic has taken a stand in support of the EU against Poland and Hungary on a number of issues, from attitudes towards LGBT communities to the independence of the Polish judiciary, Beck said. “Our position in their dispute over the rule of law with the EU will definitely be different from theirs,” he said.
Last week, the EU gave Poland a two-month ultimatum to resolve “serious doubts” about the impartiality of the Constitutional Court, deepening the crisis after the court ruled that some EU directives were unconstitutional. The Commission issued a warning to Hungary and Poland in November, taking the first step in tightening up a mechanism that could ultimately deprive them of billions of euros.
A Polish court ruling could have “destabilizing” consequences for the entire region, said Beck, a member of the coalition government that took power on December 17.
The new government led by Petar Fiala, he promised to continue cooperation with the Visegrad Four, established in 1991 by the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland to promote their accession to the EU and NATO.
The former Czech prime minister, billionaire Andrej Babiš, actively promoted ties with the group, saying Central European countries could have more influence in the EU if they are together. Babisch also had disputes with the EU, which said in April that he had broken the rules over the control of trust funds linked to his Agrofert business empire.
The Czech Republic may ally with Germany, which is its largest trading partner, and with Austria on a key European initiative to halt car sales, moving on fossil fuels by 2030, amid efforts to negotiate discounts on graphics and possible financial assistance for its automotive industry, said Beck.
) It will also work with France to recognize EU nuclear energy as clean energy in the bloc’s decarbonisation process, he added.
“Why let’s not join forces “with other EU member states where we have common economic interests, Beck asked. “It is not a question of giving up existing partnerships, although we do not agree on some issues, but of creating new ones with other member states,” he added.
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