Mr President, Mr Minister, ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues.
I wanted to thank the minister for a very detailed overview of what was happening and discussed at the summit and in the Council. That was enough, I only chose three or four points on which I would like to remind the government of the things that will have to be done.
First, the declaration we heard and adopted at Versailles speaks of a total reversal of European history. Those who accepted this text spoke of Russian aggression against Ukraine. A total turning point in European history! This is something that also requires a complete turnaround on our part. I wanted to thank the minister for giving us such a clear commitment, also from the Czech government, to work on this candidacy, on this prospect for Ukraine within the EU, I also wanted to point out that the Ukrainians have need not only a political perspective, but also a civic, local, fair on the renewal of infrastructures, destroyed agglomerations, cities. Enormous efforts will be required. The upcoming Presidency of the Council of the EU for the Czech Republic is a great opportunity to do so. Our task is to give hope to the Ukrainians, the minister spoke about it, not only politically, but also that they will have a place to return, that water will flow to them, that they will have a place to live. These are very specific things that we can already work on today in places where Ukrainians can return.
The second thing in this resolution, or in this Versailles declaration, is to increase defense spending. In other words, the EU literally talks about developing defense capabilities. This is something to be welcomed because we do not live in a safe world.
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Thirdly, it is about reducing energy dependence. I wanted to thank the government here for what it is doing on this file. We have to see how, for example, working with companies and companies that do not know the state in which they will be able to resume their activities in Russia works. This is one of the points that I wanted to give the government a helping hand. Such instruments, which in times of peace, like the Czech Export Bank or EGAP, the insurance company that provided entrepreneurs with their activities in dangerous territories, found themselves in a completely new situation, a complete reversal of European history. We should therefore ask ourselves how these tools will respond to this, so as not to give false hopes to our businessmen that we can return to what is better called business as usual in good Czech or English. It will not be possible to return to normal good relations based on trust with Russia. We must therefore work creatively with our companies so that they can not only protect their interests in Russia, but also receive responsible information from the state about what is happening in Russia. Why am I talking about this? Because I looked at the pages of the EGAP or the CEB, the Czech Export Bank, there is no talk of a crisis, of a military aggression against Ukraine. Maybe after a month it would be time for us to start dealing with some things with entrepreneurs, because we need them, in their responsibility for our jobs, for our prosperity, to accompany them in a responsible way. We therefore inform companies that the situation is very serious, that it is a total reversal of European history, that the return to trading, to which they have been accustomed, will be very long, if not impossible, in the as they have been accustomed to.
The second thing concerns the reduction of strategic dependence. We must admit here that we are not only talking about Russia, but also about China. In February this year, China and Russia signed a partnership, a pact that guarantees both sides above-standard relations not only in the political field, but especially in the field of defense and security. In this pact, in a text adopted jointly by Moscow and Beijing, China undertakes to monitor the enlargement of NATO, who is a member and what is happening in Western Europe. It is a scandal. It must therefore be considered that the reduction in strategic dependence affects not only Russia but also China. Russia is the aggressor, China is its ally. We should therefore draw conclusions for the Czech Republic as well. Here I am talking about the 16 + 1 format, to which China invites, the calls to which the Czech Republic always comes as a participant, it is high time to apologize for this format, we would not be the first, we will not be not the last.
Conversely, committing the European Union to meet at 27 + 1. This is not in itself. Because some big states – Germany, France and others – are very happy to meet Xi Jinping bilaterally. This is why I wanted to ask the government to put pressure on our friends and allies not to have bilateral relations with such an important strategic partner, which today threatens the security of Europe. And this is China. And to strengthen the cohesion of the EU and meet China in the 27 + 1 format. It is time, the French Presidency will not succeed, we will see if the Czechs. I see a number of objective obstacles there, but we should have that as an ambition. And to start acting as a sovereign state, especially in a Europe-breaking format that weakens the unity of the European Union. And here, I’m talking about the 16 + 1 format. We really need to assess its effectiveness, the cost of this format and the benefits we have derived from it. And we expect the government to do its part. Last thing at the end. Taiwan, a major economic power, not only in the field of chips, would be interested in concluding an investment agreement with the EU. When we talk about the European Union, we must not forget that there are partners and allies in the world who are interested in working with us. And it’s also in our interest to work with them, because they are democracies, states that share the same values as us and are concerned about threats similar to ours. Minister, thank you for presenting to us in such detail the conclusions of a very complex historical act which took place in the context of a total reversal of European history. I think the work is more than enough. And you have our full support in what the government is doing.
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