Prime Minister Babiš discusses impacts of coronavirus crisis with V4 prime ministers and German Chancellor. Photo by the Government of the Czech Republic
The prime ministers of the countries of the Visegrád four and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel met today at a summit of the countries of the V4 group and Germany to discuss the impacts of the coronavirus crisis – primarily the easing of measures at border crossings and resolving the economic effects. As the presiding country, the Czech Republic organised the summit, held through a video conference. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš then also negotiated bilaterally with the German Chancellor.
The summit also dealt with restarting the European economy following the coronavirus crisis. The European Commission is preparing a new proposal for a multiannual financial framework and also a proposal for a new renewal fund. According to yesterday’s agreement between French President Macron and German Chancellor Merkel, the volume of the renewal fund could reach 500 billion euros for the first three or four years of the next European multiannual financial framework.
“500 billion euros is a huge amount, so it will definitely be important to know the conditions under which the European Commission will get this amount and also what the maturity will be. We still do not have answers to these questions. The national parliaments are supposed to ratify it, which is important. Of course, we talked about how to use this money,” stated Prime Minster Babiš following the meeting. The leaders of the V4 governments and Chancellor Merkel agreed that the most important thing is to properly analyse the effects of the crisis in the individual member states, their needs and to use the resources to support investments as much as possible. “I think it is fine that the European Commission was more flexible in this crisis and it is important that we are able to continue to maintain this flexibility, because only then will we be able to use this money for what we need,” stated the Prime Minister.
Another theme at the summit was the alignment of easing of the measures at the borders in Central Europe. “During my meeting with the Chancellor, I expressed my wish that, if the date for opening the borders between Austria and Germany is set for 15 June and, as Foreign Minister Petříček informed me, Austria is also talking about 15 June instead of the original 8 June, then if would be fine if our borders opened with the surrounding countries, Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary, on 15 June, as well,” added the Czech Prime Minister.
Chancellor Merkel also informed the prime ministers of the V4 countries of her plans for the upcoming German Presidency of the EU Council. Germany has great challenges ahead of it and a wide range of concrete themes: it want to focus primarily on the EU’s global role in the world, strengthening its competitiveness, business relations with the USA and China and improving the security situation.
Source: Government of the Czech Republic
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