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September 21, 2018 12:00 am | FILED UNDER: europe

Zeman Discusses Economic Issues With Merkel, Steinmeier

By ČTK

Berlin, Sept 21 (CTK correspondent) – Czech President Milos Zeman discussed primarily economic issues at the meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and his counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin today, while migration was mentioned on the margin only, Zeman has told Czech reporters.

 

Zeman said he considered his three-day visit to Germany very successful. No incidents occurred during it, he added.

 

“I am glad that we could see each other again, it was a friendly meeting,” Zeman said after half-an-hour talks with Merkel who welcomed him with a greeting in Czech.

 

“The Chancellor is always greeting me in Czech, so this pleased, but did not surprise me,” Zeman said, hinting at the fact that Merkel studied in Prague.

 

Zeman said he always enjoyed a discussion with Merkel. However, this time they did not talk so much about the migrant crisis, but discussed exactly economic relations, he added.

 

He agreed with Merkel that protectionist measures harmed both sides.

 

The migration issue “is disappearing from the viewpoint of both politicians as the Chancellor herself admitted that the quotas were a mistake,” Zeman said. He added that he would not like to blame anyone for the past mistakes, but it was sufficient to him if the person admitted them and that that they would not repeat.

 

However, Merkel has not explicitly admitted that the refugee quotas were a mistake.

 

She is still pushing for the redistribution of refugees across Europe based on solidarity and she is critical rather of the fact that the decision on the quotas was pushed through in 2015 despite the opposition of some EU member states, including the Czech Republic. She is of the view that this did not contribute to conciliation in Europe.

 

Zeman told reporters that Prague was interested in trade with Iran and would like the sanctions against it to be lifted. He said he had expressed this stance at his meeting with Merkel.

 

Zeman also criticised the U.S. President Donald Trump’s policy of raising duty fees.

 

At a meeting with Steinmeier, Zeman talked not only about economic topics, but he also touched upon the European Union, bilateral relations and the joint past of both countries.

 

Steinmeier asked Zeman about the Czech stance on the war reparations that Poland was talking about. Zeman reiterated that the Czech Republic can see no reason to deal with this issue. He stressed that the past should be left up to historians.

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