The Czech Republic is firmly integrated into the European Union and the issue of its membership in it should not be part of the political debate, believes Prime Minister Andrej Babiš. However, this does not mean that Czechia should automatically agree to everything proposed by “Eurocrats” in Brussels or “progressive political elites in large countries.” Babiš said at today’s conference Calls for Transatlantic Relations at the Prague Congress Center, organized by the Institute for Politics and Society.
According to Babiš, to be firmly integrated into the EU means to be a very active member and, when necessary, to have the courage to be critical. He said that Czechia should not automatically agree to everything that is in the interests of large states. “We must constantly fight for our national interests in the EU and we should not be naive, because all the member countries in this club are always fighting for their national interests,” he said.
According to Babiš, a common market with the free movement of people, goods, services, and investments is important for industrial and export-oriented Czechia. He called for less regulation and bureaucracy. According to the Prime Minister, the borders of Schengen should be unified with the external borders of the European Union. At the same time, he supported tougher border controls. According to him, migration policy should be fully in the hands of the Member States and asylum applications should be assessed at checkpoints outside the EU. He also highlighted the cooperation of the Visegrad Group countries – the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary.
He also mentioned the issue of nuclear energy, which he described as the national interest of the Czech Republic. “We can’t rely on the belief that wind and solar energy will take care of everything,” he said.
Babiš called the Atlantic area an area of democracy, freedom, and law. In addition to Western countries, he said, countries such as Japan, South Korea, Israel, Australia, and New Zealand should cooperate more together. “The EU and the US should not only compete, but also cooperate more in technology, research, development, and innovation,” he said.
Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhánek (CSSD) said at the conference that security remains the most important element of the transatlantic alliance. He considers the European Union, the United States, and NATO to be a crucial strategic triangle. However, he said, there was a need to strengthen cooperation between the EU and NATO. He identified free and fair trade without unnecessary trade barriers as another priority.
“A united, capable, and self-sufficient EU is good for Europe, good for the transatlantic partnership, and good for a rules-based multilateral world system,” he added.