President meets Czech PM to ensure smooth EU presidency handover
Czech Republic – Statement by M. Emmanuel Macron, President of the Republic, during the visit by Mr Petr Fiala, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic – Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic
Paris, 7 June 2022
= Check against delivery =
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen,
Prime Minister, cher Petr, I’d like to welcome you to Paris today. Thank you for being here.
2022 is a year which closely links the Czech Republic and France, when our two countries, one after the other, are having to take up the presidency of the Council of the European Union during such a turbulent period. So I’m pleased to have this discussion with you today to closely link the work being done by the French presidency, which ends in less than a month, with the future priorities your presidency will promote from the beginning of July.
Our presidencies reflect the current geostrategic situation and we successively have the task of organizing the European response to the war in Ukraine. Because this war, which Russia chose to wage, is completely changing our agenda: it’s quickening in pace, intensifying and has led us to take historic decisions in a spirit of unity and responsibility. Our massive solidarity with Ukraine and the swift sanctions – also massive – against Russia with the sixth package of sanctions adopted only a few days ago, are proof of this.
Let me highlight here the exceptional solidarity shown by the Czech Republic, which has taken in more than 350,000 people from Ukraine. I also welcome our joint action on the eastern flank with French and Czech fighter aircraft on patrol today in Estonia – a demonstration, were it necessary, of this joint work and shared vision of our Europe.
So we’ll be discussing the situation in Ukraine, the efforts to help President Zelenskyy achieve a ceasefire, and Ukraine’s future in the European family.
We’ll also be addressing the political structuring of our continent. A few weeks ago I proposed that all of us together create a “European political community”; I’d like us to talk about this, and the means of organizing a genuine political consultation at that level. We’ve also got to respond to the proposals European citizens made on 9 May about the future of our Europe.
While it may not be time today to pass on the torch just yet, there are several pressing issues we’re going to discuss and which I know we’re actively working on jointly.
We’d like Europe to make headway on its energy transition by reducing its dependence on fossil fuels and addressing the climate challenges. I also know I can count on the Czech presidency to carry through our ambitious agenda in the defence field, to invest in European capabilities.
In the industrial field, to promote joint projects.
And finally, we’ll continue the EU’s resolute action vis-à-vis our immediate neighbours, and those beyond, through the summit with the Western Balkans to be held on 23 June; our continued enhanced partnership with Africa; and the agenda you yourself chose for your presidency on these major issues.
More generally, we’re clearly going to go on building a European sovereignty agenda, which I’m sure will also continue to shape your country’s European Union presidency.
That, cher Petr, dear friend, is what I wanted to say in welcoming you to Paris today, in thanking you for being here to discuss the major issues of the next European Council and of the presidency you’ll have to carry out./.