Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala presented the program and main objectives of the six-month period of the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU to the European Parliament today.
In her opening speech, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola emphasized that the Czech Presidency is coming to a turning point in history, while an illegal war is raging on our continent. “Our next steps will be decisive for our common future,” he said, adding that “this is not the time to back down on our ambitions” and called for the EU’s green and digital transition to be accelerated.
Prime Minister Fiala admitted that the Russian invasion of Ukraine had upset most of the plans of the Czech Presidency. “Our main task will be to reach a single and strong agreement to mitigate the negative impact of the current crisis on our citizens,” the Czech prime minister stressed.
The preparation of the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine, as well as joint European projects, such as REPowerEU, aimed at freeing the EU from its energy dependence on Russia, will be priorities for the Czech Presidency. However, “each member state must be able to choose the energy mix that best suits its circumstances and that allows it to achieve both of its climate goals,” Mr. Fiala stressed. The Czech Presidency will also seek to improve the defense capabilities of member states, “shorten” supply chains, deepen free trade, ensure food security and strengthen the resilience of democratic institutions.
On behalf of the Commission, President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU “must ensure that Ukraine wins the peace that will surely come” and announced the convening of a high-level conference after the summer to address the needs of reconstruction after the war. He also stressed the need for investment in renewable energy sources and for a common European action on energy security and solidarity.
After the Czech Prime Minister’s speech, the leaders of the EP political groups recalled the recommendations of the Conference on the Future of Europe and called for the revision of the Treaties, the introduction of the top candidate system and a stronger parliamentary dimension in the EU. They also stressed the need to strengthen the EU’s energy security and called for a legally binding mechanism to deal with the energy crisis in the European Union. Some called for stronger social policies to tackle the current crisis, while others encouraged the Czech Presidency to complete the EU’s migration and asylum package.
You can watch the recording of the discussion here
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