Sobotka and Macron agree on need to boost European defence cooperation

  • Michaela Ceklová
  • 25.8.2017 10:18

During a meeting in Salzburg on 23 August, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico and Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern agreed with French President Emmanuel Macron on the need to boost strategic EU autonomy by strengthening European defence cooperation.

The most apparent contradiction in the negotiations was expected in terms of migration, as the European Commission (EC) is conducting proceedings against the Czech Republic, as well as Hungary and Poland, regarding their noncompliance with the migration quotas. Poland even requested an interruption of the court proceedings on 23 August. The French president, who met the representatives of the Czech Republic and Slovakia first, wants, to a certain extent, to develop relations with the pro-European part of the Visegrad Group (V4). Macron is a critic of Poland and Hungary for their positions on the EU, which may be the reason why he did not visit these two countries during his visit to Central and Eastern Europe. On the issue of migration, Prime Minister Sobotka confirmed the readiness of the Czech Republic to contribute to the protection of the external borders as well as the readiness to deploy experts to third countries affected by the migration crisis. At the meeting, he highlighted the deployment of 200 police officers to Frontex, 63 hotspot experts and around 400 police officers as part of bilateral assistance. In addition to security and migration, economic and social issues were also part of the talks.

About author: Michaela Ceklová

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