Press statement by President von der Leyen with Czech Prime Minister Fiala

Thank you very much, Prime Minister, dear Petr.

Thank you for the warm welcome and for the good discussions.

Congratulations on the fact that two Czech European Commission staff members have been promoted to senior management. This is a big success for Czechia. You also mentioned the Euro 7 decision of yesterday, congratulations. Thank you for your leading role in shaping a good compromise, which is a solid one. I think we can move on the basis of this compromise. So, thank you very much for the role that Czechia played. This is the continuation of our excellent work and cooperation during the Czech Presidency of the Council. Thanks to the many successes of your Presidency, we have also made huge progress in the meantime on strategic files. I wanted to mention two of them.

The first is your rock-solid support to Ukraine since day one of Russia’s brutal invasion – be it through the successive waves of sanctions against Russia, or our financial support packages for Ukraine. All of this has been instrumental in helping Ukraine successfully resist the invasion, keeping the Ukrainian state running, and preparing for reconstruction. And I know that Czechia as a whole is standing by the brave Ukrainian nation. Czech people have been welcoming those fleeing the war with open arms. This generosity honours your country. Europe will forever be grateful.

Another success of your Presidency concerns the energy transition. First and foremost, REPowerEU. REPowerEU is Europe’s roadmap to energy independence, as a response to the energy crisis unleashed by Russia. I am indeed very glad to announce that we have approved today your revised NextGenerationEU plan, including the new REPowerEU chapter. The revised plan brings now EUR 2.2 billion in additional funding for Czechia. This includes EUR 736 million under REPowerEU for investments in: a stronger electricity grid, more renewable energy, of course energy efficiency, very importantly also clean transport, and also very importantly the skills needed to succeed in the industrial transition. The green transition is a necessity as much as an opportunity, and this is the path we have chosen to take together as a Union.

Nevertheless, and it is very important, the choice of the energy mix is and will remain a national prerogative. We know that nuclear plays a central role in Czechia’s energy system and that it will continue to require investment to play its role in the Czech energy transition. This is why we are always willing to consider state aid, of course provided the conditions are right. But this is important. And this is also why we support cutting-edge nuclear technology under our Net-Zero Industry Act, to boost innovation and cross-border cooperation.

And yes, we also discussed migration. And I can underline what you have said, Prime Minister, dear Petr, this is a phenomenon that concerns the whole of Europe and it needs a European response, including here in Czechia. We want indeed to support Member States in managing migration effectively and humanely. We are going to see how we can help Czechia in this context. In particular, because you have welcomed Ukrainian refugees, we have proposed a very targeted increase of EUR 15 billion specifically to help Member States manage migration, like for example Czechia. These EUR 15 billion are part of our proposed revision of the so-called multiannual EU budget. We are of course open to discussing potential improvements to our proposal.

But ultimately, our support to Czechia and other Member States depends on our capacity to agree on a revision of the EU budget. Otherwise there simply will not be enough funding available. Therefore, I am very grateful that I know I can count on Czechia’s support in driving forward the discussion in a constructive manner.

Thank you very much again for hosting me here. I am very much looking forward to seeing you next week at the informal European Council in Granada.