Prague - A sugar cube, one of the symbols of the Czech EU presidency, is back again. Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek officially presented Tuesday the key priorities of the Czech Republic's EU presidency and he used a term that refers to the sugar cube slogan "We will make it sweet for Europe" intoroduced in September 2008.
"Our priority will be to harmonize, I mean harmonize a number of issues," PM Topolánek said before letting a small grin escape at Tuesday's packed press conference. Topolánek used the word "sladit" in Czech, which means both to harmonize and to sweeten.
Due to the escalating crisis over gas supplies to the EU countries, the definite version of the key priorities was altered at the last minute meeting of the coalition parties on Monday December 5.
The top priorities that PM Topolánek and his deputy for EU Affairs Alexandr Vondra presented Tuesday are Economy, Energy and Europe in the world, under the slogan 'Europe Without Barriers'. The priorities were nicknamed "Three Es".
At the press conference PM Topolánek stressed that these issues are highly relevant in the times of global economic crisis and problems with gas supplies in Europe.
"EU has to open up"
In the meantime the Czech EU Presidency and European Commission issued a joint statement in which demanded that gas supplies be immediately restored to the EU.
On economy, PM Topolánek said that it is obvious that the Czech EU Presidency will have to deal with the direct impact of the global economic turbulence. However, the Czechs will try to implement measures that would promote the state intervention and protectionism only if it becomes inevitable.
"The European Union has to open up to the world economy. Only economically strong EU will be able to solve political problems, security issues and environmental issues," said PM Topolánek.
The chief event of the Czech EU Presidency will be a summit on Eastern Partnership to be held at the level of the heads of states of the EU member states and the six Eastern European partnership countries, Belarus being one of them.
"We want to achieve a significant progress in negotiations with Croatia. We want to focus on the countries of the Balkans," said Vondra at the press conference.
During its six-month reign over the EU agenda, the Czech EU Presidency intends to further strengthen the integration of the Western Balkans region into the EU.