Europe as a Task: Rethink, Rebuild, Repower is the main motto of the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU.
Europe is not just a name for the continent we live upon. It is first and foremost a collection of principles and values which we uphold and cherish together.
The fundamental ones are freedom and responsibility. Freedom of individuals, but also of nations. Responsibility for oneself, for our families, for other citizens, but also for the environment that surrounds us.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has shown us that our freedom and security are as threatened today as they were in the past. The fight for freedom never ends.
The task of the European Union and the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU is to assist Ukrainians who are currently fighting for their homeland and for the freedom to choose their future.
The Russian invasion has triggered the largest population movement in Europe since the end of the Second World War. It also far exceeds the migration wave of 2014-2015. The Czech Presidency is focusing on effective European cooperation and solidarity to achieve long-term successful integration of refugees into the societies of the EU Member States.
Another important task of the Czech Presidency will be the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine. This should focus on restoring critical infrastructure, ensuring essential services, strengthening resilience and overall economic stability. The EU’s intensive cooperation with Ukraine and the coordination of the necessary financial resources of the entire free world will be crucial.
The need for an accelerated transformation of Europe’s energy sector is even more urgent today. Its decarbonization is no longer only about climate protection. It is now, above all, a condition for our independence and energy security. The EU’s climate commitments are heading towards the end of this decade. This transformation must be carried out in an economically and socially sensitive manner, to not jeopardize the standard of living of our citizens and the competitiveness of our industry. The Czech Presidency will focus on implementing the RePowerEU package, which includes a faster transition to low-carbon and renewable energy sources, energy savings or more resilient, diversified sources.
The Czech Presidency will also seek to strengthen European defense capabilities, especially in cooperation with NATO, where the priority is to support the implementation of key topics under the Strategic Compass. The development of long-term cooperation in strategic military systems is essential. In addition, we will seek budgetary support for the renewal of the armaments of European armies.
The COVID pandemic and the war in Ukraine remind us that we need to strengthen supply chains and increase the resilience of the European economy to external threats. The Czech Presidency aims to move forward as quickly as possible with the conclusion of trade agreements with democratic states and to deepen transatlantic cooperation within the EU-US Trade and Technology Council (TTC), with an emphasis on strategic cooperation.
Europe is currently facing many problems and challenges, but if we act with unity and determination, we will emerge stronger and more resilient from these crises.
Petr Fiala, Prime Minister