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Prague – President Petr Pavel received this afternoon at the Castle the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, who is in Prague in connection with the electoral campaign of the European People’s Party. The President of the EC had previously met with Czech politicians from the Spolu coalition parties and discussed mainly pre-election topics with them. In the morning, she met with representatives of companies from the defense industry, and then she had meetings with politicians. She met them at an informal lunch.

The chairman of KDU-ČSL and Deputy Prime Minister Marian Jurečka told ČTK that the discussion at lunch revolved around priorities within the European elections, namely security, competitiveness of Europe, strengthening resilience and the ability to counter the influence of Russia and China. The discussion also covered the support of Ukraine and in that context, the necessity of further ways to reduce Russia’s income, whether through sanctions or other tools.

The discussion also tackled the reasonable reassessment of the Green Deal, that is the Green Agreement for Europe, its goals and the pace of their fulfillment, described Jurečka. “Some things are not as realistic as they seemed at first glance,” he noted. According to him, the President of the EC herself opened the topic of bureaucratic burden and talked about her efforts to reduce it. According to MP Ondřej Kolář of the TOP 09, the Green Deal was discussed in terms that this project frightens Czech citizens, so it is necessary to explain it better.

Representatives of the arms companies Czechoslovak Group (CSG), Colt CZ Group, and STV Group informed the President of the EC about how the cooperation of the government, the Ministry of Defence, and private defense industry companies works. According to the press release, they also provided her with confidential details about the extent of Czech aid to Ukraine and presented suggestions on how the EU could support the development of the defense industry. “The European defense industry is an essential pillar for the protection of democratic values, on which the European Union, of which we are proudly a part, stands,” stated David Štěpán, a member of the board of the CSG group.

The President of the EC received the official nomination of the European People’s Party (EPP) for candidacy for a second term at the beginning of March. The German politician considers the war in Ukraine, the crisis in the Gaza Strip, instability in the Middle East, and the rise of China as her priorities and main challenges for the next five years. The EPP is currently the largest political group in the European Parliament. From Czech political bodies, its members include KDU-ČSL and TOP 09, and the STAN movement.