EU Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Commissioner Věra Jourová has called for the Czech Republic to be more proactive in the European Union and warned against being in solidary with Hungary and Poland, which the European Commission has reprimanded for failing to respect the principals of liberal democracy. While addressing the conference “Challenges for Europe” in Prague, the Commissioner said that if Czech Republic is not active in seeking solutions to the all-European challenges and will only criticize the EU, it could face problems in the future.
"The more Europe is put under pressure by various problems and new threats, the sooner the tendency to throw away sandbags pops up. States that, for example, criticize but don’t cooperate, don’t stick together and don’t contribute to reaching common goals can become such sandbags," she said, cited by RIA Novosti.
She stressed that the situation in the world has changed, and Europe and Europeans have to realize that nothing will be the same. Unity is needed more than ever as there are many challenges and threats from outside, according to the EU top official, cited by the local outlet Ceske Noviny. At the same time, she also called to ensure that EU members don’t feel that their common policy is too restrictive.
“Držet pohromadě je existenčně důležité. Evropa musí být jednotná, aby mohla skutečně čelit velkým výzvám,” řekla @VeraJourova na konferenci Výzvy pro Evropu. #elfevent #ELF #MultipleChallengesForEurope pic.twitter.com/aEN8kBkVXq— IPPS (@institutps) 21 мая 2018 г.
"Keeping together is existentially important. Europe must be united so that it can face really big challenges.”
Jourová expressed the opinion that Europe should give up dealing with small-scale questions and focus only on the main challenges that could be dealt with better at the common level than they are now. According to Jourová the draft European budget for the next seven years falls in line with this perspective. It focuses on securing the external border, internal security and on strengthening all-European defense.
“Neměli bychom se na EU dívat jen optikou “kolik dostaneme”, ale “co všechno získáváme”: např. bezpečí, příležitosti pro mladé či možnost ovlivňovat budoucí podobu Evropy,” @VeraJourova na konferenci Multiple Challenges for Europe 2018. pic.twitter.com/nNJ7UlOZop— Evropská komise v ČR (@ZEK_Praha) 21 мая 2018 г.
"We should not only look at the EU from the point of ‘how much we get,’ but ‘what we get’: for example, safety, opportunities for young people or the possibility of influencing the future of Europe.”
The European Commissioner also stated that politicians need to better explain to people what the EU is doing to ensure confidence as well as listen to citizens’ fears jeopardized by the migration crisis and security concerns due to terrorism threats, according to Ceske Noviny.
The tensions between the EU on one side and Poland, Hungry and Czech Republic on the other side have been increasing over the joint migrant policy. The Hungarian government has repeatedly criticized the European Union’s way of dealing with the refugee influx and defied the union by not adhering to the migrant quota set out for each state. The showdown mounted in 2017 when the European Commission told Hungary as well as Poland that they will face sanctions if they do not agree to take in their quota of migrants.
Relations between Brussels and the government in Warsaw are also under strain over the Polish judicial reform of 2017, when the parliament adopted a bill which would change the system of appointing Supreme Court judges and allow the dismissal of current judges, with the exception of those nominated by the justice minister. Pressure is growing to put European sanctions on Poland over these changes as the European Parliament has backed checking Poland's compliance with EU values and if need be, to propose solutions.