Magazine article Europe-East

Eu-Czech Republic: Association Council

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu-Czech Republic: Association Council

Article excerpt

Jan Kavan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, and an almost weekly visitor to Brussels these days, headed the Czech delegation at the meeting of the EU-Czech Association Council on November 20. The Council welcomed the efforts of the Czech Government to improve the situation of the Roma minority by implementing the Government's Roma strategy, and stressed the importance of continuing these efforts. It also noted with satisfaction that progress has been made in the sphere of reform of the judicial system and encouraged the Czech Republic to adopt a Civil Service Law for its public administration and also to make continued efforts to strengthen the fight against corruption.The Czech Republic's macroeconomic performance has improved overall, the Council agreed, with sustained high domestic and foreign investment leading to restructuring and productivity gains in the private sector. It noted, however, that the current account deficit has widened and the budget deficit has risen considerably. It encouraged the Czech Government to strengthen the medium term framework for fiscal policy, to complete the implementation of structural reforms and to further strengthen the legal framework in order to enhance the efficiency of market mechanisms.Progress made by the Czech Republic in aligning its legislation to the acquis was welcomed, particularly as regards several aspects of the internal market, as well as in areas such as competition policy, transport, energy, environment, agriculture and social policy. The Council underlined that further efforts are needed in areas such as taxation, veterinary issues and the mutual recognition of qualifications. The EU noted with concern the Czech Republic's postponement of the closure of duty free shops at land borders until 31 December 2003.The Association Council encouraged the Czech Republic to ensure the effective implementation of recently adopted laws and to pursue its efforts to strengthen administrative capacity in order to be able to implement and enforce the acquis communautaire in a reliable and sustainable manner by the time of accession. …

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