Sobotka, Zeman want more debate on euro

Prime minister says the earliest possible date for joining the single currency is around 2020

Prague, April 8 (ČTK)— Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, ČSSD) and President Miloš Zeman agreed at their meeting at Prague Castle today that more debate on adopting the euro is needed, Sobotka said after the meeting
Sobotka and Zeman also agreed it would be appropriate to set a date for the Czech Republic’s adoption of the euro.

Sobotka again supported the year 2020 as the nearest possible date when the country could join the eurozone. However, he said there is no agreement on setting such a date within the government coalition.

“The Czech Republic should advance the debate on adopting the euro —that it would be appropriate to set a concrete date for adopting the single European currency and gradually work on creating conditions for the adoption,” Sobotka said.

Sobotka will continue discussions on the topic with Zeman in the coming months, he said.

Zeman’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček said there should be a meeting between Zeman and the representatives of the government and the Czech National Bank still this spring at which the timetable of adopting the euro should be discussed.

Zeman is a long-standing supporter of the Czech Republic joining the euro area. Technically, this can be done within two or three years, according to him.

The debate on adopting the euro will take place at the presidential chateau in Lány near Prague in May, Ovčáček said.

“We can imagine a timetable that will set the year 2020 as the date. This is probably the closest possible date for adopting the single currency by our country,” Sobotka said, reiterating the stance of the ČSSD on the matter. “But, unfortunately, there exists no coalition agreement in the current government that we should set such a date for euro adoption and work towards the date.”

From the government coalition members, the ANO movement in particular, headed by Finance Minister Andrej Babiš, is against the Czech Republic adopting the single currency.

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