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A Common Vision for Europe

Ladies and Gentleman, Dear David,

It is a great pleasure and honour to be here at this very important moment for both our parties.

The British Conservative Party is our closest sister party in Europe and the fact I am here today and our ever close and developing cooperation only confirms that.

At the beginning, allow me a short reflection.

Recently, I have analysed for myself the 2 year experience of my country's membership in the EU.

I came to the following conclusions.

Firstly, I have absoloutely no doubts that there are two policy streams within the centre-right political spectre now.

The former, federal one, leading to continuing, artificial centralist unification projects future of the EU into the EU Constitution.

The latter, promotes rather a different vision of Europe. Modern, open, decentralised and felxible Europe.

These two streams are different, but I believe they still have issues to share in common. Therefore it is within their interest to cooperate in those fields in which they find mutual accord - such as economic reform, deregulation.

However, I find quite unfortunate that institutional setting of the EP does not allow for a sufficient and effective reflection of the above mentioned political realit does not allow ODS pursue such policy that is based on our values and believes.

From this reason, I am entirely committed to joining the British Conservative Party in the establishment of a new parliamentary group in the European Parliament, to promote our common vision of Europe.

Today I am here to sign a our common pledge to establish the new group.

As David precisely described and I fully agree with him - it is better to be good neighbours than reluctant tenants.

I strongly believe that new group will provide a new impetus to European politics and economy.

At the same time I have to consider the post-election situation my country.

After 8 years in opposition, ODS won the elections with the best results gained by any political party in my country ever. Yet it - together - with our coalition partners - still holds 100 seats out of 200 in the House.

We are currently engaged in negotiations on the forming of a new coalition government in the Czech Republic under my leadership.

These negotiations are complex and may last a long time.

I must concentrate on this task.

I do not think that parallel negotiations on the establishment of our new group in the EP and on the formation of the new Czech government are possible.

In view of this fact I asked David Cameron the Leader of the British Conservative party to postpone the establishment of our new group until the next EP legislature period, after the European elections in June 2009.

I believed that the Conservative Party will - in a spirit of a friendship between our sister parties - understand my reasons.

Part of my reason also was that ODS very much want to join Conservatives at the start of our new group, as one of its founder members.

I want ODS to be able to join you in the new group from its beginning.

At the same time I very much welcome and support the creation of the European Reform Movement.

I would like this platform to be open to like-minded partners from across Europe and welcome both current member states and EU candidates.

I would like the Movement to be dedicated to campaigning for the values we share.

I wish it became an exciting forum for exploring new ideas, and for promoting a fresh approach to the direction of the EU, which will later find its political expression in the new parliamentary group.

Thank you.

Mirek Topolanek, Leader ODS

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