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Parliament welcomes Topolanek warily

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Parliament welcomes Topolanek warily

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Preferring the Lisbon treaty’s predecessor, defending the Czech Republic’s eurosceptic president and distancing himself from the ideas he would present to the European Parliament…

Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek’s speech in Strasbourg laying out the new EU presidency’s programme for the next six months met with moderate applause. In debate following the speech, conservative group president Joseph Daul referred to the guest’s focus on common positions. He said: “Faced with challenges, our countries’ only attitude is to prove our solidarity as a bloc and coordinate and be determined in our actions.” Socialist group president Martin Schluz singled out the financial crisis, saying it was not about the defeat of capitalism, but rather: “It is a defeat of the capitalists who for years said: ‘We don’t need any rules, the market can regulate itself.’ They have been defeated.” Rules governing the EU countries’ efforts to improve their emissions and energy performance were a key part of Greens group co-president Monika Frassoni’s expectations. She said: “We’re asking you to try to win over your colleagues, at the heart of the Spring Council to push the need to make the 20% energy-saving goal by 2020 binding.” The gas and Gaza crises have already tested the new presidency. The next months will provide ample further opportunity for the Czechs to demonstrate their efficiency and convince any doubters