On 25th of April, the Hanns Seidel Foundation organized a round table on perspectives of the Bavarian-Czech Economic Cooperation, in cooperation with SME Europe of the EPP, in the European Parliament. The invited speakers were: MEP Dess, Chairman of the SME Working Group on Agricultural Policy and Coordinator of the EPP Group in the Committee on Agriculture of the European Parliament; MEP Šojdrová CULT, Dr. Ehm, Head of the Brussels Office, Hanns Seidel Foundation, Dr. Heitz, Executive Director SME Europe; Dr. Hopp, Member of the Bavarian parliament, Miss Spekhorstová, chairman of the women’s union; Dr. Hartmuth, Deputy Head of the Representation of the Free State of Bavaria to the European Union, Marek Sovka, Vice-Mayor of Brno-Branisovice, Vice-President of the Youth Organization. Also, Secretary-General of the European Committee of the Regions, Jiří Buriánek joins this event.
After a brief welcome by co-organizer Dr. Ehm, MEP Dess began his welcome words and thanked Dr. Ehm and Dr. Heitz for the organization of the event and especially thanked Dr. Hopp for his participation in this event. His constituency in Bavaria bordered on Czechoslovakia and he always had good contacts with the neighboring country. He also points out that the cooperation between these two countries is a parade example for the European idea and must be pursued at all costs. Next, Mrs Spekhorstová spoke up and also welcomed all the guests and stressed the importance of exchange between two neighboring countries. Ultimately, Dr. Heitz also welcomes all the guests and briefly presents the SME Europe business group.
Dr. Hopp opens his Keynote-Speech from the Bavarian perspective with a look into the past, because he also knows the divided Europe and the border controls and can remember how it went up for the region after the border opening to CZ. The trade volume between CZ and Bavaria amounted to more than EUR 17 billion in 2015 and more than 3,000 Bavarian companies are currently resident in CZ – this is testament to the immense power of the European idea. This particular relationship is also special because it has been heavily burdened by the Second World War; But also the invitation of the Czech government to the Holocaust Memorial Day shows an entirely different development, which is confirmed by regular visits by parliamentary delegations. The Bavarian government has also maintained a permanent presence in Prague since 2014. Dr. Hopp is now discussing further joint projects: e.g. There will soon be joint labor agencies to make it easier for workers from both countries to get to work – for example, the city of Cham, which is home to 150 companies that operate and operate across borders. Furthermore, there should be closer cooperation in the fields of metal, electrical, gastronomy, energy and tourism. At the end of his speech, Dr. Hopp will address six points that are necessary for further intensifying the relationship between CZ and Bavaria. 1. Education – bilingual vocational training is currently in the test phase. 2. Common security concepts, in particular a further reduction of border controls and the free market 3. Health, a bilingual common hospital is planned 4. Joint history work 5. An expansion of transport infrastructure and 6. The formation of a common public perception, here he calls for example a joint press agency. Dr. Heitz is very grateful for this interesting keynote speech from the Bavarian point of view and emphasizes that one should never stop at the Bavarian- CZ. Cooperation.
Now MEP Šojdrová starts her Keynote Speech and thanks Dr. Hopp for his good speech, which contains not just empty phrases, but concrete examples of cooperation. She emphasizes the excellent cooperation between the two countries in her speech and appeals to all those present that this process is far from over.
Mr. Sovka was very pleased with the invitation to this event; He is the youngest vice-mayor of the Czech Republic and is also a very big advocate of the Bavarian Czech cooperation.
In the discussions that are now taking place, a topic emerges, structural cooperation has to be intensified: joint educational offers and a better infrastructure are the cornerstones of this cooperation and must be steadily expanded; E.g. There will be more joint cultural events in the future.
Dr. Ehm, from the Hanns Seidel Foundation, thanked him for this lively event and thanked everyone for their participation.