Vaclav Klaus: Czech Republic's accession to EU will not affect its relations with Russia

The future accession of the Czech republic to the European Union will not affect its relations with Russia, announced Czech President Vaclav Klaus speaking at the meeting with students and the faculty of the Russian Finance Academy in Moscow on Saturday.

"Despite the fact that we are very busy now with our future membership in the EU, I have always underlined that we would not want to "get lost somewhere in the middle of the European scene," Mr. Klaus emphasised. "It does not mean that our trade and economic relations with other countries, including Russia, will change somehow after our accession to the European Union," he added.

Mr. Klaus pointed out that "trade is not conducted by nations or countries, but rather by individual enterprises and individual businessmen. "I do not care who is going to develop trade relations between the Czech republic and Russia in particular - those will be individual companies and corporations of both countries and they must worry about making trade relations beneficial for all interested parties," the Czech President stated. "I have always stood for elimination of all trade and economic barriers between countries imposed by their governments, and I would not want to get involved in organising trade relations myself," he added.

The Czech President also mentioned that Czech republic should not hurry with the integration of its economy into the economy of the European Union.

"We must thoroughly examine all possible consequences of the integration. We have already noticed that even the integration of economies of European countries that have comparatively equal levels of economic development does not always bring positive results," he said.

"A country like Czech republic should not hurry entering the Euro zone. At this point, I deem it irrelevant whether we will do it on January 1, 2009, or in 2010, or in 2012," Mr. Klaus stated.

During the meeting, he was handed the diploma of the honorary doctor of sciences of the Russian Finance Academy. He was awarded the diploma back in 1994, but never got a chance to receive it before. The leadership of the Finance Academy has found a clever solution - Mr. Klaus was actually handed two diplomas - one with the title of the Czech Prime Minister dated back to 1994 and another with the title of the Czech President dated 2003.

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