< /p> Briefing by President Petr Pavel with the participation of Liberec Region Governor Martin Půta and Liberec Regional Hospital General Director Richard Lukáš, April 26, 2023.
Liberec – President Petr Pavel during a visit to the Liberec Region criticized the government's communication with regions and municipalities about the cancellation of branches of the Czech Post and tax authorities. At today's press conference, he noted that the plan was not consulted with governors and mayors. He also appealed for the decentralization of state and other institutions.
Photo gallery: President Petr Pavel
In addition to the meeting with Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS), which will take place on Tuesday, Pavel also plans to meet with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Marian Jurečka (KDU-ČSL), with representatives of the Union of Cities and Municipalities and the Association of Regions. He wants to resolve mutual communication with everyone.
“It not only brings a number of problems that the mayors then have to solve. They could have been avoided if communication had been better from the beginning,” remarked Pavel.
The cabinet recently approved a regulation that will reduce the minimum number of branches operated by the post office to 2,900. The post office has previously published a preliminary list of 300 post offices to be closed. The Ministry of Finance will also abolish 77 of the 201 territorial workplaces of financial offices from July. Of these, 56 will be workplaces that have already operated in a limited mode.
According to Pavel, the government's decision is based on the demands of the state administration, which the cabinet is trying to reduce, but also on the assumption that the entire society and the entire state is already digitized enough to be able to manage most agendas via the Internet. According to the president, however, it appears that parts of some regions are still without a proper connection. In this way, the government should create at least the basic conditions for functioning on the Internet, if it requires it, he believes.
Pavel also wants to discuss with the representatives of the government cabinet the extent to which the decision on the cancellation of post office branches is binding, or whether it can still be accessed. “Because the discussion with the regions and the mayors could have led to the fact that they would be able to solve the situation in more effective ways, even if the goal the government was pursuing was achieved,” he said. For example, he mentioned the Pošta partner program, which are branches served by municipalities or private individuals.
Another problem, according to Pavel, is the decentralization of institutions, both state, educational and cultural. “It could significantly help the regions to raise their level, because any central institution or its branch brings new opportunities to the regions,” the president stated.
Next week, Pavel will discuss with Fiala the change in the government following the announced resignation of the Minister of Education Vladimír Balaš (STAN) or about the prepared government proposal to consolidate the state budget. The President expects a busy debate, there are at least five topics, he told journalists today.
He wants to know, among other things, Fiala's idea of what he intends to do with the perception of the government by a large part of the public. For example, a survey by the Center for Public Opinion Research of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (CVVM) shows that Fial's government received the worst rating from the people of the Czech Republic than the cabinet of Petr Nečas (ODS) in 2013.
The prime minister and the ministers talk about the fact that they have the courage to take the unpopular steps that are necessary. But it is much more important to properly explain to the people why the given measures are necessary, says Pavel.
President Pavel started his trip in Frýdlantské výběžek
President Petr Pavel started his visit to the Liberec Region this morning in Frýdlantské výběžk . Around 09:30 he and his wife Eva arrived in Nové Město pod Smrkek, where hundreds of people were waiting for them, as well as the mayors of the municipalities and the regional governor Martin Půta (Mayors for the Liberec Region). This is the first visit of the Czech president to this region in almost six years. The last time Pavlo's predecessor, Miloš Zeman, was here in May 2017.
Today, Pavel met with city officials and other mayors from Frýdlantsk at the municipal office, then he moved on foot, accompanied by hundreds of locals, to the nearby site of the former Textile Factory, where heavy machinery is completing the demolition of buildings that have not been used for years. The investor is interested in using the area for recreational housing and related services, but he is encountering problems in construction management and in permitting changes in the spatial plans in the municipality with extended scope. At the same time, according to Deputy Mayor Jaromír Pelant (NEZ), the city supports the project, it would provide jobs and attract tourists.
“Here is a great project that can bring not only the place, but also the region opportunities for housing, education, culture, sports and other activities, a lot of job opportunities and it affects construction management. I think that anywhere we have a project that offers many more advantages rather than disadvantages, we should be much more flexible and react faster. A classic example is nearby Poland, which solves these problems much faster than us and actually follows the same European rules as the Czech Republic. There is no single reason why it should take many times longer here than in Poland,” said Pavel when asked by journalists. He added that he could help with the removal of similar bureaucratic obstacles in his capacity.
According to Pavel, a visit to the demolished area, which is a promise of something new, can also be symbolic. “In this region, we can often see opposites. On the one hand, amazing innovations, technological progress, for example in nanotechnology, on the other hand, excluded localities whose problems do not compare in any way to the regions of the three structurally affected regions that we visited before. The difference that here I perceive that it is not only in the ideas they have here, the determination to devote themselves to it, but also in the fact that they have a number of good examples here, which relate to work with excluded localities, work with non-adaptable citizens, where they succeed in certain things move forward,” the president added.
According to Půta, the Frýdlant ridge is the place with the highest unemployment in the region, the lowest GDP per inhabitant and a whole host of other problems. “After my experience and from the visits of the previous president, I decided that we can show the head of state what is working in the region, but because one of the topics of Mr. President Pavle was helping those regions that are doing well economically and from all other indicators the worst, so we start in Nové Město pod Smrkek,” said Půta to ČTK. He will be happy if the president is the bearer of aid to the regions. “Without fundamental support for these regions, we will see in the coming years how people continue to move from them, that there are less and less generally available public services from doctors, education and everything else. And I really don't think that the Czech Republic should in the next 20 years, it will look like an agglomeration of five million people around Prague and then a countryside in which, for the most part, people live much worse,” he added.
The trip to the Liberec region is indeed Pavel's fourth trip to the regions after the presidential election , but it is also the first time that he will visit a region where he won over his opponent Andrej Babiš (ANO). In the second round of the presidential election in the region, Pavel received 58.8 percent of the vote, Babiš received 41.19 percent.