On April 11, 2022, the Mayor of the City of Prague, Zdeněk Hřib, met with the President of the European Committee of the Regions, Apostol Tzitzikostas, to discuss the support for cities and regions in regard to the consequences of the Russian war in Ukraine. They also addressed the role of Prague during the forthcoming Czech presidency of the Council of the EU, as Prague will be the hosting city of many events and meetings focused on critical issues including helping cities deal with the consequences of the war in Ukraine.
During his trip to the Czech Republic, the President of the European Committee of the Regions, Apostolos Tzitzikostas, visited the Mayor of Prague together with other members of the Czech National Delegation of the European Committee of the Regions. The main agenda of the meeting was the current refugee crisis. Since the outbreak of the war, the Czech Republic has already issued over 279,000 visas to fleeing Ukrainians, while Prague became a new home to more than 66,500 of them.
President Tzitzikostas praised the dedication and solidarity of Prague and its citizens. He also added that the European Union would not be able to cope with this crisis without the commitment and proactivity of city leaders in the most affected regions, including Prague and the Czech Republic. The Committee of the Regions within the European Union is raising awareness that the situation is serious not only in the countries bordering Ukraine but also in the Czech Republic. Therefore, large-scale assistance should be allocated also to the Czech Republic and its capital, Prague.
"We agreed that although for now, Prague manages the arrival of a large number of people fleeing the Putin War, EU assistance is absolutely essential for a long-term solution to the situation. European funds must flow directly to cities and regions as soon as possible. After all, I promoted this even before the war within the framework of the Pact of Free Cities. I am therefore pleased that the European Committee of the Regions has now come up with the appropriate financial instrument to deal with the refugee crisis. The European Commission will decide on it next week. The Committee of the Regions is a key advisory body to the European Commission, so it is great that we have such an influential partner in negotiating direct finances,” said the Mayor of Prague, Zdeněk Hřib.
Representatives of the Czech National Delegation to the European Committee of the Regions, of which Mayor Hřib is a member, presented events focused on the development of cities and regions planned in Prague during the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU. They agreed that during the presidency, Prague will be the centre of the development of cities and regions at the European level, addressing key issues such as increasing need for energy self-sufficiency, managing the effects of the Russian war on Ukraine, and sustainable modernization.
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