European green way – the future for Czechia?

On Thursday, August 27th 2020, the hall „Státní akta“ of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic hosted a conference “European green way – the future for Czechia?” dealing with the European Green Deal and its possible benefits for the Czech Republic. Representatives from the political sphere and academia reflected on the potentials of green investments in three panels. Some of the particular examples from a common practice were presented as well. The conference was organised by the Institute for Christian-Democratic Politics, in cooperation with Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies.

The Vice-chairman of the Committee on Economic Affairs of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, Mr. Marian Jurečka launched the event by underlying the importance of debate regarding the environment, as well as of a sensitive listening to each other. „The protection of the environment is not only a green topic, it is, indeed, a colourful one – not only forests are concerned, but also the soil and our diverse households. Therefore, it is necessary that every single each of us turns his or her attention to this universal topic,“ stated Mr. Jurečka.

The first part was dedicated to introduction of the European Green Deal and to considerations of its value in both the European and Czech perspective. Mr. Dimitar Lilkov, analyst of Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies, described the structure of the Green Deal and its anticipated funding. He stressed the necessity to take into consideration various trends in different parts of the EU, too. Ms. Kateřina Davidová, representing EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy, followed up by mentioning the main investment opportunities for the Czech Republic, while underlying especially the potentials for modernisation of Czech industry and for maintenance of Czech competitiveness within the EU. She added the possibilities for sustainable agriculture and progress of Czech regions, closely linked to this issue. Czech MEP, Ms. Michaela Šojdrová further developed the agricultural perspective when talking about the common European strategy Farm to fork as an opportunity for the Czech Republic. Finally, Mr. Václav Hampl, member of the Senate of the Czech Republic, concluded the first panel by underlying the need to follow up on the newest scientific findings on climate change and called on to a proactive approach of the Czech Republic vis-à-vis this intellectual and economic challenge.

The second and the third panel concerned particular initiatives and projects in the Czech perspective. The question of forest protection, not only in context of the bark beetle damage on the level of regions and municipalities, accentuated the Vice-rector of Mendel University in Brno Mr. Martin Klimánek. He also stressed the necessity of practical solutions, in contrast to a too-long remaining in the phase of strategy documents. Mr. Petr Hladík, Deputy Mayor of the City of Brno, discussed the potential of a right use of green courtyards in the city, as well as the revitalization of so-called brownfields. The importance of a goal-directed maintenance of forests underlined Mr. Karel Klíma, councillor of the Hradec Králové Region, who also regretted current lack of a real action power on the level of regions when speaking about forest protection. Director of the University Forest Establishment Kostelec nad Černými lesy, Mr. Zdeněk Macháček, completed the discussion by giving precise examples of forest maintenance and by stressing the importance of diversified forest cultivation.

The final part of the conference was focused on renewable energies and their use in Czech context. Expert and Analyst of the Union of Modern Energy, Mr. Martin Ander stated the examples of possible investments to energy savings and mentioned the so-called “healthy buildings”. Moreover, he underlined that the Czech public institutions should represent a leading example when implementing smart solutions on buildings. Subsequently, Mr. Jurečka insisted on the importance of innovations in energetics as an opportunity for the Czech economy as such. Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Mr. René Neděla reflected on the up-to-now performance of the Czech Republic with regard to the European-level commitments in energetics. Mr. David Hora and Mr. Pavel Kuchař, innovators of ecological solutions, presented the use of the solar roof covering as a source of energy for electro mobiles.

Besides of the above mentioned issues, the Q&A session covered a large scale of related issues, e. g. challenges linked to the use of nuclear energy in the Czech Republic, capacities of gentle cleaning of water waste, river regulations and further details linked to financing of the European Green Deal. At the very end of the conference, Mr. Jurečka expressed his thanks to all the participants and pointed out that the practical steps aiming at protection of the environment should be handled without prejudices.

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