President Pavel Meets Environment Minister To Discuss Progress of Green Policies

Hladik said he appreciated President Pavel’s constructive attitude to climate policy. Credit: Petr Hladik, via Facebook.

Prague, Aug 2 (CTK) – Environment Minister Petr Hladik (KDU-CSL) met President Petr Pavel yesterday at Prague Castle, to discuss climate protection, nature and landscape, energy, subsidies and the circular economy.  

After a meeting lasting over an hour, Hladik said he appreciated President Pavel’s constructive attitude to climate policy, compared to the previous two presidents, Milos Zeman and Vaclav Klaus. 

“Above all, I am glad that President Pavel has a fundamentally and diametrically different approach to climate protection than the previous two presidents,” said Hladik. “That is, he is not only actively interested in the topic, but also emphasises the issue of presentation, explanation, and popularisation of the topic.”

Klaus (in office 2003-2013) has long been known for his rejection of the scientific consensus on global warming. For his part, Zeman (2013-2023) was a frequent critic of so-called green fanaticism, in connection with the European Green Deal.

Hladik said Pavel was very interested in the progress of the planned designation of the Krivoklat National Park in central Bohemia and two new protected landscape areas.

In the case of the Krivoklat National Park, Hladik said the last comments and objections are now being addressed, and the legislative process should begin in the autumn, while the Krusne hory (Ore Mountains) protected landscape area is in the phase of informing the public and discussions, especially with local authorities.

Pavel and Hladik also evaluated together the subsidy programmes designed to save energy in households.

“I must say the president mentioned that they were very well set and interconnected, and that energy savings were good. Now it is only necessary to explain these things, because they obviously have not been fully understood, so I am trying very hard to explain them now, and I will continue to inform people about these matters,” Hladik said.

According to the minister, energy use must be reduced for two reasons, firstly to save money for households, and secondly to achieve the Czech Republic’s climate goals. More than one third of energy is consumed in households.

Pavel’s spokeswoman Marketa Rehakova told Czech Television that the president had asked the most questions about the “Repair Grandma’s House” subsidy programme, which the Environment Ministry introduced in mid-July, to criticism from the opposition and some government coalition partners. The programme offers up to CZK 1 million in the form of an advance payment for the insulation and reconstruction of older houses.

Pavel called for a better explanation of the conditions for drawing subsidies, and said the ministry should focus more on this agenda, Rehakova said. “He stressed that he would like to see that when people decide to repair their houses, their decision is not complicated by problems obtaining a building permit,” the spokeswoman added.

The Regional Development Ministry has said that it was not consulted on the subsidy programme, and that it perceives controversial issues within it that are now being publicly criticised. Junior government TOP 09 has also voiced its opposition to the targeting of the programme, arguing that only those in need should receive the subsidy.

Even Finance Minister Zbynek Stanjura (ODS) is not satisfied with the programme, which should receive CZK 40 billion from the Modernisation Fund.

Hladik is to present the programme in its entire context at the government coalition talks. The programme, which falls under the New Green Savings, is due to be launched in September.

Pavel and Hladik also discussed energy, the use of the Fair Transition Fund to help coal-producing regions, accelerating the construction of renewable energy sources, and the circular economy. The president was also interested in the issue of returnable plastics and cans, Hladik added.

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