Former Czech prime minister and Czech presidential hopeful, Andrej Babiš, met with French President Macron in Paris on Monday. During the meeting held at the Élysée Palace, Babiš revealed he discussed a number of issues Europe is currently facing, including the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
“We spent about 40 minutes with Mr. President Macron,” Babiš tweeted on Tuesday. “I was interested in his opinion on ending the war in Ukraine and, of course, solving the energy crisis in Europe.
“We discussed all current topics and the European agenda face to face,” he added.
The former Czech prime minister described Macron as the most important politician currently in Europe.
“We are together in the same faction in the European Parliament, and Emmanuel Macron, as is known, is my friend,” he said.
“Today he is the leader of Europe, I will certainly be interested in his conversations with President Joe Biden and his view on the problem of the war in Ukraine. Overall, I think that not only when he was here in Prague, but also tomorrow, I will have the honor to speak with him as a colleague from the faction,” Babiš said ahead of the meeting.
The trip to Paris coincided with a ruling in Prague’s municipal court on Monday that acquitted Babiš of fraud charges, which he insisted had been politically motivated.
A Prague judge held that evidence provided by the public prosecutor was insufficient in proving any crime had been committed regarding the use of EU subsidies to fund the construction of a hotel and conference complex in Central Bohemia.
Babiš did not attend the ruling on Monday, instead opting to continue with diplomacy efforts in Paris ahead of Czechia’s presidential election later this week in which he is a candidate.
The former Czech prime minister also met with French billionaire Bernard Arnault, who is understood to be the world’s current richest man.
Arnault is the co-founder, chair, and current CEO of luxury goods company LVMH, which owns Louis Vuitton, Dior, Givenchy, Fendi, and Moët & Chandon among others.
“We mainly talked about charity and investments in healthcare research, but of course also about the general situation in the world and the war in Ukraine,” Babiš revealed.
“It was great, and I had the opportunity to meet his son as well; after all, all five of his children work in the company, which is of course every entrepreneur’s dream. A terribly modest and pleasant gentleman,” he added.
The first round of the Czech presidential election takes place on Jan. 13-14 with Babiš facing an uphill battle for Prague Castle. He faces General Petr Pavel and economist Danuše Nerudová, both of whom are seen to be more moderate than the former Czech leader.