Speaking after talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Thursday, the Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, said his government wished to play an active role in the discussion on the future of Europe. Mr. Sobotka said European integration was in the interests of the Czech Republic as the country lay in the centre of the continent and worked closely with Eurozone states. For her part, Mrs. Merkel said she welcomed the pro-EU orientation of the new Czech government. Mr. Sobotka also held a meeting with the German president Joachim Gauck. On Friday the Czech leader is due to visit the HQ of Volkswagen, which owns the Czech-based Škoda Auto.