The ruling Civic Democratic Party is putting pressure on rebel deputies after they torpedoed a bill on social benefits in Parliament. The party leadership on Tuesday called on regional leaders to bring the five rebels to heel, suggesting that they should think about expelling members who thwarted the party line. The rebel deputies, meanwhile, insist that they are fully entitled to vote according to their conscience and claim that dialogue would produce better results than attempts to intimidate them. So far none of the regions has indicated that it is considering acting on the advice of the party leadership to expel members for disobedience.
Minister Schwarzenberg is to travel to Paris on Thursday to discuss the conflict in the Caucuses with his counterparts Bernard Kouchner of France and Carl Bildt of Sweden. Monday’s EU summit, called by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, is to review the conflict and its impact on the European Union's relations with Russia. France currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, while the Czech Republic will take over in January before handing over to Sweden in July. The Czech Republic will be represented at the summit by Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek and Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg.
The Czech state-controlled energy giant ČEZ said on Wednesday it had sealed a deal to buy two Romanian wind energy projects which, when completed, will be the biggest land-based wind farm in Europe. ČEZ, now the largest power producer in central Europe, said it bought the twin projects, based near the Black Sea city of Constanza, from the international wind power development company Continental Wind Partners LLC. No financial details of the transaction have been disclosed.
The Czech Republic will seek a united EU stand on maintaining Georgia’s
territorial integrity and assisting its recovery following its conflict
Speaking after an extraordinary Czech government session devoted to the
crisis in the Caucuses, Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said the Czech
government would strive for the EU to unify around a clear plan for the
recontruction of the whole territory of Georgia and make a strong statement
with regard to its territorial integrity.
The situation in the Caucuses has been further complicated by Moscow’s recognition of the two breakaway Georgian provinces - South Ossetia and Abkhazia - on Tuesday in a move that drew sharp criticism from Western Europe, the United States and NATO.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has likewise condemned the move, saying that it fully respects Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity – which includes the two breakaway provinces. The Czech government recently earmarked 150 million crowns to help restore Georgia’s damaged infrastructure and Prague has expressed an interest in hosting an international donors conference which would raise more money for the war-torn country.
Dozens of rank and file policemen are being trained to serve as elite bodyguards within preparations for the Czech Republic’s EU presidency in the first half of next year, the daily Mladá fronta Dnes writes on Wednesday. The paper notes that the protection of statesmen during the country’s six-month presidency will be an unprecedented challenge: one of the biggest security operations in the country’s history. As a rule fifty to sixty statesmen participate in any one event and Czech security forces will have to ensure their protection according to international agreements.
The Prague State Attorney has rejected an attempt to get Foreign Minister Schwarzenberg investigated on charges of high treason for signing a missile defense treaty with the United States. The State Attorney dealt with the matter on the grounds of a criminal complaint lodged by an anti-radar activist, student Martin Kadrman. The treaty that Prague and Washington signed in July should enable Washington to site a tracking radar on Czech soil as part of a US global missile defence shield intended to counter the threat of an attack from so called “rogue” states such as Iran. The deal still needs to get approval from the Czech Parliament. Opinion surveys indicate that the majority of Czechs do not want a US radar on Czech territory.
Czech defender Michal Kadlec on Wednesday signed a deal to be loaned from Sparta Prague to German club Leverkusen for the rest of the season with the option of the loan becoming a permanent transfer, the CTK news agency reported citing the player's agent. According to preliminary reports, Leverkusen will pay 20 million crowns (1.19 million dollars) for the loan deal and a further 80 million crowns in the event of a permanent transfer, the agency said. The 23 year old defender recently represented his country in the European Championships hosted by Austria and Switzerland.
A member of the Czech military police serving in Afghanistan was wounded on Monday in a traffic accident in the province of Logar, the site of operations for the Czech Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT), an army spokeswoman has revealed. The officer suffered minor injuries. The soldier was in a convoy of military police vehicles en route from the Czech base in Logar to Kabul. But his vehicle flipped over following a defect in a wheel. The soldier was airlifted to the US field hospital in Bagram, from where he will now be sent home to the Czech Republic. The Czechs have 400 soldiers in Afghanistan; 200 of them are deployed in Logar.
The Czech Republic and the United States have reached agreement on the conditions to set up a US anti-missile base in the country, a defence ministry spokesman has said. Andrej Čírtek told the AFP news agency on Tuesday that all major issues had been solved, adding the Czech government could be expected to discuss the proposed Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) in September. A key follow-up agreement, it had been held up by a wrangle between Prague and Washington over taxes. Mr Čírtek said that that issue had now been solved, but did not provide details. Sealing the SOFA agreement paves the way for the Czech government to seek parliamentary approval for the US anti-missile package. The main deal on the base was signed back in July by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg.
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