Speaking after a meeting of the leaders of the Visegrad Four states and
Austria on Thursday, the Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, said that the
European Union agency charged with guarding the bloc’s borders, Frontex,
did not have sufficient powers.
Mr. Babiš said that Frontex should focus its energies on combatting the people smugglers making billions out of migration.
Thursday’s meeting in Budapest was primarily focused on illegal migration and comes ahead of a planned informal EU meeting on Brussels on Sunday about asylum policy and a major summit in the city at the end of next week.
Contrary to a previous statement that he would be attending Sunday’s meeting, Mr. Babiš said no Visegrad Four leaders would be there. He said only countries “friendly to migration” would be involved.
Sudeten German leader Bernd Posselt has criticised what he called
“attacks” by Czech politicians on Chancellor Angela Merkel. The German
head of government said on Wednesday that there had been no moral or
political justification for the post-war expulsion of Germans from Central
and Eastern European countries.
Responding, the Czech president, Miloš Zeman, said he deeply disagreed with her words, while the country’s prime minister, Andrej Babiš, said her statement was unacceptable.
Mr. Posselt said that elements in the Czech establishment were sliding toward the communist past, adding that the expulsions constituted a human rights violation.
A ceremony was held in Prague on Thursday honouring General Helidor Píka,
who became the first victim of judicial murder in Czechoslovakia on 21 June
1949. He had been found guilty of treason in a Communist Party-orchestrated
General Píka served in the Czechoslovak Legions in WWI before becoming one of the highest ranking and most respected officers in the interwar Czechoslovak army. He was a prominent member of the anti-Nazi resistance during WWII.
The memorial to him at Vítězné náměstí in Prague 6 was attended by relatives, representatives of the Czech government, veterans and members of the public.
The company Imoba, which is part of the Agrofert conglomerate, has agreed
to voluntarily return an EU subsidy of CZK 50 million that was issued for
the Stork’s Nest complex near Prague. Imoba has drafted an agreement on
repaying the money that includes a clause stating that the move does not
represent an admission that grant regulations were breached.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš of ANO, the founder of Agrofert, denies criminal charges that he wrongly acquired EU funding in connection with Stork’s Nest. The matter has had an impact on Czech politics, with some parties refusing to enter government with a grouping whose leader is facing court on a criminal matter.
Prime Minister-designate Andrej Babiš of ANO plans to announce on Friday
afternoon the names of nominees for a minority government he is attempting
to form with the Social Democrats. On the same day President Miloš Zeman
is due to hold a meeting with the Social Democrats’ candidate for foreign
minister, Miroslav Poche, who both Mr. Zeman and the ANO leader are opposed
Mr. Babiš is likely to reveal the new cabinet line-up after that meeting on Friday. He has refused to comment on the future of individual ministers in the current ANO-only acting cabinet.
The prospective ANO-Social Democrats coalition would be supported by the Communist Party on key votes in the lower house. The Communists are also against Mr. Poche being appointed foreign policy chief.
The heads of governments of the Visagrad Four states are holding a summit
in Budapest on Thursday.
The prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland, who will be joined by Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, will be debating priorities of the upcoming Austrian presidency of the EU Council, including the fight of illegal migration.
The V4 meeting takes place just a week ahead of EU summit in Brussels, focused on migration, security and defence.
Former interior minister and dissident Jan Ruml as well as former Charter
77 spokesman Jan Litomiský were among 33 people who were recognized as
members of the so-called third anti-communist resistance movement.
The recognition certificates were handed out on Wednesday by the Defence Minister Karla Šlechtová. Eight of the awards were granted posthumously. The defense ministry has given out 1,560 recognitions of third resistance membership so far, with another 250 applications awaiting evaluation.
Meteorologists have issued a severe storm warning for most parts of the
Czech Republic. The storms are expected to hit the country on Thursday
afternoon and could be accompanied by strong winds and hail.
The Czech Hydro-meteorological Institute has also warned of an increased risk of fires in the South Moravian region due to high temperatures, which could reach 33 degrees Celsius on Thursday.
In football, Czech manager Ivan Hašek will replace Diego Maradona as coach
of Al Fujairah, a team in the United Arab Emirates.
Hašek, a former Czech international, has signed a one-year deal to return to the club he previously managed in 2014/15, the news website Týden reported on Wednesday. Hašek was formerly chairman of the Czech football association and coach for the national team.