The Czech Republic will set up a consulate in Manchester in order to improve services for the public and handle a growing number of requests for Czech citizenship in the wake of Brexit, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek told journalists on Wednesday. The proposal has been approved by the government and the consulate should begin operating at the start of next year. There are presently some 100,000 Czechs living in Great Britain and approximately 300,000 Czechs visit the country every year. At present consular services are only provided by the Czech Embassy in London.
The police have arrested three people on suspicion of manipulating public tenders for work on the premises of the president’s summer residence Lany Chateau. The three are employees of Lesní správa Lány, an organization administering close to six hectares of land and forests which belong to the Office of the President. They are said to have manipulated public tenders worth 60 million crowns. The police allegedly raided the office of the organization and employees' private homes. The Office of the President has not so far commented on the development.
The Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, says he has been disquieted by the arrests made during demonstrations in Russia on Monday. Mr. Sobotka said people had the right to express their views without being detained and called on the Moscow government to respect freedom of expression and assembly. Russian police arrested over 1,000 people at anti-corruption rallies in Moscow and St. Petersburg, while the opposition leader Alexei Navalny was detained at his home before they got underway.
President Miloš Zeman has said two principles will guide his steps following parliamentary elections in October: speaking on a tour of South Bohemia, he said he would task the leader of the winning party with the formation of a new government. But he also said he would impress on the winner to deal respectfully with other parties, not least in the event of a close first and second-place finish. The last election, for example, saw the Social Democrats just pip newcomers ANO. The latter, opinion polls suggest, are the front-runners this time.
The third Prague European Summit gets underway on Tuesday bringing together politicians, analysts and other key figures to discuss the future of the EU. Topics highlighted over the three-day event will include European security and defense, ties with Russia and the US, and economic investment. Key guests this year include Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák, Deputy European Commission head Frans Timmermans, and former prime minister of Italy Massimo d'Alema. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek will also speak at the event.
The Social Democrats Kateřina Valachová, who was due to step down on Saturday, will remain Czech minister of education, youth and sports for now, Czech Radio reported. President Miloš Zeman had given her until June 10 to reconsider her decision to resign following the charging of her deputy with large-scale corruption. Though she has not changed her mind, the president is set to go on a regional tour on Sunday and will not officially accept her resignation until he returns on Wednesday. She will be replaced by Stanislav Štech, who has hitherto been a deputy education minister.
The European Union will itself have to be capable of guaranteeing security in the bloc in the future, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker agreed at a joint-press conference in Prague Friday launching a conference on defence. Prime Minister Sobotka stressed that closer cooperation between member states on defence and security in no way was meant to supersede NATO, just the opposite, saying that the alliance stood to benefit. NATO has welcomed the idea of the European defence fund, saying it would allow greater effectivity. Mr Sobotka reminded attendees that one of the founding principles of the EU was to secure long-term peace in Europe, while Mr Juncker said it was not a question of whether the EU should improve its defence capabilities against potential threats but how quickly it could do so.
A European Defence and Security Conference got underway in Prague on Friday. The event, being held at Prague’s Žofín complex, was opened by the Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Among those due to speak are the EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, and the secretary general of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, as well as other top EU and NATO officials. In a joint article published in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week, Bohuslav Sobotka and Jean-Claude Juncker said Europe must take its defence into its own hands.
The lower house of Parliament has stripped two deputies of their immunity opening the way for charges to be filed against them in connection with involvement in suspected EU fraud. The two deputies in question are Josef Novotný of the Social Democrats and Communist Party deputy Jaroslav Borka. The case relates to distribution of EU funds within the Regional Operational Program North-West. The assembly voted in accordance with the recommendation of the Immunity Committee of the lower house.
In a joint article published in the Wall Street Journal, the Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, and the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, say Europe must take its defence into its own hands. Tuesday’s piece precedes a European security and defence conference being held in Prague on Friday that Mr. Juncker is set to attend. The two leaders write that the EU must not only complement NATO but respond independently to external threats; to that end, the bloc is now implementing the EU Global Strategy on security, they say. They add that a European Defence Union will help protect the EU, which is exactly what its citizens want.