The Czech Embassy in London will on Friday evening celebrate its reopening after a two-year renovation project. The large-scale event will see performances by singer Lenny and artists František Skála and Petr Nikl, a light show provided by Prague’s Signal festival and drinks from the world-renowned bar owner Pavel Tvaroh. Ahead of the celebration, I caught up with Ambassador Libor Sečka at his newly remodeled office.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson visited Prague earlier this week on the first stop of a tour of European capitals to explain the British position on Brexit outlined by Prime Minister Teresa May in Florence. In an interview for Czech Radio the British foreign secretary spoke about his country’s aims and priorities in the two-year transitional period ahead as well as after the Brexit cut-off line. Czech Radio’s London former correspondent Jiří Hošek began by asking him how he views the outcome of Germany’s parliamentary elections.
The man most responsible for Brexit – Nigel Farage – has been in Prague to make his contribution to the campaign for upcoming Czech elections. And the former head of the UKIP party had a series of messages for politicians in general, Czechs in particular, and his own take on the continuing Brexit negotiations.
Libor Sečka is a seasoned Czech diplomat who has served as ambassador in countries such as Italy, Spain, Malta and China. At the start of 2016 he took office as Czech ambassador to the UK. On a brief visit to Prague, I spoke to him about his current mission, the life of a diplomat and how he won a bottle of wine in an ambassadorial bet on the outcome of the Brexit referendum.
The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union has not as yet
had any impact on bilateral relations between Prague and London, the Czech
ambassador to the UK, Libor Sečka, told the Czech News Agency. Mr. Sečka
said it would be necessary to see the balance of trade between the two
states at the end of the year before assessing the economic effect of the
The ambassador said his embassy had registered an increase in animosity against Czechs living in the UK immediately following Britain’s referendum last year. Every registered case was discussed with the UK authorities, Mr. Sečka said. However, the situation has since calmed, he added.
Britain and the rest of the EU are at the start of the Brexit negotiations and in some sense both sides are still exploring where there are major differences and where there is agreement. Britain’s Brexit negotiator, David Davis, was in Prague on Tuesday for talks with the Czech foreign minister over its take on the talks so far and how they should proceed.
David Davis, the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, will meet with Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek in Prague next Tuesday. The Brexit secretary will travel to the Czech capital after a second round of talks with the EU, the Czech Foreign Ministry confirmed. In a statement, it said that the Czech Republic supported a balanced deal based on rights equality, and stressed that it was important to uphold excellent mutual ties even after Great Britain’s departure from the EU.
The Czech Republic is currently chairing the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, one of Europe’s top human rights institutions. During a visit to Strasbourg last week Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek also discussed a case that has raised emotions in the Czech Republic – a not guilty verdict in the case of an attacker who killed a Czech man in London following an altercation outside a fast food outlet. The Czech Republic has been seeking ways to get the case reopened.
Diplomats pushing Czech economic interests across the world have been gathering in Prague in recent days to discuss latest developments and initiatives. Such diplomats, not just from the foreign ministry but from industry and trade, agriculture, and research have multiplied in the past years with the number of dossiers and projects six times more than just three years ago. One of those taking part was Aleš Opatný, the head of the economic and commercial section at the Czech embassy in London. The London office was picked out for its success last