Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and his Visegrad Four counterparts met in
Prague on Thursday to discuss energy and climate change with Austrian
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.
The V4 summit attended by the Austrian chancellor focussed on energy and EU climate change policy, areas where the positions of Austria and the V4 (which includes Slovakia, Poland and Hungary) differ significantly.
Unlike Austria, the V4 countries say achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 is not possible without building more nuclear power plants.Austria does not like the idea that EU money paid to help phase-out coal mining and boost alternate energy sources should be used for nuclear power.
PM Babiš argues that in the interests of “energy security” and ecomomic growth, the Czech Republic must build new nuclear units even if it contravenes European Union law.
The talks also covered EU funding and migration where the heads of government found more common ground.They agreed on the need to fight illegal migration,rejected the idea of obligatory migrant quotas and stressed the importance of defending the EU's outer borders.
Since the talks were held on the anniversary of the death of student martyr Jan Palach, the prime ministers laid flowers at the Palach memorial at the top end of Wenceslas Square where Palach set himself on fire in protest against growing public apathy to the Soviet-led invasion.
Czechs have been marking the 51st anniversary of the self-immolation of Prague university student Jan Palach, who set himself alight in protest at apathy in the face of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia. A memorial ceremony was held in Palach’s hometown of Všetaty, in Central Bohemia, where his childhood home recently became a museum in his honour, as well as in towns and cities around the country many of which have squares or streets named in his honour.
Czechs are marking the 51st anniversary of the self-immolation of Prague
university student Jan Palach, who set himself alight in protest at apathy
in the face of the Soviet occupation.
Memorial ceremonies have been held in Palach’s Central Bohemian hometown of Všetaty, where his childhood home recently became a museum in his honour, and towns and cities around the country.
In Prague people have gathered to pay homage to his memory on Wenceslas Square where he set himself alight, at Charles University, where he studied, and at Olsany Cemetery where he is buried.
Jan Palach died in agony on January 19, three days after setting himself on fire. Some 200,000 people turned out for his funeral. In death, he would become known as “the conscience of the nation”.
The leading Czech cinematographer Vladimír Smutný says he is the person
who shot the only known footage of Jan Palach in his hospital bed, shortly
before his death. He made the comment in an interview for news site DVTV,
saying he had never before revealed that he was the author of the film shot
between Palach’s self-immolation in January 1969 and death several days
Mr. Smutný is a seven-time winner of the Czech Lion award and has worked on numerous well-known Czech films, including the recently released The Painted Bird by Václav Marhoul.
Ahead of the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, the Ministry of Culture will designate seven sites as ‘national cultural monuments’. All of them are tied to the Czech nation’s struggle to secure freedom or rid itself of Nazi or Soviet oppression. Among them is the Czech Radio building in Prague, a focal point of resistance both in 1968 and at the close of WWII.
The National Museum opened its new memorial to Jan Palach, the student who
protested the passivity of his countrymen following the Soviet-led invasion
of Czechoslovakia in 1968 by self-immolation, in Všetaty on Wednesday. The
house which Jan Palach grew up in, in the Central Bohemian village, has now
been converted into a memorial featuring a multimedia exposition. The
opening ceremony was attended by the minister of culture and Cardinal
The building was bought by the National Museum in 2014, but work on the memorial only began last year.
On February 25 1969, exactly one month after Jan Palach, another man set himself alight in protest to Czechoslovak apathy following the Soviet invasion of 1968. The name of the second human torch was Jan Zajíc, a high school student from Šumperk. Fifty years on his act still brings chills of shock, but also respect among Czechs.
A travelling exhibition on the life and legacy of Jan Zajíc, who set
himself on fire to protest against growing public apathy to the Soviet
led-invasion in 1968, opened in his home town of Vítkov on Friday.
Zajíc set himself on fire in a passage off Wenceslas Square on February 25th 1969, close to the place where student Jan Palach made the ultimate sacrifice in an effort to rouse the nation a month earlier.
Zajíc, who felt that further protest actions were needed, set himself on fire on the 21st anniversary of the communist putsch in 1948.
The exhibition of texts and photographs reflecting his life and legacy will travel around the country in the coming months.
Robert Sedláček’s film Jan Palach took the Czech Film Critics'
Award for Best Film at a gala event at Prague's Archa Theatre on
Saturday night. The film tells the true-life-story of a student who in 1989
took his own life in protest of growing public apathy to the 1968
Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia.
The director’s award went to Olmo Omerzu for his road movie Všechno bude / Winter Flies and Best Screenplay went to Lucie Bokšteflová’s comedy Chata na prodej/Country-house for sale.
Otakar Dušek is a designer and artist with a passion for history and historical justice – something he hopes to instil in his students at the prestigious Václav Hollar School of Art in Prague. That passion helped propel him from a teacher of graphic design, fonts and computer graphics to world renowned medallist – an artist specialising in commemorative medals.