The Czech Republic’s Věra Jourová, responsible for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality in the outgoing European Commission, is likely to return to Brussels in a new role and with a higher status. If her candidacy is approved by MEPs in the coming weeks, Jourová will become this country’s first Vice President as of November, and likely split the “rule-of-law” portfolio with the next EU Commissioner for Justice.
Pavel Mikeš, the Czech Ambassador to Ethiopia, studied African History and Linguistics at Charles University in the 1980s. Despite not being allowed to travel to the continent under communism, he managed to learn fluent Swahili and Amharic, the dominant Ethiopian language, along with English and French. After a long career in academia, he joined the Czech Foreign Ministry in 1999, and has since served as head of mission or ambassador in several other African countries. Along the way, he has written books on the history and geography of Ethiopia,
Czech Culture Minister Lubomír Zaorálek has brought out into the open a deepening feud between the mayor of Prague and Beijing, which has resulted in the cancellation of several cultural events involving Prague ensembles in China. In the sharpest rebuke yet, Minister Zaorálek told the Chinese ambassador to Prague, there would be no cultural exchange if Beijing continued with this practice.
Czechs' trust in the EU and the European Parliament has seen a slow
but steady growth since 2016 when it was at its lowest since the
country’s admission to the EU in 2004, the STEM polling agency reported
According to the results of a June poll, trust in the EU in June was at 41 percent, up by 2 percent compared to the same month last year, and that in the European Parliament was up by 4 percent, reaching 34 percent.
Trust in EU institutions was at its highest at the start of the Czech EU presidency in 2009, when the EU was trusted by 60 percent and the EP by 51 percent of Czechs.
However it slid to a record low in 2016 declining to 29 and 24 percent, respectively, a phenomenon that was attributed, at least in part, to the migrant crisis.
STEM analysts say Czechs have been gradually feeling a stronger identity with Europe in the past few years. According to the latest poll some 71 percent of Czechs feel they are “Europeans”.
Efforts to keep spending down could mean that the Czech Republic does not
have enough officials to handle the country’s presidency of the European
Union in 2022, the Czech Radio news site iRozhlas.cz reported. Individual
ministries originally said they needed 600 new staff but the government
says it will not provide funding for any more than 200.
iRozhlas said neither the Ministry of Finance nor the government possessed methodology or an analysis with regard to how to calculate the number of hires necessary.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said in July that the proposed intake of staff should be adequate to handle the EU presidency. He said the government’s top priority was state budget austerity.
Britain’s departure from the EU was the focus of talks in Prague on Tuesday between the Czech foreign minister, Tomáš Petříček, and his Irish counterpart, Simon Coveney. The latter said measures proposed by the London government do not come close to replacing the Irish border backstop – and that there may be no solution to the divisive issue.
The Czech government on Monday approved the nomination of Věra Jourová to
serve a second term as a European Commissioner.
Jourová has served as European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality as a part of the Juncker Commission since October 2014.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš is hoping that she can secure an economic portfolio. Jourová said she is interested in digitization, the internal market, trade and transport.
She is due to meet the incoming EU Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, on Wednesday.
Věra Jourová, who currently handles justice, consumers and gender, is preparing to become the first Czech to serve two consecutive stints on the European Commission. Prime Minister Babiš is hoping that Mrs. Jourová can secure an economic portfolio, possibly with a view to securing political points at home.
The country’s ambassadors around the world should be proud of the Czech Republic and talk up its achievements. That was the message from Andrej Babiš to Czech diplomats currently gathered in Prague. The prime minister also emphasised the importance of the Visegrad Four and repeated his opposition to euro adoption in a broad-ranging speech.
Throughout this week, Czech ambassadors posted around the world are meeting
in Prague for their annual meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
As is customary, the meeting was opened by the prime minister, Andrej Babiš (ANO), and followed by remarks from the foreign minister, Tomáš Petříček (Social Democrats) along with an address by an international guest of honour.
This year, it is Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok (People's Party for Freedom and Democracy). The three are due to discuss the possible deepening of cooperation between the Benelux countries and the Visegrád Four states.
On Tuesday, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney (Fine Gael) is due to speak to Czech ambassadors about the stat of Brexit negotiations and possibility of a so-called Irish backstop, which would maintain a seamless border on the island of Ireland after the UK leaves the EU.