The distribution of refugees remains to be the only problematic issue in
the otherwise excellent Czech-German relations, German chancellor Angela
Merkel said on Wednesday after meeting with Czech Prime Minister Andrej
Babiš in Berlin. Several dozen people gathered outside the German
Chancellery in the German capital to protest against Mr. Babiš.
The ANO party leader, who arrived in Berlin for his first official visit of Germany, is also set scheduled to meet with Bundestag president Wolfgang Schäuble. Earlier on Wednesday, he held talks with representatives of several local think tanks and laid a wreath at the Berlin Wall Memorial.
Government leaders ANO would have won elections last month on 28 percent of
the vote, suggests an opinion poll carried out by the Kantar TNS agency for
Czech Television. That figure is less than two points below what the party
received in October’s elections.
The Czech Pirate Party, who got under 11 percent in October would now receive 15 percent, the survey indicates. Thirteen percent of respondents in the poll said they would vote for the Civic Democrats.
The Communists and Freedom and Direct Democracy would receive 8 percent of the vote, the poll suggests, while the Social Democrats and the Mayors and Independents would get 6.5 percent, the Christian Democrats would get 5.5 percent and TOP 09 5 percent.
The Social Democrats’ nominee for foreign minister, Miroslav Poche, has
been a very negative force at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, says Prime
Minister Andrej Babiš. Mr. Babiš said on a TV discussion show on Sunday
that Mr. Poche, who is currently a political secretary at the ministry,
would never head the government department.
President Miloš Zeman refused to appoint Mr. Poche and Social Democrats chairman, Minister of the Interior Jan Hamáček, is currently also serving as caretaker foreign minister. The party say they will return to the matter after Senate and municipal elections next month.
Mr. Poche described the prime minister’s words on Sunday as an attack. He said if Mr. Babiš was cooperating with the likes of Hungary’s Viktor Orban he would be hard pressed to find a similarly minded foreign minister within the Social Democrats.
The Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, and his Hungarian counterpart,
Viktor Orban, say they want to hold a Visegrad Four meeting prior to an
informal European Union summit in Salzburg in mid-September. The two
politicians made the comment after bilateral talks in Budapest on Friday
evening that focused on economic cooperation, migration and the EU budget.
Mr. Babiš said that the last time Czech, Hungarian, Polish and Slovak leaders had held a V4 meeting was back in June. He also told reporters that Mr. Orban had accepted an invitation to Prague and would visit the city at the end of October.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš will hold talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on September 5. The talks are expected to focus primarily on migration, the EU budget, Brexit and European elections. A number of bilateral issues are also on the agenda, such as road construction, cooperation in research and development and the Czech-German Fund of the Future. The Czech prime minister this week held talks in Italy and Malta to try to convince European leaders to change their approach to the migrant crisis.
The centrist Ano party and its junior coalition partner, the Social Democrats, have reached a framework agreement on increasing public sector salaries. While the specifics have not yet been made public, the coalition has agreed on a differentiated range of salary increases of about 8 per cent on average, with workers who now earn the least set to get the biggest raises.
Prime Minister Andrej Babis is likely to visit Great Britain at the end of
October, for talks on bilateral relations post-Brexit, the Czech
Republic’s ambassador to London, Libor Sečka told the ctk news agency.
If the visit goes ahead as planned, the prime minister would hold talks with his British counterpart Theresa May and attend a concert of the Czech Philharmonic held on the occasion of the centenary of Czechoslovakia.
The Czech embassy in London is running a successful project called Czech Republic 100 within which it is presenting Czech achievements in different fields, such as medicine and nanotechnology.
The Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, held talks with his Italian
counterpart, Giuseppe Conte, in Rome on Tuesday. The pair discussed the
protection of the European Union’s external borders, cooperation with
third countries and migrant return policies, the Czech Office of the
Mr. Babiš and his host also spoke about the European Union’s relations with Russia and the US, as well as bilateral cooperation.
In July the Czech leader agreed to visit Rome after Mr. Conte sent an open letter in response to Mr. Babiš’s refusal of an Italian request to take in 450 migrants.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has said that to bring a halt to illegal migration a comprehensive action plan for the entire European Union is needed – and the Czech Republic is ready to prepare just such a proposal. To stem the tide, he has even floated the idea of the protection of EU borders being transferred to the Nato level.
At a meeting of Czech ambassadors in Prague on Monday, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš stressed the importance of being a reliable and active partner in the EU and NATO. At the same time the head of government defended the country’s stance on migration and its decision not to join the Eurozone in the foreseeable future.