Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said he regretted the postponement of a vote
on the Brexit deal in the House of Commons on Saturday, adding that he
hoped Britain would clarify its position as soon as possible.
Mr. Babiš noted that since no one in the EU wanted a no deal Brexit one could only hope that British MPs would manage to approve both the required legislative changes and the Brexit deal by the set deadline. Similar reactions have come from politicians across the political spectrum.
Confectionery manufacturers are among Czech businesses most likely to be hard hit by Brexit, Czech Radio reported this week. According to an analysis carried out by the country’s biggest bank, Česká spořitelna, about a quarter of confectionery goods produced in the country are destined for the British market.
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.
In 2009 the Eastern Partnership, a project seeking closer ties between the EU and its Eastern European neighbours was proclaimed in Prague. Ten years later, the union is evaluating its progress and searching for prospective strategies. Whatever the future brings, it seems that this is likely to be a long-haul effort.
EU leaders are meeting in Sibiu, Romania on Thursday for a summit that was originally intended to affirm post-Brexit unity and chart a course for future development. Although member states are expected to adopt a declaration of “unity and confidence in the future”, the summit is overshadowed by uncertainty regarding the outcome of European elections, due later this month, and the many question marks surrounding Brexit.
How have Czech perceptions of the EU changed since the country joined the bloc on May 1, 2004? Has the Brexit mess impacted discussion of a potential Czech departure from the EU? Will the country ever adopt the Euro? And what should we be looking out for in the European Parliament elections in a few weeks’ time? These were just some of the issues Ian Willoughby discussed in Olomouc recently with a number of experts: sociologist Jan Hartl of the STEM polling agency; Karel Barták, a former CTK journalist who was a Brussels insider during a lengthy
Britain’s departure from the EU will boost the position of France and
Germany, according to Czech political scientists approached by the CTK news
Petr Kaniok from Masaryk University in Brno said Great Britain had slowed the pace of European integration, acting as a break to federalist tendencies within the EU.
Political analyst Kryštof Kruliš agrees, saying Brexit will open the way for France to push through its federalist vision faster and more effectively.
In this respect the Czech Republic is seen as losing an important ally in the EU.
Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček (Social Democrats) met his
British counterpart Jeremy Hunt in London on Wednesday to discuss bilateral
relations and the status of Czechs living in the UK following Brexit.
Following the meeting, Minister Petříček tweeted, “Britain is currently our fifth largest export market and among the leading investors in the Czech Republic. We have great potential to strengthen cooperation in the areas of artificial intelligence, cyber security, renewables and nanotechnology.”
In a gesture meant to show good relations will continue, Petříček and Hunt exchanged national football jerseys with their respective surnames on them.
On Tuesday, the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs opened a new Czech Consulate General in Manchester primarily to bring consular services to Czechs living in the northern UK.
The Czech Republic is ready to agree with the United Kingdom’s request to
extend the Brexit deadline of March 29 at the EU Council meeting in
Brussels on Thursday.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) said at Wednesday’s European Affairs Committee meeting in Prague the deadline sought would likely extend to June 30. He said he could not imagine any EU Member State would seek to block the summit meeting, which would lead to a no-deal Brexit.
A June 30 deadline would means that the UK would not take part in the European Parliament elections.
The Czech minister of foreign affairs, Tomáš Petříček, opened a new
Czech Consulate General in the UK city of Manchester on Tuesday. It is the
Czech Republic’s second diplomatic mission in the UK after its embassy in
London and is intended to serve people living in the north of England,
Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Mr. Petříček said that the Consulate General would help Czech firms to continue operating in the UK after the country leaves the EU. He said the Czech Republic wished to maintain good relations with Great Britain following Brexit, adding that his government was interested in fostering cooperation in the field of innovation with UK partners.
An estimated 100,000 Czechs are resident in Great Britain.