Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček on Friday handed out Gratias Agit
awards to fifteen Czech expatriates and foreigners for promoting the good
name of the Czech Republic abroad. Among this year’s recipients were
Bohdan Pomahac, a leading plastic surgeon living and working in the United
States and the head of the Festival of Czech Art and Culture Prague-Berlin
Dušan Robert Pařízek.
The Czech foreign minister thanked the laureates for their good work and highlighted the fact that while some of them had been driven from their homeland during the communist regime they were not bitter and selflessly contributed to promoting the country’s good name abroad.
The Gratias Agit awards were first handed out in 1997 and the ministry has since honoured over 300 individuals and institutions.
Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček (Social Democrats) is in Paris
Wednesday for a meeting with his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian,
and the Secretary of State for European Affairs, and Amélie de Montchalin.
Their agenda includes issues of European diplomacy, security and also military operations in Mali involving soldiers from their respective countries.
Mr Petříček is also due to present the priorities of the one-year Czech presidency of the Visegrad Group, which begins in July.
Upon arriving in France this morning, he first went to lay a wreath at a monument to Czechoslovak legionnaires who died fighting with France in the world wars.
Roma activists David Tišer and Karel Karika are this year’s recipients of the František Kriegel award in recognition of civic courage handed out by the Charter 77 foundation. The award, which will be presented at a ceremony in Prague on Wednesday, acknowledges their fight for equality and human rights for members of the Romani community as well as for the socially excluded.
One of the four top jobs in the European Union should go to somebody from
Central Europe, the Czech minister of foreign affairs, Tomáš Petříček,
said at the Prague European Summit on Wednesday. Following the weekend’s
elections to the European Parliament debate has begun on who should take
the roles of president of the European Commission, president of the
European Council, high representative for foreign and security policy and
president of the European Parliament.
Mr. Petříček said he sensed a positive mood as regards Central European states’ expectations being met in this regard.
The Czech foreign policy chief also told delegates at the conference that there were too many disputes between Central European and Western European EU members, saying that while the two parts had differences they had more in common.
Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček presented the opening address at a
three-day international conference titled Prague European Summit that began
in the Czech capital on Monday.
This year’s conference is subtitled Europe at a Crossroads and the panel debates will afford an opportunity to analyze the outcome of the European elections and consider where the EU is heading.
Other areas of debate will focus on European competitiveness, artificial intelligence, rule of law, the Eurozone and Brexit.
The Prague European Summit, which has been an annual event since 2015, will also hear an address by the Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš.
There is no alternative to EU membership for the Czech Republic and the
country is not looking for any alternate options, Czech Foreign Minister
Tomáš Petřícek stressed at an international conference at Černín
Palace marking 15 years of Czech membership in the EU.
Minister Petříček said there was more to EU membership than just economic interests, emphasizing that by joining the alliance the Czech Republic had joined a community of nations sharing the same democratic values.
EU Justice Commissioner Věra Jourová said the Czech Republic had greatly benefitted from EU membership and stressed that EU decisions were based on a broad consensus, so that no country left the negotiating table with a sense of defeat.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš called for EU reform, stressing the need to strengthen the role of individual member states.
MP Helena Válková (ANO), the newly appointed government Commissioner for
Human Rights, plans to focus on protecting the rights of children, seniors,
the socially disadvantaged and handicapped people.
Válková, a former minister of justice who helped draft a law strengthening the rights of victims of crime, said she plans to retain her seat in the lower house of Parliament.
The position of Commissioner for Human Rights had been vacant since Martina Štěpánková stepped down at the end of March, less than a year after taking office.