The Czech Republic’s top officials met to clear up the country’s stand on a number of a hot foreign policy issues on Thursday, voicing condemnation of the Turkish military offensive in northern Syria and rejecting President Zeman’s proposal for the Czech Republic to revoke its recognition of Kosovo as an independent state.
A simmering row between Prague and Beijing has finally come to a head. After the former announced a decision to terminate a sister city agreement with the Chinese capital, the country’s embassy said late on Wednesday night that it had abrogated the document itself. But can the dispute actually harm Prague?
The ANO-appointed minister of finance, Alena Schillerová, says that if the
Social Democrats put forward a special tax on the banking sector it would
be in breach of the coalition agreement.
The latter party’s minister for labour and social affairs, Jana Maláčová, said last week that she would submit a bill on a banks tax herself if no agreement was reached with ANO on the matter.
Speaking on Czech Television on Sunday, Minster Schillerová said if her cabinet colleague actually put forward legislation to that effect it could spell the end of the coalition government.
Ms. Maláčová argues that Czech banks are making record profits.
The Czech Banking Association says 15 EU states have a bank sector tax.
Czech Foregin Minister Tomáš Petříček and his German counterpart Heiko
Maas met in Prague on Monday, where they signed a joint Czech-German
Strategic Dialog statement to be followed for the next two years. Strategic
co-operation is to be followed in the areas of research, education,
transport, climate issues and security.
Mr. Petříček said that the Czech Republic is also looking to involve Germany more in Visegrad Four negotiations.
The Czech Republic should have the right to determine its own energy mix,
Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček told the Czech News Agency on Sunday
ahead of his departure for the United National General Assembly, which also
includes the Sustainable Development Impact Summit.
Mr. Petříček also said nuclear energy represented part of the country’s energy mix and it was an important replacement of the fossil fuels, which are being gradually phased out.
Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamáček has said that any move by the president
to halt the possible prosecution of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš would be
inappropriate interference in the work of the judiciary and would violate
the principle that all citizens are equal before the law.
He did not comment on how the Social Democrats, a junior partner in the governing coalition, would respond to such a development.
Justice Minister Marie Benešová refused to comment on the president’s words or speculate about the possibility of such a thing happening.
The Czech Republic is hosting a summit on Thursday of prime ministers from fellow Visegrad Four countries and their Western Balkan counterparts. Representatives of Kosovo, however, will be conspicuously absent at today’s summit, in the wake of a slew of insults by the Czech head of state this week, who suggested revoking recognition of Kosovo as an independent nation.
Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček (Social Democrats) says the Czech
diplomatic corps is preparing further steps in regards to the ongoing
dispute surrounding the statue of Soviet marshal Konev.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on the Konev statue dispute in which it accused some Czech politicians of initiating a “war” over the symbols of Soveit victory over Nazism.
Minister Petříček journalists that such comments are not helping build good relations. He urged for the discussion to be led on a factual basis, with legal aspects also being taken into account. He warned that the conflict could divide Czech society, going on to say that “this is something our partners perhaps want”.
Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček says he sees no reason for a debate on
renouncing the Czech Republic’s recognition of Kosovo’s independence.
He says that such a shift would not be in the interests of Czech security
and the readability of Czech foreign policy. However, he says he will
gladly talk with the president about his opinion.
The statement was given to the Czech News Agency on Wednesday, after President Miloš Zeman said that he wants to discuss the possibility of renouncing the Czech recognition of an independent Kosovo at his next meeting with Czech top officials.
Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček (Social Democrats) is due to
meet his Swedish counterpart Margot Wallström in Stockholm on Monday, as
well as the Nordic country’s ministers for defence and European affairs.
On their agenda are bilateral relations, security and Russia-Ukraine issues, Brexit, and the Eastern Partnership project (EaP), launched in Prague in 2009 to boost cooperation among EU countries and six former Soviet republics: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
During his visit, Minister Petříček is also set to meet representatives of the Czech community in Sweden and inaugurate an exhibition marking the upcoming 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, featuring a stand-in for the Pink Tank of Czech artist David Černý.