Czech foreign minister Lubomír Zaorálek has said he sees no perspective in the near term of Austria joining the Visegrad Four grouping, which comprised the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary. In an interview with the Austrian paper Die Presse, he said it was already difficult sometimes to get agreement between the four. He added that the splitting of the EU is a great danger and that it would be difficult to imagine cooperation between France and Germany if Marine Le Pen won the French presidential elections.
Czech president Miloš Zeman held talks with Austrian presidential candidate and leader of the Freedom Party Norbert Hofer in Prague on Monday. Hofer is standing in the re-run presidential elections for the right-wing party. His visit has roused interest due to reported remarks that the post WWII Czechoslovak Beneš decrees were illegal because they were based on collective guilt. The decrees paved the way for around 3.0 million Sudeten Germans to be expelled from Czechoslovakia. Hofer has been an outspoken critic of the recent wave of immigration to the EU. The original second round presidential. Subjects discussed were the Beneš decrees, Temelín nuclear plant, and moves to boost the importance of Central Europe within the EU.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, who is on a two-day working visit to Austria, met with the country’s Chancellor Christian Kern on Friday. Mr Kern said after the meeting that the talks were dominated by Britain’s decision to leave the EU. The Czech Prime Minister stressed that it was essential for the central European countries to strengthen good mutual relationships, especially in view of Brexit. The two politicians also discussed European issues, the migrant crisis, transport infrastructure and energy security.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka is to pay a two-day working visit to Austria on June 23-24th, his office announced on Friday. The prime minister will hold talks with Austrian President Heinz Fischer and Chancellor Christian Kern. The talks are expected to focus on European issues, the migrant crisis, transport infrastructure and energy security.
Austrian President Heinz Fischer arrived in the Czech Republic on Monday for the start of a two-day visit. He travelled by train to Prague’s main station and then on to Lány where he was received by President Miloš Zeman. The two heads of state laid a wreath at the grave of Czechoslovakia’s first president Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk and later held talks at Lány Chateau. A plaque was also unveiled in a special ceremony at Stochov train station, to mark President Masaryk’s meeting with his Austrian counterpart Michael Heinisch 95 years ago. On Tuesday, President Fischer will meet with Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and attend a Czech-Austrian business seminar in Prague.
Austrian President Heinz Fischer is in the Czech Republic on a two-day visit. His talks with Czech top officials are expected to cover security issues, bilateral cooperation and the migrant crisis. I asked foreign relations expert Michal Kořan from the Institute for International Relations to assess the present state of Czech-Austrian relations and to what extent they are burdened by issues such as the Beneš decrees or nuclear power.
The Czech nuclear safety watchdog has cleared the continued operation of the country’s oldest nuclear reactor. That decision quickly brought a reaction from neighbouring anti-nuclear Austria with a demand that the European Commission become involved in whether that decision should be reviewed and confirmed.
Around 200 Czech police officers on Tuesday took part in exercises near the border with Austria meant to simulate the influx of a large number of refugees. The exercises went on in the village of Dolní Dvořiště in South Bohemia, the town of Mikulov in South Moravia and in the countryside, with officers testing registration centres that would function in the same way as those that now exist in Macedonia and Hungary, said the Czech police president, Tomáš Tuhý.
Czech police officers will take part in a training exercise on Tuesday increasing security at border crossings with Austria, police presidium spokesman Jozef Bocán confirmed. The exercise is to help prepare and streamline cooperation in the event of a marked increase in the influx of refugees during the ongoing migration crisis. A similar operation was conducted last September. Police from the regions of South Bohemia and South Moravia are taking part; last September, training exercises included participation of the armed forces. Interior Minister Milan Chovanec said the operation showed that the country was well prepared for a marked increase in refugees, with a five-hour window to take steps considered ideal.
Austrian investigators say a massive avalanche which caught seventeen Czech skiers in the Austrian Alps on Saturday, was in all likelihood not anyone’s fault but broke away on its own. The skiers were in two groups when the avalanche hit: five lost their lives. The Tirol police spokesman described the avalanche as several hundred metres wide; the tear point where the slab had broken away was reportedly a metre deep. The mountain service has said that avalanche warnings are still in place in areas.