The Czech Republic and France are holding breakfasts with human rights and
democracy campaigners at their embassies around the world on Tuesday. The
meetings commemorate a famous breakfast at Prague’s French Embassy on
December 9, 1988, when then French president Francois Mitterrand held talks
with Czechoslovak dissidents that were seen as a significant gesture of
The Czech minister of foreign affairs, Tomáš Petříček, said the aim was to support today’s dissidents in repressive states.
Mr. Petříček attended a breakfast at the French Embassy in Prague with dissidents from Belarus, Azerbaijan, Burma, Vietnam and Cuba.
Similar events have been taking place at Czech and French embassies in Armenia, Burma, Moldova, Russia and Cuba.
The European Court of Human Rights has rejected a petition taken by Czech
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš against Slovakia in a dispute centred on the
files of the StB, the Communist-era secret police. Mr. Babiš says he is
wrongfully listed as an agent of the StB in records held by Slovakia’s
Nation’s Memory Institute, which administers such materials.
The Bratislava-born politician took legal action against the institute six years ago and Slovak courts initially found in his favour. However, the country’s Constitutional Court subsequently ruled against him and he then took the matter to Strasbourg.
Mr. Babiš said on Tuesday that he would continue to fight the allegation in Slovakia. He told reporters he would win in the end as he had never signed on to collaborate with the StB.
The number of British nationals filing requests for Czech citizenship has
been steadily rising since the Brexit vote, Czech Television reported.
While in 2015 the Czech Interior Ministry registered five requests for Czech citizenship from British nationals, in 2016 it had 42 such requests.
The interest is mainly from British citizens with Czech roots and British citizens residing in the Czech Republic who fear that after Brexit they would lose the right to travel and work in the EU.
The number of requests from British nationals for long-term residence in the Czech Republic has also risen by a thousand as compared to 2015.
MEP Jan Zahradil is to lead the centre-right Civic Democratic Party in the
European elections in May of 2019. The party leadership confirmed the
nomination on Monday.
Zahradil, who defines himself as "pro-EU, but anti-federalist“ will be contesting a seat in the fourth successive European elections.
At a press briefing in Prague on Monday Zahradil outlined his vision of a multi-speed Europe in which member states are free to pursue the measure of integration that best suits their interests. Zahradil has served as an MEP since 2004.
The Senate’s Committee for Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security is to
meet in a closed session to debate President Zeman’s recent criticism of
the Czech counterintelligence service, the BIS. The meeting was called by
the committee’s chairman Pavel Fisher, who said the president’s words
were damaging the country’s reputation and public trust in its
In response to the counterintelligence service’s annual report in which it warns of heightened activities on the part of Russian and Chinese agents, the president made derogatory remarks about its performance, saying the report failed to present any evidence to back its claims and described it as “blather”.
Michal Koudelka, head of the national counterintelligence service BIS, sharply rejected the president’s claim that the BIS was “sleeping on the job”, saying that this year the service had helped expose and dismantle a Russian intelligence service operating in the country.
The Czech Republic absented itself from a meeting of UN representatives in
Marrakesh on Monday at which 164 states signed the Global Compact on
The Czech government announced earlier that it would withdraw from the pact citing ambiguities in its interpretation. Czech officials argue that the compact does not draw a clear line between legal and illegal migration or state that illegal migration is undesirable.
Around a dozen other countries including the US, Austria, Hungary and Poland have also refused to support the global compact.
President Miloš Zeman is to host an “Advent dinner” for cabinet
ministers at Lány Chateau on Monday evening. The dinner, which is seen as
an opportunity for informal consultations on government matters will be
attended by the entire cabinet led by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.
The government on Monday concluded a two-day government session at Štiřín Chateau at which ministers discussed government aid, economic diplomacy and other issues. The meeting was consultative and no decisions were taken.
The State Fund for Cinematography has agreed to subsidize eight Czech films
to the tune of 64 million crowns. The highest single subsidy was granted to
a biographical film on the life of Václav Havel produced by Slávek
The film will cover Havel’s life from 1968 to 1989 when the dissident writer was elected president of Czechoslovakia. The project received a subsidy of 14.5 million crowns.
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