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Czech PM disappointed with EU debate on migration

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has hailed the idea to hold a summit of EU and African states, but voiced disappointment with the EU debate on migration at an informal summit in Salzburg.

Mr. Babiš said that some politicians are still insisting on the redistribution of illegal migrants which took the debate a few years back.

The Czech prime minister said the fact that some EU politicians seem to have come to terms with the flow of illegal migrants to Europe was an invitation to people smugglers and criticized the fact that the EU had not agreed on more concrete measures how to fight them.

As regards Frontex, Babiš said it was essential to clear up the agency’s role in the future. He earlier stressed it would be good if Frontex operated outside of Europe, rather than duplicating the coast guards of individual member states.

Czech PM would like to see new referendum on Brexit

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said in an interview for the BBC that he was “very unhappy” that the U.K. is leaving the bloc and he would like to see the country hold another referendum that might overturn the result. Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat expressed a similar position.

Speaking to EU leaders in Salzburg British prime minister Theresa May, ruled out such a possibility, saying the U.K. would not push back the deadline in negotiations or hold another referendum on Brexit.

International symposium on Czech foreign policy in Prague

The Czech Foreign Ministry is hosting an international symposium on Czech foreign policy titled “Rethinking the Future.“

The event is co-organized by the Prague-based Institute of International Relations, the German foundation Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung and the embassies of the United States and Australia.

In an opening address to the assembly, Deputy Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček stressed the significance of EU and NATO membership for the Czech Republic.

He said politicians must work to overcome their differences on divisive issues such as migration and relations with Russia and that Czech foreign policy must build on values such as support for human rights in countries where they are brutally suppressed.

Petříček also stressed the importance of developing transatlantic cooperation, saying the United States had always been Europe’s key partner in times when the continent faced serious challenges.

Aleš Chmelař leaving his government post

The government’s Secretary for European Affairs Aleš Chmelař is leaving his post and seeking the position of deputy foreign minister in charge of the ministry’s European section, the daily Právo reported on Thursday.

Prime Minister Babiš said an open competition would be held to fill the post of Government Secretary for European Affairs. Chmelař has served in the post since June 2017.

Network of community centers for mental health being established

Sixteen more community centers for mental health will open around the country in the coming years, Health Minister Adam Vojtěch announced at the opening of such a center in Prague’s Prosek district on Thursday.

The building of a network of mental health community centers is part of an attempt to erase the stigma surrounding mental health problems and enable patients who have been released from hospital to continue getting professional aid and advice. The understanding is that more patients will also approach such a center in the event of problems.

Five such centers were built this year and their number should reach 30 by 2021.

Czech Republic ranks 26th in Social Progress Imperative quality of life index

The Czech Republic ranks 26th in the world in a quality of life index compiled by the non-profit group Social Progress Imperative along with partner organisations including the consultancy Deloitte.

Of the new EU member states, only Slovenia finished higher, in 22nd place. The best living standards are enjoyed by the people of Norway; the worst by people in the Central African Republic. In total, 146 countries were evaluated.

Weather forecast

Friday should bring clear to partly cloudy skies with temperatures between 25 and 29 degrees Celsius.