Foreign Ministry says downgrading status of selected Czech embassies not political decision

The downgrading of the status of several Czech embassies announced recently does not reflect the importance ascribed to bilateral relations with the given state, but was a move prompted by financial considerations, the Czech Foreign Ministry said in a statement released on Friday.

The statement comes in reaction to criticism from President Miloš Zeman who said the decision to take away „top priority status“ from the Czech Embassy in Hungary and that in Italy was a serious mistake. He said he would apologize in person to the visiting Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and would push to get the decision reversed.

The ministry, which also downgraded the status of the Czech embassies in Ukraine and Turkey, said the status – or different categories – in which embassies were placed was only related to the salaries paid to diplomats in the given state.