Amid continuing uncertainty over Brexit, Czech officials are pushing to speed up the approval of a government bill which would protect the rights of British nationals living in the Czech Republic in the event that Great Britain leaves the EU with no deal. The bill would ensure that British nationals would have the same rights as all EU citizens up until the end of 2020.
It is not just Czechs who are currently remembering Jan Palach’s radical protest in January 1969 and the impact his sacrifice helped create. The British ambassador to the Czech Republic, Nick Archer, has had a painting by a UK artist – created right after Palach’s death – installed at his country’s historic embassy building in Prague. He explains the background to the acquisition.
The Czech government has agreed on special legislation in the event of a
“hard Brexit” to treat Britons living here as if they were EU nationals
up until December 31, 2020.
That date mirrors one for a similar policy which the British government has
announced for EU nationals living within the UK. The Czechs government
hopes to get the legislation passed as soon as possible.
The draft special legislation was prepared primarily by the Interior Ministry and is to be put into action if a hard Brexit were to take place in March 2019.
The Czech government will reportedly consider a draft law guaranteeing
Britons living in the Czech Republic the same rights enjoyed by EU citizens
in the event of a so-called “hard Brexit”, up until the end of 2020.
According to the news agency ČTK, the draft law is based on a Ministry of Interior proposal, due to be discussed on Monday.
As it now stands, if the United Kingdom leaves the EU without an agreement, British citizens would lose free access to the Czech labour market, as well as the public health and social benefits systems.
The draft law aims to ensure legal certainty after the UK leaves the EU in order to avoid serious complications for both British citizens in the Czech Republic and the relevant Czech authorities, ČTK cites the Interior Ministry proposal as saying.
The Czech Republic would want a reciprocal arrangement – in the form of a post-Brexit transition period – from the British government.
As the deadline date for Brexit looms ever closer, Czechs are asking themselves what the economic impact of a “hard” Brexit would be. A report published by Česká spořitelna, says that as the country’s fifth largest trading partner, the UK’s exit on WTO rules could cost tens of thousands of Czech jobs and around CZK 55 billion. However, the economic impact would be too small to affect projected economic growth.
Prime Minister Andrej Babis is likely to visit Great Britain at the end of
October, for talks on bilateral relations post-Brexit, the Czech
Republic’s ambassador to London, Libor Sečka told the ctk news agency.
If the visit goes ahead as planned, the prime minister would hold talks with his British counterpart Theresa May and attend a concert of the Czech Philharmonic held on the occasion of the centenary of Czechoslovakia.
The Czech embassy in London is running a successful project called Czech Republic 100 within which it is presenting Czech achievements in different fields, such as medicine and nanotechnology.
The Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, is set to meet his counterparts
from the UK, Austria and Estonia in the Austrian city of Salzburg on Friday
afternoon. Mr. Babiš, host Sebastian Kurz and Juri Ratas are expected to
discuss migration and issues surrounding Britain’s departure from the
European Union with Theresa May, who has taken personal charge of Brexit
Friday’s meeting takes place during a music festival in Salzburg and the leaders are due to attend a performance of Mozart’s The Magic Flute in the evening.
Communist Party leader Vojtěch Filip has indicated that his party, which
has agreed to back a future ANO-led government, would expect to be
consulted on matters such as the possible expulsion of Russian diplomats
over the poisoning of a double agent in Britain.
The outgoing prime minister, Andrej Babiš, who is in the process of forming a new government, said on Friday that the Czech Republic would seriously consider expelling a number of Russian diplomats over the incident.
The Communists say such a move would be premature. On the other hand centre-right parties would fully back such a decision. A decision is expected next week.
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