The man most responsible for Brexit – Nigel Farage – has been in Prague to make his contribution to the campaign for upcoming Czech elections. And the former head of the UKIP party had a series of messages for politicians in general, Czechs in particular, and his own take on the continuing Brexit negotiations.
Libor Sečka is a seasoned Czech diplomat who has served as ambassador in countries such as Italy, Spain, Malta and China. At the start of 2016 he took office as Czech ambassador to the UK. On a brief visit to Prague, I spoke to him about his current mission, the life of a diplomat and how he won a bottle of wine in an ambassadorial bet on the outcome of the Brexit referendum.
The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union has not as yet
had any impact on bilateral relations between Prague and London, the Czech
ambassador to the UK, Libor Sečka, told the Czech News Agency. Mr. Sečka
said it would be necessary to see the balance of trade between the two
states at the end of the year before assessing the economic effect of the
The ambassador said his embassy had registered an increase in animosity against Czechs living in the UK immediately following Britain’s referendum last year. Every registered case was discussed with the UK authorities, Mr. Sečka said. However, the situation has since calmed, he added.
Britain and the rest of the EU are at the start of the Brexit negotiations and in some sense both sides are still exploring where there are major differences and where there is agreement. Britain’s Brexit negotiator, David Davis, was in Prague on Tuesday for talks with the Czech foreign minister over its take on the talks so far and how they should proceed.
David Davis, the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, will meet with Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek in Prague next Tuesday. The Brexit secretary will travel to the Czech capital after a second round of talks with the EU, the Czech Foreign Ministry confirmed. In a statement, it said that the Czech Republic supported a balanced deal based on rights equality, and stressed that it was important to uphold excellent mutual ties even after Great Britain’s departure from the EU.
The Czech Republic is currently chairing the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, one of Europe’s top human rights institutions. During a visit to Strasbourg last week Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek also discussed a case that has raised emotions in the Czech Republic – a not guilty verdict in the case of an attacker who killed a Czech man in London following an altercation outside a fast food outlet. The Czech Republic has been seeking ways to get the case reopened.
Diplomats pushing Czech economic interests across the world have been gathering in Prague in recent days to discuss latest developments and initiatives. Such diplomats, not just from the foreign ministry but from industry and trade, agriculture, and research have multiplied in the past years with the number of dossiers and projects six times more than just three years ago. One of those taking part was Aleš Opatný, the head of the economic and commercial section at the Czech embassy in London. The London office was picked out for its success last
The Czech Republic will set up a consulate in Manchester in order to improve services for the public and handle a growing number of requests for Czech citizenship in the wake of Brexit, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek told journalists on Wednesday. The proposal has been approved by the government and the consulate should begin operating at the start of next year. There are presently some 100,000 Czechs living in Great Britain and approximately 300,000 Czechs visit the country every year. At present consular services are only provided by the Czech Embassy in London.
Czech president Miloš Zeman, accompanied by his wife Ivana and daughter
Kateřina, were received by British Queen Elisabeth II at Buckingham Palace
on Friday. Among other things, they were discussing Czech citizens who are
currently studying and working in Great Britain and their future after
Brexit, president Zeman told jounralists after the reception.
The meeting with the UK head of state is the high point of Mr Zeman’s visit to Great Britain, during which he has also set to meet with UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Mr Zeman would like to discuss with Mr Johnson the case of the Czech national who was killed in London last year and whose alleged attacker was allowed to walk free from court.
The Czech head of state on Friday also presented a diploma of promotion to the rank of general to Miroslav Antonín Liškutín, a Czechoslovak pilot who flew with the RAF during the war and was promoted in his absence in Prague on May 8, and awarded a number of Czech and Slovak war veterans who served in the RAF with a medal for bravery.