Nationalism and separatism can be expected to rise in Europe in the case Britain decides to leave the EU, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said at a meeting of the European Committee of the Chamber of Deputies on Thursday, adding that he fears a domino effect running across the whole of Europe. Mr Sobotka also said that if the migration flow doesn’t slow down, EU countries will be forced to gradually close their borders. The European committee was debating the government’s position ahead of the European Council summit.
The attention of Europe will be on Brussels on Thursday when EU leaders meet to renegotiate the terms of the UK’s membership. However, while the likes of Germany and France are keen to cut a deal and help prevent a possible British exit from the EU, the Czech Republic and the other Visegrad Four states are refusing to accept certain provisions.
The Czech prime minister will also take to Brussels the message that planned reforms sought by Britain to curb immigration from other EU countries cannot impact foreign workers already in employment and paying into the British social system. It was not simply possible to change the rules for those already in work, Secretary of State for European Affairs Tomáš Prouza explained. The Brussels summit should grabble with the reform package sought by British Prime Minister David Cameron as well as the broader immigration issue. Cameron is seeking to finalise a reform package that could be put to a referendum on continued EU membership which could be held as early as June. Prouza said concessions to Britain had already been made in other areas.
The Czech Republic still has reservations about reforms of the European Union being demanded by the UK, says the Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka. The sticking points are social benefits and an “emergency brake” to curb immigration to the UK from the EU. Mr. Sobotka made the comments after a meeting in Prague on Tuesday with European Council president Donald Tusk, who has warned against a UK exit from the bloc and is on a tour of EU capitals to discuss the proposals. Mr. Sobotka reiterated that Prague wishes Great Britain to remain in the EU; this is a matter of Europe’s strategic importance and influence so the Czech Republic hopes a compromise will be found, he said.
Chairman of the European Council, Donald Tusk, is expected in Prague Tuesday to discuss the latest developments on a series of EU reforms aimed at preventing a British exist from the EU. Tusk warned Monday that the risk of a so-called ‘Brexit’ is real. The Visegrad Four regional grouping drew up a joint position Monday on British demands, reiterating worries about the intention to clamp down on certain social payments to workers from other EU countries. A brake on immigration from other EU countries is one of the demands of British Prime Minister David Cameron. He is set to put the finally agreed reform package to a referendum on continued EU membership, which could be held as early as June.
The Czech government on Monday discussed the terms of a deal demanded by Britain on reform of the European Union. On the key issue of withholding some benefits to workers from other EU countries, the Czech government is arguing that such a move only be applied to newly arrived workers and not those already living in Britain. As part of a proposed deal unveiled last week by European Council president Donald Tusk, Britain would be allowed to limit work related benefits if the influx of workers put too much pressure on its system. Czech State Secretary for European Affairs Tomáš Prouza said Prague’s final position will be hammered out with its Visegrad regional partners ahead of a summit next week on the reforms.
Chairman of the European Council Donald Tusk is expected to visit Prague on February 16 to discuss with Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka over the conditions for an agreement with Britain over its demands for a reformed European Union. Tusk unveiled the contents of a draft deal on Tuesday, including a brake allowing London to limit the number of immigrants from other EU countries. Many of the details though have still to be filled in.
Czech President Miloš Zeman has expressed full backing for British Prime
Minister David Cameron’s EU reform efforts. He made the statement while
welcoming Mr Cameron for a private meeting at Prague Castle. Earlier on
Friday, the British prime minister met with his Czech counterpart Bohuslav
Sobotka to discuss EU reform and other issues. Mr Cameron also took the
time to lay a wreath at a memorial site at Prague’s Klárov - honouring
Czechoslovak airmen who served in the RAF during the Second World War. The
Czech News Agency suggested that Prime Minister David Cameron would also
still meet with representatives of the opposition Civic Democratic Party
– partners of the British Conservative Party at the European level.
Czech Radio reported Friday that the Czech side will be seeking a end to a British veto on the sale of Czech L-159 planes to Iraq. Some of the radar technology on the plane is British-made and UK authorities are reported to fear it falling into the wrong hands.
British Prime Minister David Cameron arrived in Prague Friday for talks with his Czech counterpart, Bohuslav Sobotka, and be followed later by a meeting with President Miloš Zeman. The main focus of the talks at the seat of the government was Mr Cameron’s bid to shape a package of EU reforms which he can put to the British public in a future referendum over continued UK membership of the European Union. At the joint press conference which followed, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said that Europe would "remain strong if Great Britain stayed" and made clear the Czech Republic would do its utmost to influence a positive outcome. EU reform was not the only issue on the table; also discussed was the ongoing migrant crisis and the threat of Islamic State.
Archaeologists unearth seven graves dating back to Great Moravian Empire
Czech biochemist involved in developing potential coronavirus treatment
“Einstein in Bohemia” – Part II: how alienation in ‘half-barbaric’ Prague led him to a new theory of gravity, eventual love of a free Czechoslovakia
“Einstein in Bohemia” – part 1: how a Prague sojourn sparked his theory of general relativity, journey of self-discovery
Valentine’s Day 1945 - When the Americans bombed Prague