A great deal of pomp and ceremony was on display at Lisbon’s Jeronimos Monastery on Thursday as leaders of the European Union’s 27 member countries signed the landmark Lisbon Treaty. The treaty replaces the EU Constitution, which was rejected by Dutch and French voters in 2005, and will fundamentally alter the way the EU is run. Lisbon now needs to be ratified by all 27 members, including of course the Czech Republic. But will the path to ratification be smooth?
When the Czech Republic enters the Schengen zone on December 21, it will bring in an era of passport-free travel for Czechs abroad. But not everyone is looking forward to the change. Entry to the Schengen zone could spell trouble for the sizeable number of Americans who have, up until now, been living and working in Prague without a visa.
The future of Kosovo has been exercising minds throughout Europe in recent weeks, and now the UN deadline for a settlement on the Serbian province has expired, talks have acquired a new urgency. Leaders of the so-called Visegrad Four group - the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary – discussed Kosovo this weekend ahead of a key European Union summit on the problem.
President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia Party clinched a landslide victory in parliamentary elections held in the Russian Federation on Sunday. In a reaction to the preliminary results, the Czech Foreign Ministry has denounced the elections as not providing a level playing field for all the country’s political forces, and said that doubts remain about their validity. Meanwhile, the Czech Republic’s left-wing parties have also questioned the Russian elections.
Every other diplomat representing the Russian Federation at its Prague embassy and several consulates across the Czech Republic works for Russian intelligence services, according to the 2006 annual report by Czech counter-intelligence. The report, published on Wednesday, also highlights other security risks including an increasing influence by organized crime in the state sector.
In an interview for BBC television, Czech President Vaclav Klaus has said that he expects a radar base proposed by the US will one day be a reality on Czech territory, although he stressed it would not be “tomorrow” or in the nearest future. Mr Klaus was asked about missile defense on the BBC’s HardTalk programme: while reluctant to speculate over the necessity of a missile shield regarding rogue states, the president did indicate Prague’s support for the US was a show of solidarity in keeping with transatlantic relations.
Over the last three days, the Czech president, Vaclav Klaus, has been on a state visit to the United Kingdom. In the course of his stay, Mr Klaus has paid visits to Buckingham Palace, Brookwood military cemetery, and Downing Street - and found time for a lecture on global warming as well. Czech Radio's correspondent in the United Kingdom, Milan Kocourek, has been accompanying the president on his whistle-stop tour. He talked to Radio Prague earlier today about the president's programme:
US Ambassador Richard Graber presented the National Film Archives director on Friday with unique footage shot by American soldiers in western Bohemia right after the end of the war. The footage, which had not been seen in the country before, will be identified, analyzed, and publicly screened in the very places where they were filmed.
Czech and American diplomats concluded another round of talks in Prague on Tuesday on the possible positioning of an American-operated radar base in the Czech Republic. While US Defence Secretary Robert Gates caught Czech politicians by surprise last month when he spoke of the possibility of a Russian 'presence' at the base, his deputy Eric Edelman, who headed the US delegation this time, assured the Czechs that no such thing is planned. Veronika Kuchynova Smigolova, the head of the Czech Foreign Ministry's department of security policy, was on
Beijing ends agreement with Prague – but can spat harm Czech capital?
Czechia now ahead of Spain in GDP per capita, but still below EU average
Rare Terezín concentration camp artefacts found in attic of private home
Czechs observe day of mourning for pop idol Karel Gott
Thousands pay tribute to deceased national pop icon Karel Gott