Czech ambassadors from around the world congregated in Prague this week for their annual round of consultations. Among the foreign policy issues on their agenda were security, economic diplomacy, EU-related matters and regional cooperation. During a small break in their busy agenda, I met with the Czech Ambassador to France Petr Drulák to talk about Franco-Czech relations, the country’s position in the EU and the role of the Visegrad alliance. I began by asking for his take on Prime Minister Sobotka’s recent proposal that the Czech Republic should
The planned renovation of the Czech embassy building at Wilhelmstrasse 44
in Berlin, Germany, is expected to cost around half a billion crowns (the
equivalent of around 19 million euros) the Czech News Agency reports. The
planned renovation, discussed for several years, would be completed by
The government is due to take a decision on the renovation in September. The building, which housed some 500 employees during the Cold War, was built in the 1970s. It was designed by the architects Věra and Vladimír Machonin and is an example of Brutalist architecture. The Machonins also designed the famous Kotva and DBK department stores in Prague.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier is to pay a one-day visit to the
Czech Republic on September 12th, President Milos Zeman said at a meeting
with Czech ambassadors on Wednesday.
The Czech president said he had invited his German counterpart to visit the Czech Republic shortly after his election in February of this year, also in view of the fact that in 2017 the two neighbour states are marking an important anniversary : 20 years since the signing of the Czech-German Declaration on Reconciliation.
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 Czech government has decided to renovate the country’s embassy in
Germany, dropping a previous plan to build a new diplomatic mission in
Berlin, Právo reported on Tuesday. The renovation and temporary relocation
will cost the state over CZK 700 million, the newspaper said.
The Czech embassy in Berlin is an example of Brutalism and was designed by the architects Věra Machoninová and Vladimir Machonin, who also did Prague’s Kotva department store and Hotel Thermal and Karlovy Vary.
The embassy was built to accommodate up to 500 staff but at present it used by fewer than 50.
Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has described ongoing strategic
dialogue between the Czech Republic and Germany as a key tool for good
relations in central Europe, only then mentioning cooperation between
countries in the Visegrad 4 (which include Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary).
Mr Sobotka made the statement at a meeting of Czech diplomats, in which he
outlined key areas in Czech foreign policy and Czech interests.
The prime minister proposed that countries in the EU who have not yet adopted the euro, could gain observer status during meetings between Eurozone finance ministers. Besides maintaining strong ties with Germany, the prime minister also made clear he wanted to intensify cooperation with France.
The former US president, Bill Clinton, first visited the Czech Republic in 1994, to offer the countries of the former communist block support and assistance on the road to democracy. It was a historic, trust-building visit in many ways, which saw the birth of a special friendship between the then US head of state and the Czech Republic’s first president Vaclav Havel. This week Bill Clinton gave Czech Radio’s Washington correspondent Lenka Kabrhelová an interview in which he recalled his visit to Prague, his admiration for Vaclav Havel, and how he
The French president, Emmanuel Macron, looks set to come to Prague in the
spring of next year. The Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, referred
to the visit after a meeting with Mr. Macron and the leaders of Austria and
Slovakia in Salzburg on Wednesday.
Mr. Sobotka said the French head of state would sign a new four-year plan on cooperation between his country and the Czech Republic in Prague. A current Czech-French strategic partnership agreement runs out at the end of 2018.
The Czech prime minister also said his country and France would commemorate two important anniversaries for his country next year, the centenary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia and 50 years since the Soviet-led invasion of 1968.