The Czech Union of Freedom Fighters has presented a medal to Communist
Party MP Zdeněk Ondráček, who beat up demonstrators while a member of a
Communist riot squad in 1989, iDnes.cz reported on Saturday. During a
ceremony on Thursday Mr. Ondráček was presented with a medal inscribed
“For the homeland and for freedom” by the chairman of the group
Jaroslav Vodička, himself a one-time collaborator of the Communist-era
secret police, the news website said.
The Czech Union of Freedom Fighters comprises World War II freedom fighters, their family members and supporters. It has faced criticism over the fact that members served the pre-1989 security services.
Speaking in Berlin on Friday, the recently installed Czech minister of
foreign affairs, Tomáš Petříček, described Germany as his country’s
most important partner. He made the comments after a meeting with
Germany’s foreign policy chief, Heiko Maas. For his part, the latter said
the Czech Republic was a key country in Central Europe for the Berlin
Mr. Maas said the fact that his Czech counterpart had chosen to make his first foreign visit to Germany, just three days after being appointed, showed the gravity of the two states’ bilateral relationship.
The French president, Emmanuel Macron, will hold talks at Prague Castle
with the Czech head of state, Miloš Zeman, next Friday, a spokesperson for
the latter said. Mr. Macron had previously been reported as due in Prague
at the weekend, when events will be held marking the centenary of
The French president will also meet Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš during his visit.
Prime Minister Babiš has invited a number of international leaders to Prague for the ceremonial reopening of the Czech National Museum on Saturday, the day before the centenary, though their identities have not been revealed.
US Secretary of Defence James Mattis and Slovak President Andrej Kiska are due to attend a Czech Army display at Prague’s Vítkov on October 28.
The newly appointed foreign minister is set to meet with his German
counterpart Heiko Maas in Berlin on Friday. Among the topics on the agenda
of their talks will be mutual relations and cooperation among EU member
state as well as Brexit.
The new foreign minister is also scheduled to present his policy vision at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) and debate with the institute’s experts.
Bilateral relations with Moscow have been strained since Brussels imposed sweeping sanctions following the Russian occupation and later annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014. EU individual and corporate sanctions have since been expanded and extended numerous times, and are now due to remain in place at least until 15 March 2019. In the meantime, the Czech government is now moving to establish a normal working relationship.
Tomáš Petříček (Social Democrats), the new minister of foreign
affairs, is due to outline his policy priorities at a debate on Thursday
evening organised by Association for International Affairs (AMO), a private
Petříček has said that he wants the Czech Republic to be securely anchored in the European Union and NATO and to actively promote respect for international law. In that regard, he told Czech Radio sanctions were among the few instruments available to the EU to influence Russia’s behaviour.
On another hot button issue, that of EU quotas for accepting refugees, Petříček said the Czech position is to rather work to stabilize countries or origin for migrants and refugees rather that to settle them abroad.
Three and a half months after the official forming of Andrej Babiš’s cabinet, the Czech foreign ministry has received a full-time leader. Until now, Jan Hamáček, who is minister of the interior, had been in temporary charge. In a move that is widely understood as a political compromise, the new man in charge is Tomáš Petříček, the previous candidate’s assistant.
President Miloš Zeman appointed Tomáš Petříček of the Social
Democrats Czech minister of foreign affairs in a ceremony at Prague Castle
on Tuesday morning. Mr. Petříček, who is 37, had formerly been a deputy
The president rejected the Social Democrats’ previous nominee for the post of foreign policy chief, Miroslav Poche, and the party’s interior minister, Jan Hamáček, filled the role for a number of months in a caretaker capacity.
Czech Prime Minister and ANO party leader Andrej Babiš travelled to Warsaw
on Monday to visit the headquarters of the European Border and Coast Guard
Agency, Frontex, which he says should focus mainly on returning migrants to
the country of origin or to the transit states.
Babiš has recently criticized the European Commission’s plans to increase funding for Frontex, arguing that it amounts to duplicating European security structures and boosting an agency that has not proven very effective.
In Warsaw he also met his Polish counterpart, Mateusz Morawiecki. Among the topics on their agenda was the upcoming EU summit in Brussels and migration. They also agreed on the need to help source countries of migration improve conditions at home.
A “Friends of Tibet” group has just been established by fifty deputies and senators in the Czech Parliament. The news was announced on Tuesday at the Forum 2000 conference in Prague. The group, established by the Pirate Party along with the Civic and Christian Democrats and TOP09 aims to focus on human rights issues as well as environmental and cyber protection.
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