At a summit of the Visegrad Group states in Prague, the prime ministers of
the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary praised the outcome of
negotiations on the set-up of the new European Commission, saying the V4
had been given important portfolios and would have a strong voice in the
The Prague summit was also attended by representatives from Western Balkan states, the aim of the joint meeting being to strengthen cooperation between the two regions. The Visegrad group states approved a joint declaration stating support for the EU’s expansion to the Balkans.
Kosovo cancelled participation at the summit in reaction to President Miloš Zeman’s statement in Belgrade that he would try to persuade Czech top officials to retract the country’s recognition of an independent Kosovo.
Prime Minister Babiš said at a press briefing after the talks that he saw no reason to change the Czech Republic’s position on Kosovo, although he was open to debating the matter with the president.
The Czech Republic is hosting a summit on Thursday of prime ministers from fellow Visegrad Four countries and their Western Balkan counterparts. Representatives of Kosovo, however, will be conspicuously absent at today’s summit, in the wake of a slew of insults by the Czech head of state this week, who suggested revoking recognition of Kosovo as an independent nation.
Kosovo has cancelled its planned participation in Thursday’s Visegrad
Four and Western Balkans summit in Prague, according to the Czech News
Agency which quotes diplomatic sources. The move was made in reaction to
President Miloš Zeman’s words earlier on Wednesday, where he said that
he wants to discuss the possibility of renouncing the Czech recognition of
an independent Kosovo at his next meeting with Czech top officials. Czech
News Agency sources say that there are currently no confirmed guests from
Kosovo for the Thursday meeting of prime ministers. However, discussions
are still ongoing about whether the country will be represented on some
level at least.
The Czech Republic has maintained diplomatic relations with Kosovo since 2008.
The country’s ambassadors around the world should be proud of the Czech Republic and talk up its achievements. That was the message from Andrej Babiš to Czech diplomats currently gathered in Prague. The prime minister also emphasised the importance of the Visegrad Four and repeated his opposition to euro adoption in a broad-ranging speech.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) will attend a ceremony in the
Slovak town of Banská Bystrica on Thursday to mark the 75th anniversary of
the outbreak of anti-fascist military action that came to be known as the
Slovak National Uprising.
In its simplest telling, the uprising was the culmination of years of planning by Slovak partisans, 18,000 of whom fought alongside 60,000 Czechoslovak soldiers against the Nazi Germany and the puppet state of Slovakia led by the priest Jozef Tiso.
Under communism, the role played by the Czechoslovak government-in-exile, the Allies, and non-communist partisans was discounted, and the uprising glorified as a unified action by the Slovak people against fascism in favour of socialism.
Poland has acknowledged it was wrong to proceed with changes to the
Bogatyne city plan, which opened the way for the expansion of the Turów
brown coal mine in the close proximity to the Czech border, the Czech
Environment Ministry said on Thursday.
The unilateral move raised protests from both the Czech Environment Ministry and the Liberec region. According to them, the Polish side did not wait for the conclusion of bilateral consultations on changes to the land-use plan and failed to take the Czech Republic’s reservations into account. The Czech Republic called for an extraordinary meeting on the issue last week.
Despite unfinished negotiations with the Czech Republic, Bogatyne earlier approved a change to the zoning plan, which, among other things, allowed the extension of the mine by 14.6 hectares towards the border with the Czech Republic.
The Czech side had requested information on the impact of the change on water resources, agricultural land and other habitats, as well as air and noise pollution on the Czech side of the border.
The Polish Directorate-General for Environmental Protection should deliver the information before Wednesday, August 28, when the Czech and Polish governments are to hold a joint session in Warsaw.
After failing to reach a decision during over 18 hours of talks on Sunday and Monday, EU leaders are reconvening in Brussels to try to agree who should lead the bloc’s institutions for the coming five years. Dutch socialist Frans Timmermans, a frontrunner for European Commission president, faces strong opposition from the Czech Republic and fellow Visegrad Four states.
The Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, says it is important that none of
the so-called “spitzenkandidats” received majority support to become
president of the European Commission at a European Council meeting last
week. Spitzenkandidats are the leaders of the parties in the European
Parliament that did best in elections in May. Some of them don’t like the
territory of the Visegrad Four countries, Mr. Babiš said at a conference
on economic diplomacy at the Czech Foreign Ministry on Monday Morning.
The Czech leader said it was important that the successor to Jean-Claude Juncker not comment on political matters but rather focus on implementing the conclusions of the European Council.
The newly installed Slovak president Zuzana Čaputová, who visited Prague
on Monday, expressed her understanding for people who are demonstrating
against Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and for independent judiciary.
Speaking at a concert in her honour at Prague’s Kampa island, the Slovak head of state said drew analogy with last year’s demonstrations in Slovakia against the government led by Prime Minister Robert Fico. "What these demonstrations have in common is their peaceful tone", Mrs Čaputová said.
A series of protest took place in the Czech Republic in recent weeks against PM Babiš and his appointment of Marie Benešová as justice minister. The most recent rally in Prague was attended by an estimated 120,000 people. Another demonstration is due to take place on June 23 on Prague’s Letná plain, the venue of the largest anti-regime demonstrations of November 1989.
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