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.
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.
The suspected perpetrators of the Novichok attack on Russian double agent Sergei Skripal reportedly visited the Czech Republic in 2014, at the time when Skripal himself was in the country, allegedly helping the Czech counter-intelligence service uncover Russian spies. Radiožurnal, Czech Radio’s flagship news channel, broke the story on Wednesday, citing Czech intelligence sources.
Having served as US secretary of state from 1997 to 2001, Madeleine Albright ranks as one of the most accomplished of all Czech-Americans. I got to speak to the Prague-born politician recently when she was special guest at the Reality Czech evening in New York, organised by the Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association and the Václav Havel Library Foundation to mark the centenary of the founding of Czechoslovakia. Our conversation eventually turned to that landmark anniversary – but it began with Secretary Albright’s recently published book Fascism:
The Social Democrats, the junior party in the ruling coalition, have moved to resolve a months-long dispute with President Zeman over who should hold the foreign ministry portfolio. Party leader Jan Hamáček on Tuesday revealed the name of the party’s new nominee for the post – the present deputy foreign minister, Tomáš Petříček.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has come under fire for outright rejecting a proposal to take in 50 Syrian orphans – or even a single refugee until the EU secures its borders. In an interview published on Saturday, he said the Czech Republic had demonstrated its solidarity in other, meaningful ways and has its orphans to worry about.
Indian President, Ram Nath Kovind, is meeting with both the Czech President and Prime Minister this Thursday. Representatives of over 50 Indian enterprises are arriving alongside Kovind to take part in a specially organised forum with their Czech counterparts, focused on deepening trade and business ties. Collaboration in research and development is also to be discussed.
The Czech Republic is on target to meet its Nato commitments – in terms of spending on defence, taking part in foreign missions in deadly hotspots such as Afghanistan, and countering new types of threats, from cyberwarfare to disinformation campaigns. In a wide-ranging interview, Czech Ambassador to Nato Jiří Šedivý takes stock of the many challenges ahead.