Thirty years ago on this day, February 21, then Czechoslovak president Václav Havel addressed a specially convened joint session of the United States Congress. Only a few months earlier, Havel was in prison. Paradoxically, he devoted much of his historic speech that day appealing to Washington to help – not Czechoslovakia but the Soviet Union. Doing so, he said, was the best hope to ensure newfound freedoms.
The US ambassador to Prague, Stephen King, has warned Czech deputies
against introducing a government-proposed digital tax of seven percent,
which would primarily hurt large US companies.
In a letter to the lower house, cited by the daily Hospodarske noviny, Mr. King says a 7 percent tax is discriminatory and warns that the US could effect retaliatory measures. He says it would be wiser to wait for broader regulation agreed on by the OECD.
Czech exporters also recently urged Prime Minister Andrej Babiš to reconsider the government’s proposal to introduce a digital tax. They said they feared damage to Czech-American business relations and possible retaliatory measures from the US administration.
The proposed digital tax of seven percent would apply to Internet companies in the Czech Republic with a global turnover of over 750 million euros (about 19 billion crowns), and domestic sales of at least 100 million crowns per year for taxable services.
It would hit companies such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple. The tax, which should come into effect later this year, is expected to bring about five billion crowns a year to state coffers.
The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, may attend events in Plzeň in May
marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Czech city at the end
of World War II, the Czech News Agency said. The American foreign policy
chief has received an invitation from the Czech side and confirmation is
now being awaited, it reported.
The Czech News Agency said Mr. Pompeo had discussed a possible visit to the Czech Republic with the country’s ministry of foreign affairs, Tomáš Petříček, at the ongoing Munich Security Conference.
Events marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Plzeň will culminate on May 6, when US forces led by General George S. Patton entered the city in 1945.
The Czech Republic’s minister of foreign affairs, Tomáš Petříček, bestowed Medals of Merit for Diplomacy on 12 individuals on Monday. Nine of them, including the late Jiří Dientsbier, the country’s first post-communist foreign minister, received the honour for helping advance diplomacy and foreign policy in the period since the Velvet Revolution.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš wound up his five day working visit to the
United States at the
9/11 memorial in New York where he and his wife Monika paid tribute to the
victims of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre 18 years ago.
Laying down a white rose in memory of the 2,750 people killed, Mr. Babiš stressed the importance of remembering this terrible memento because terrorism was a threat to all nations.
The countries of the world should remember this day and unite in the fight against international terrorism, Mr. Babiš said.
The Czech prime minister represented the Czech Republic at this week’s session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Czech President Miloš Zeman offered his condolences to his US counterpart
Donald Trump on Monday, following two mass shootings in Texas and Ohio this
weekend which left 29 people dead and at least 50 injured.
The Czech head of state called the attacks “brutal killings, which are nothing less than mass murder.”
Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček has also expressed his heartfelt condolences to the families of those killed and injured. According to the Czech Foreign Ministry, there are no Czechs among the victims of the shootings.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) has invited members of the US Congress
in the "Friends of the Czech Republic" group to visit Prague
after the European elections in May.
He extended the invitation to the bipartisan group, whose members have constituencies with significant Czech communities, on Friday, the last day of his official visit to Washington.
Earlier in the day, Mr Babiš laid a wreath in honour of victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks at the Pentagon, where 184 people were killed when a hijacked plane crashed into the building.
He was accompanied by the US Secretary of Defense, Patrick Shanahan, with whom he discussed the joint fight of American and Czech soldiers against international terrorism. They also discussed cooperation to modernise the Czech Armed Forces.
The Czech Prime Minister also met officers of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and representatives of major US Jewish organisations.
Czech PM Andrej Babiš held talks with President Donald Trump at the White
House on Thursday.
At a press conference after the meeting, Mr Babiš said he felt that he had
a personal rapport with Mr Trump, and that he had invited him and his
daughter Ivanka to visit the Czech Republic.
He also said that he had appealed to Mr Trump not to introduce new tariffs on trade between the EU and the US, which could harm the Czech Republic. The two also talked about cooperation on matters of defence and security.
The White House meeting was the highlight of the Czech PM’s three-day visit to the United States, which also included a meeting with CIA officials at Langley.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has held talks with the American
President Donald Trump in the White House. It was the first visit of a
Czech prime minister since Petr Nečas met with President Barrack Obama in
The topics on the agenda included American tolls on European cars, security cooperation and the situation in Syria, where the Czech Republic is the only country to have an embassy. At the start of the meeting, Mr Babiš told the US head of state he had a plan to make the Czech Republic great again, hinting at President Trump’s first State of the Union address. He also said the two countries had been allies since the United States helped to establish Czechoslovakia 100 years ago.
President Trump praised the Czech Republic as a creative country, which was doing well economically as well as in other respects.
The White House meeting was the highlight of the Czech PM’s three day visit to the United States, which also included a meeting with CIA officials at Langley.