Since June 2016, when the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU, the number of British nationals living and working in the Czech Republic has been steadily growing. According to data released by the Czech Labour Office and the Ministry of Interior, the number of British employees in the Czech Republic has risen by more than a third. There has also been a 55 percent increase in the number of British nationals who filed for permanent residence in this country.
Brussel's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier met with Czech
deputies and senators in Prague on Friday to discuss the developments
around Britain's expected departure from the EU, the head of the
European Affairs Committee in the lower house Ondřej Benešík told the
CTK news agency.
Barnier informed Czech lawmakers about the possible scenarios after the December parliamentary elections in Britain, saying Brussels was striving for the best possible deal with Britain and its fulfilment.
The talks also revolved around practical matters, such as the modification of contracts in air transport and consumer protection post-Brexit.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said he regretted the postponement of a vote
on the Brexit deal in the House of Commons on Saturday, adding that he
hoped Britain would clarify its position as soon as possible.
Mr. Babiš noted that since no one in the EU wanted a no deal Brexit one could only hope that British MPs would manage to approve both the required legislative changes and the Brexit deal by the set deadline. Similar reactions have come from politicians across the political spectrum.
Confectionery manufacturers are among Czech businesses most likely to be hard hit by Brexit, Czech Radio reported this week. According to an analysis carried out by the country’s biggest bank, Česká spořitelna, about a quarter of confectionery goods produced in the country are destined for the British market.
Britain’s departure from the EU was the focus of talks in Prague on Tuesday between the Czech foreign minister, Tomáš Petříček, and his Irish counterpart, Simon Coveney. The latter said measures proposed by the London government do not come close to replacing the Irish border backstop – and that there may be no solution to the divisive issue.
In 2009 the Eastern Partnership, a project seeking closer ties between the EU and its Eastern European neighbours was proclaimed in Prague. Ten years later, the union is evaluating its progress and searching for prospective strategies. Whatever the future brings, it seems that this is likely to be a long-haul effort.
EU leaders are meeting in Sibiu, Romania on Thursday for a summit that was originally intended to affirm post-Brexit unity and chart a course for future development. Although member states are expected to adopt a declaration of “unity and confidence in the future”, the summit is overshadowed by uncertainty regarding the outcome of European elections, due later this month, and the many question marks surrounding Brexit.
How have Czech perceptions of the EU changed since the country joined the bloc on May 1, 2004? Has the Brexit mess impacted discussion of a potential Czech departure from the EU? Will the country ever adopt the Euro? And what should we be looking out for in the European Parliament elections in a few weeks’ time? These were just some of the issues Ian Willoughby discussed in Olomouc recently with a number of experts: sociologist Jan Hartl of the STEM polling agency; Karel Barták, a former CTK journalist who was a Brussels insider during a lengthy
Britain’s departure from the EU will boost the position of France and
Germany, according to Czech political scientists approached by the CTK news
Petr Kaniok from Masaryk University in Brno said Great Britain had slowed the pace of European integration, acting as a break to federalist tendencies within the EU.
Political analyst Kryštof Kruliš agrees, saying Brexit will open the way for France to push through its federalist vision faster and more effectively.
In this respect the Czech Republic is seen as losing an important ally in the EU.