Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček completes his three-day official visit to India on Wednesday, during which he and his delegation primarily sought to strengthen mutual ties, especially in business. Martin Hříbek from Charles University’s Institute of South and Central Asia points out that while bilateral ties go a long way back, in many areas relations had to be rebuilt from scratch after 1989.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and Defence Ministry officials have moved to quell concerns over the security of Czech soldiers and police officers serving in Iraq. The general chief of staff said precautions had been taken to ensure the safety of the 40-member-strong Czech team and an emergency evacuation plan was in place should the need arise.
Amidst growing tension over the latest developments in the Middle East, following the killing of Iran’s military leader Qassem Soleimani in Iraq, the Czech foreign minister has joined calls for a level-headed approach to the crisis, warning that a further escalation of tension will not only destabilize the region, but put at risk the progress made in the war on terror.
The Czech Republic will not be able to immediately apply a generalized
reversal of VAT liability for which Brussels has given EU member states
approval for a limited period. Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who
fought for the reverse charge mechanism to be made possible for close to
five years on the argument that it could save the country billions of
crowns in unpaid VAT, said on Thursday the country needed more time to get
the respective legislation in place. He said the testing period until 2022
was too short and the country would ask for an extension.
The EU member states have been given the green light to apply the generalized reverse charge mechanism only for domestic supplies of goods and services above a threshold of 17, 500 euros (around 450,000 crowns) per transaction and only up until June 30, 2022, when the outcome of the exemption will be reviewed.
A reset in Czech-Chinese relations in 2014, that included a commitment to the “One China policy” promised to bring huge economic benefits, with President Zeman saying he wanted to make the Czech Republic “China’s gateway to Europe”. Five years on, the promised investments have not materialized and there is growing concern in Prague over Beijing’s effort to increase its influence in the country.
After a night of negotiations in Brussels, EU leaders, with the exception of Poland, have agreed to the European Commission’s Green Deal plan, which aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. One of those who can celebrate is Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who succeeded in having a provision under which some countries can add nuclear power to their energy mix added to the treaty.
Achieving carbon neutrality in the Czech Republic would cost some 675
billion crowns, something that the EU should take into account in the next
EU budget period, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) tweeted on Wednesday.
His assertion came following a meeting with Minister of Environment Richard Brabec (ANO), State Secretary for European Affairs Milena Hrdinková, and the head of power utility ČEZ, Daniel Beneš.
According to Babiš, they have agreed on a strategy for the European Council in Brussels that starts on Thursday and will focus on the bloc’s aim to be carbon neutrality by 2050.
He further reiterated his assertion that the country cannot achieve carbon neutrality without boosting nuclear energy production.
By 2050, nuclear energy could form about one half of the Czech energy mix, and coal and natural gas about 20 percent each.
As the European Commission prepares to outline its Green Deal on Wednesday, the Czech branch of Greenpeace has staged a protest in Prague against Prime Minister Andrej Babiš who looks like he might be the only European leader to block the EU’s decision to become carbon neutral by 2050. On Monday evening, Greenpeace activists symbolically set the government building on fire, screening images of flames on its façade.
Prague City Hall councillors have agreed is conclude a Free Cities Pact
with the other Visegrad Four group capitals aimed at strengthening
The mayors of Prague, Budapest, Bratislava and Warsaw agreed to create the pact on the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The Free Cities Pact calls on signatories to work together to tackle problems such as climate change, housing and social policy, and to promote democratic ideals, human rights, and the rule of law.
Representatives of the V4 capitals are due to sign the pact on December 16 in Hungary. Prague also wants to sign a sister city pact with Vienna, concerning mainly transport, housing and ecological issues.