The government has approved new legislation which would ban armed paramilitaries and vigilante groups pursuing a religious, nationalist or similar agenda. Those who break the law would pay a substantial fine. Meanwhile, unarmed communal groups aimed at strengthening local security, such as neighbourhood watches, will continue to be legal and state security forces members will have greater freedom to use their weapons.
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.
Up to 60 Czech soldiers could be deployed in Mali, Niger and Chad to serve
in counter-terrorist roles, the Ministry of Defence proposes, according to
an unpublished report cited by the Czech News Agency on Monday. The
proposal follows the offer by France to partake in the anti-insurgent
Operation Barkhane in Africa’s Sahel region, which has been running since
2014. However, the proposal first has to be approved by the government and
Parliament. If confirmed, the soldiers would be active in the region until
The Czech Republic currently has 120 members of the armed services in Mali and will take over the EU’s local training mission EUTM Mali later this year. Overall, there are some 600 Czech soldiers currently active in 20 foreign states, according to an earlier statement by Defence Minister Lubomír Metnar (ANO).
Czechs' biggest concerns relate to migration, their health and the
state of the environment, according to an end-of-year poll conducted by the
While fears relating to migration have been dropping –from 31 percent in 2016 to 21 percent in 2019 – fears relating to the environment are growing. While in 2016 a mere 2 percent of respondents voiced this concern, this year it was 19 percent. 19 percent of respondents are also concerned about their health.
Other concerns include fear of a terrorist attack, family problems and problems at work.
Czechia's regions and its capital Prague will be able to draw on CZK
52 million of funding from the Ministry of Interior to use on protection of
their "soft targets", a 30 percent increase compared to the
previous year, Czech Television reported on Friday. Largest investments in
this area are expected from Prague, as well as the Vysočina and Olomouc
The subsidy program of the Ministry of the Interior is intended to increase the protection of schools and public spaces from armed attacks. The grant can be used for the reimbursement of expert studies, the creation of security plans, but also educational and training events.
A soft target is an individual or object that is not heavily protected, but can be especially vulnerable to a military or terrorist attack.
The deadly attack in Ostrava’s university hospital in which a gunman killed six people and injured three others on Tuesday, shocked the nation and opened up many questions regarding security around so-called “soft targets”. I spoke to former Czech Military Intelligence chief Andor Šándor about the present state of security in Czech hospitals, what more can be done to increase it and the lessons to be learnt from Tuesday’s attack.
The integration of Western Balkan countries into the European Union is in
the economic and security interest of the EU, Hungarian Foreign Minister
Peter Szijjarto told journalists in Prague after talks with his Czech,
Polish and Slovak counterparts on Monday. Szijjarto said the accession
talks with these countries had seen little progress in the last six months,
which he considered to be one of the biggest mistakes of the European
Commission of Jean-Claude Juncker.
Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček, who hosted the Visegrad meeting of foreign ministers, likewise expressed support for faster negotiations with the Balkan states. Petříček said he hoped that accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia would be launched next year.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation should focus on fighting
international terrorism, the main, if not only, enemy of civilised states,
Czech President Miloš Zeman said at a meeting of Czech heads of military
command on Wednesday. He and Defence Minister Lubomír Metnar also said
they were against a withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The Czech president also mentioned the recent remark by his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, who said in a recent interview with the Economist magazine that NATO was in a state of "brain death". Mr. Zeman said that “if NATO is not to be in a state of brain death, it should become more offensive and realise what its real role in the current world is.”
Prague police have asked the municipality for a green light to activate automatic facial recognition cameras at six locations. That’s a red flag for some personal privacy advocates, who fear a Big Brother scenario. But law enforcement officials say an upgrade of the Czech capital’s closed-circuit television system is overdue, and controls will be put in place to prevent any abuse.
The Czech Interior Ministry has said it has no information which would
point to an increased risk of attack from Islamic State radicals following
the killing of their leader al-Baghdadi.
The statement comes in reaction to concerns in some countries regarding possible retaliatory strikes.
Nevertheless, Interior Minister Jan Hamáček said that the country‘s security services were closely monitoring the situation and cooperating with partner organizations abroad.