German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Prague in connection with the
centenary celebrations on Friday. Her talks with Prime Minister Andrej
Babiš focussed on bilateral topics and EU-related issues, primarily
The heads of governments agreed on the need for closer cooperation with African countries in curbing migration. Chancellor Merkel also condemned the murder of Saudi opposition journalist Jamal Khashoggi, saying she would push for joint EU action in the matter.
Prime Minister Babiš said it was wrong to create a divide between the Visegrad Group and other EU members. He stressed that the Czech Republic is pro-European and wants the EU to function well.
President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Prague late on Friday, from a visit to neighbouring Slovakia. Following talks with Prime Minister Babiš, the French president congratulated Czechs on their anniversary, saying that France stood by their side today as it had done during the founding of Czechoslovakia 100 years ago.
President Macron also spoke of the need to bolster EU unity, saying the alliance would only be successful if its members stood together. He said the Czech Republic and France agreed on the need to create a common system of European defence. The EU cannot rely on others for its security, Macron said.
The ruling coalition of ANO and the Social Democrats together with the
Communist Party have pushed through an amendment to the civil service law
in the lower house that will make it possible for government ministers to
recall state secretaries.
The opposition parties say this would mean a step back, leading to a politicized state administration.
The civil service law approved in 2014 was meant to stabilize public administration, open it up to experts and prevent purges at ministries after each general election.
The proposed change still needs to win approval in the Senate but efforts to block it can be overturned by the lower house.
The Czech Republic will push for a resolute EU stance to Saudi Arabia over
the murder of opposition journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the next meeting of
European Union foreign ministers, Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš
Petříček told the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Czech lower house on
He said there should be a serious debate on an EU-wide ban of arms exports to Saudi Arabia as well as other steps, such as a ban on entry to the EU for some Saudi citizens and the freezing of their accounts.
Minister Petříček and the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee Lubomír Zaorálek said the EU stance on the matter seemed ambiguous to them.
The Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Prague told the ctk news agency it hopes that the Czech government and governments of other friendly countries will not take “rash steps” before an investigation into the case has been completed.
In a debate devoted to the 100th anniversary of the birth of independent
Czechoslovakia deputies of the lower house of Parliament stressed that the
Czech Republic must remain true to the democratic values on which the First
Republic was founded.
A declaration approved by the lower house on the occasion, says that humanism, freedom and democracy are the pillars of the modern-day Czech Republic, and that they must be cherished, protected and developed.
Honorary TOP 09 chair and former foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg, who said he was the only deputy to remember the first republic, noted that the country’s first President T.G. Masaryk had often spoken on the importance of Europeanism, which he said was something Czechs tended to underestimate today.
Social Democrat leader Jan Hamáček noted that on this important anniversary Czechs should remember those who had laid down their lives for freedom and democracy in the past 100 years.
Valuable documents linked to the foundation and history of Czechoslovakia
are set to go on display at the newly reconstructed National Museum in
Prague. They will be part of an exhibition commemorating the 100th
anniversary of the birth of Czechoslovakia.
The original documents include the Munich Agreement, which granted Nazi Germany large parts of Czechoslovakia, inhabited mostly by ethnic Germans, and the Pittsburgh Agreement, a memorandum of understanding between the Czech and Slovak immigrant communities to create an independent common state.
The main National Museum building at the top of Wenceslas square will ceremonially re-open on Sunday after major renovations with video-mapping on the façade of the building. The museum will remain open to visitors free of charge until December 31.
Prague leader of the Pirate Party Zdeněk Hřib is to be the new mayor of
Prague, under a coalition agreement reached on Thursday. His coalition
partners, Jan Čižinský from the civic movement Praha sobě and Jiří
Pospíšil of the Allied Forces for Prague (comprising of TOP 09, Christian
Democrats and Mayors and Independents) will remain in their former posts -
Čižinský is mayor of Prague 7 and Pospíšil an MEP in the European
The Civic Democrats, despite winning the communal elections, will go into the opposition, as will the ANO party.
Mr. Hřib, who is 37, is a doctor and head of the health NGO InAverz. He has no previous involvement in politics.
Czech businessman Daniel Křetínský has gained a 49 percent stake in the
holding company Le Nouveau Monde, a shareholder in the French newspaper Le
Monde, the news agency AFP reported on Thursday.
The Czech tycoon bought the minority share from Matthieu Pigasse, a French banker and co-owner of Le Monde, through his company Czech Media Invest. According to Mr. Pigasse, the transaction took place a few days ago.
British authorities have charged another six people in a case involving a
human trafficking and modern slavery network with suspected links to the
Czech Republic, the police of the Kent county in the south-east England
informed on Thursday.
Two people, both Czech nationals, were charged earlier this year, during a police raid in May in Dover, in which police identified twelve potential victims from the Czech Republic, who were allegedly kept as slaves. The case is due to go on trial in November.
Seven out of ten Czechs are in favour of abolishing daylight saving time,
suggests a survey carried out by the STEM agency released on Thursday.
According to the survey, 44 percent of respondents would prefer to stay on summer time throughout the whole year instead of changing the clocks in spring and autumn. The European Commission announced earlier this year that it would recommend that EU states abandon the practice of switching times, since most EU citizens were in favour of the move.
Daylight saving time ends in the Czech Republic this Sunday at 3AM, when the clocks go back one hour to Central European Time.