The Senate’s Committee for Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security is to
meet in a closed session to debate President Zeman’s recent criticism of
the Czech counterintelligence service, the BIS. The meeting was called by
the committee’s chairman Pavel Fisher, who said the president’s words
were damaging the country’s reputation and public trust in its
In response to the counterintelligence service’s annual report in which it warns of heightened activities on the part of Russian and Chinese agents, the president made derogatory remarks about its performance, saying the report failed to present any evidence to back its claims and described it as “blather”.
Michal Koudelka, head of the national counterintelligence service BIS, sharply rejected the president’s claim that the BIS was “sleeping on the job”, saying that this year the service had helped expose and dismantle a Russian intelligence service operating in the country.
The Czech Republic absented itself from a meeting of UN representatives in
Marrakesh on Monday at which 164 states signed the Global Compact on
The Czech government announced earlier that it would withdraw from the pact citing ambiguities in its interpretation. Czech officials argue that the compact does not draw a clear line between legal and illegal migration or state that illegal migration is undesirable.
Around a dozen other countries including the US, Austria, Hungary and Poland have also refused to support the global compact.
President Miloš Zeman is to host an “Advent dinner” for cabinet
ministers at Lány Chateau on Monday evening. The dinner, which is seen as
an opportunity for informal consultations on government matters will be
attended by the entire cabinet led by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.
The government on Monday concluded a two-day government session at Štiřín Chateau at which ministers discussed government aid, economic diplomacy and other issues. The meeting was consultative and no decisions were taken.
The State Fund for Cinematography has agreed to subsidize eight Czech films
to the tune of 64 million crowns. The highest single subsidy was granted to
a biographical film on the life of Václav Havel produced by Slávek
The film will cover Havel’s life from 1968 to 1989 when the dissident writer was elected president of Czechoslovakia. The project received a subsidy of 14.5 million crowns.
A four hour strike by German railway workers on Monday disrupted local,
regional and long-distance train traffic spilling over into neighbouring
Czech Railways spokesman Radek Joklik warned passengers on routes to Berlin and Munich to expect long delays throughout the day. Some connections may be scrapped altogether.
Passengers have been advised to check out the situation on Czech Railways’ web pages ( https://www.cd.cz/default.htm www.cd.cz ).
Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic is set to visit Prague on Monday for
talks with her Czech counterpart Andrej Babiš. Among the topics on their
agenda will be the EU accession of the West Balkan countries, migration and
Serbia’s debt towards the Czech Republic.
Mrs Brnabic is also scheduled to meet with President Miloš Zeman and chairman of the Senate Jaroslav Kubera.
Unemployment in the Czech Republic remained at 2.8 percent in November, the
same as the previous month, the Czech Labour Office announced on Monday.
The number of jobless dropped to 215,010, which is the lowest figure since June 1997, while the number of vacancies increased to over 323,500. Last November, unemployment stood at 3.5 percent.
The lowest rate of unemployment, 1.8 percent, is in the Pardubice region, while the highest rate is in region of Moravia-Silesia and Ústí nad Labem with 4.3 percent of people out of work.
Anti-Russian sanctions are useless and the EU has no strong leader, such as
those in Russia, China or the U.S., Czech President Miloš Zeman said in an
interview for the Russian television station NTV on Sunday.
The Czech head of state said the sanctions imposed on Russia by the EU were damaging both sides politically and economically, adding that Italy or the countries of the Visegrad group could take part in ending the sanctions.
Mr. Zeman also said he did not believe in the possibility of a military conflict between NATO and Russia.
Sculptures by Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti and an exhibition of French
Expressionists will be among the highlights of the upcoming season at the
Prague National Gallery, Czech Radio reported on Saturday.
The main attraction will be the large-scale Giacometti exhibition, starting in July 2019, prepared in collaboration with the Paris Giacometti Foundation. The sculptures will be shown together with works by the Czech artist Olbram Zoubek.
In addition, the National Gallery is planning a major show of Renaissance and Baroque paintings as well as an exhibition of works from 1796 to 1918 entitled "The Art of the Longest Century". After the 2019 season, the National Gallery's Trade Fair Palace will undergo a major renovation.