Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said that he regarded European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker’s initial reaction to the Paris attacks appeared inadequate. His comments came in Czech Television’s flagship Sunday current affairs programme. The Commission president’s reaction included a warning that the attacks should not be used as an excuse by member states to refuse immigrants. Poland’s new government has already warned that it is not prepared to accept the quota of immigrants earmarked for it. Sobotka added that Prague will insist on its right to screen immigrants due to settle in the country. He added that there was plenty of scope for more military aid to be given to Iraq to counter the threat of Islamic State but that no-one is at the moment talking about deploying troops there.
President Miloš Zeman said following the security council meeting that there was unanimous support for the European Union’s external borders to be strengthened. Czech leaders had agreed to stress that point at all future meetings. Zeman charged the leaders of the European Union with showing exceptional laxity on this issue, saying that he hoped they would eventually understand and act. The Czech head of state said that the basics of the EU Dublin agreement on asylum procedures had to be implemented with immigrants’ asylum requests dealt with in the first EU country they arrive in and not allowed to move on. To proceed to another EU country was an illegal act, he added.
Leading members of the Czech Republic’s State Security Council reviewed the country’s reaction to the Paris attacks late Saturday. These include stepped up protection of key buildings, such as airports, with security also boosted at the country’s 16 border crossings. Information is being exchanged with other national security services and EU countries, the council’s head, prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka said. He repeated the earlier message from interior minister, Milan Chovanec, that there is no reason to believe that the Czech Republic will be a target for a similar attack. The country will continue to be an active member of the coalition against Islamic State, which has claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks, the prime minister said.
The biggest every exercises of the army reserve are planned for the beginning of March next year. Most of the 1250-strong reserve will take part in the exercises which will span seven weeks and be sited at Libavá in the Olomouc region. The army reserve is expected to increase in strength over the next decade to eventually stand at around 5000 strong.
Czech judo competitor David Klammert won the under 23 European Championship being staged in Bratislava Sunday. He won all his five encounters in the under 90 kg category including the final against Dutchman Rico Harder. Klammert is the third Czech to win the under 23 European title in that weight category. He said it was the greatest achievement of his sporting career to date.
In tennis, defending champions the Czech Republic won the Fed Cup final against Russia in Prague on Sunday night. The title was decided by the final doubles match with the Czech pair of Barbora Strýcova and Karolína Plíšková beat Russia’s pairing of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Elena Vesnina 4:6, 6:3,6:2. Czech player Karolína Plíšková levelled the Fed Cup at 2:2 against Russia following a 6:3, 6:4 win against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Russia took a 2:1 lead in the final of the Fed Cup in Prague on Sunday afternoon when Russian number one Maria Sharapova beat her Czech counterpart Petra Kvitová 3:6, 6:4, 6:2. Kvitová had chances to break serve in the second set and take a 2:0 lead but failed to convert a series of break points. She also had break points to lead 5:4 in the second set. Sharapova stepped up her game and finally took the crucial second set as Kvitová appeared to flag. The Russian easily dominated the final set and cruised to victory. The tie now rests on the final doubles.
Top mens’ Czech tennis player Tomáš Berdych plays his first match in the season concluding ATP Finals in London on Sunday night. The sixth ranked world player faces number three Roger Federer, a finalist in the same competition in 2014 and winner of the most ATP Final tournament titles. Berdych has qualified this time round for his sixth consecutive ATP finals but is in what is regarded as a very tough qualifying group.
Why Chinese masks destined for Italy were seized (not ‘stolen’) by Czech authorities
Economist Tomáš Sedláček: A positive look at the coronavirus crisis
How is coronavirus affecting Prague’s real estate market?
Fall in coronavirus reproduction number shows efficacy of strict measures
March 25, 1945 – the day the Americans bombed Prague deliberately