The European Union will itself have to be capable of guaranteeing security in the bloc in the future, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker agreed at a joint-press conference in Prague Friday launching a conference on defence. Prime Minister Sobotka stressed that closer cooperation between member states on defence and security in no way was meant to supersede NATO, just the opposite, saying that the alliance stood to benefit. NATO has welcomed the idea of the European defence fund, saying it would allow greater effectivity. Mr Sobotka reminded attendees that one of the founding principles of the EU was to secure long-term peace in Europe, while Mr Juncker said it was not a question of whether the EU should improve its defence capabilities against potential threats but how quickly it could do so.
Czech politicians have expressed hope that a stable government will emerge from the stalemate following Great Britain’s snap election in which Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives lost their Parliamentary majority. One aim, from the Czech perspective, is for there to be a capable partner in negotiations on Brexit – Great Britain’s departure from the EU. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka welcomed Labour’s strong finish, saying he expected the party to have a clearer influence on British domestic and foreign policy.
The role of Czech police at the upcoming 52nd Karlovy Vary International Film Festival is to be the strongest in its history, the Czech News Agency reported on Friday citing information from regional police spokeswoman Zuzana Týřová. The aim, above all, is to heighten security at so-called ‘soft targets’. Private security is commissioned by the festival itself but organisers say they are working closely with Czech police; the official threat level is currently low. Municipal police also play a greater role during the festival, in traffic and other areas.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has sent a letter to Czech President Miloš Zeman praising Czech lawmakers for their criticism of UNESCO in May. They had called on the government to suspend the country’s payments of membership fees to the organisation, voicing opposition to a resolution by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization critical of Israeli conduct in Jerusalem and Gaza, describing Jerusalem as ‘occupied’ and rejecting Israel’s sovereignty over the city. The resolution was backed by 22 countries. Mr Netanyahu wrote that Czech-Israeli ties had strengthened during Mr Zeman’s time in office and said he hoped to welcome the Czech head of state in Israel soon.
A European Defence and Security Conference got underway in Prague on Friday. The event, being held at Prague’s Žofín complex, was opened by the Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Among those due to speak are the EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, and the secretary general of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, as well as other top EU and NATO officials. In a joint article published in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week, Bohuslav Sobotka and Jean-Claude Juncker said Europe must take its defence into its own hands.
In tennis, Czech Karolína Plíšková has failed to reach the final of the French Open and will remain in third place on the world rankings. The second-seeded Czech lost to Simona Halep of Romania 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 due to a series of unforced errors.
Saturday should be mostly cloudy with a chance of rain and some sunny periods. Daytimes highs of around 22 degrees Celsius are expected.