Up to 1,000 civil servants may receive free French lessons to prepare for the country's EU presidency. The Czech government is currently in talks with the French embassy and cultural institute in Prague. The Czech Republic takes up EU presidency in 2009, and the country's officials will be expected to communicate in French and English. Classes are scheduled to begin this year. The British Council has already contributed one million crowns to the opening of a centre, where civil servants can brush up on their English.