President Miloš Zeman was at loggerheads with former Czech foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg on making Livia Klausová ambassador to Bratislava and Communist MEP Vladimír Remek the country’s envoy in Russia. The freshly appointed interim government backed by Mr. Zeman should now rubberstamp those appointments. But what else can we expect from the president and new minister Jan Kohout in the foreign policy field? I discussed those questions with Petr Drulák, director of Prague’s Institute of International Affairs.
The Czech Embassy in Cairo says that the situation in the country’s tourist resorts is stable and there is no immediate danger to Czechs holidaying in Egypt. However it has advised tourists against travelling to northern Egypt and has warned people to stay away from public gatherings and street protests. The embassy says it is following developments closely and is in contact with Czech travel agencies active in the region.
Responding to developments in Egypt, the Czech Foreign Ministry has said it is closely monitoring the situation and is concerned by the deep polarization of the Egyptian society in the course of the transformation process. The ministry urges a speedy restoration of democratic processes in Egypt by free and fair elections. It strongly condemns all acts of violence, especially violence against women, and firmly hopes that the security forces will take effective measures to protect the population.
Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok is selecting candidates for his interim government. On Friday he offered the post of environment minister to the vice-president of the Industrialists Union Radek Špicar. Mr. Špicar said he had taken until Monday to consider the offer. Jan Kohout has been offered the post of foreign minister, while Jaromir Schling is considering an offer to lead the transport ministry. The outgoing defense minister Vlastimil Picek has received an offer to continue in office. Three seats in the new cabinet are already filled. Martin Pecina is to be the new interior minister, Marie Benešová the new justice minister and Miroslav Toman is to head the agriculture ministry.
Czech President Miloš Zeman got a word of advice from his German counterpart Joachim Glauck during their meeting in Berlin on Wednesday. During their luncheon, the German head-of-state suggested the role of the president was to act as a facilitator and conciliator – not as a “second government”. Mr Gauck, who had good relations with Mr Zeman’s predecessor, Václav Klaus, was referring to the ongoing political crisis in the Czech Republic and the president’s decision this week to name a new prime minister to head a technocrat government despite strong opposition from parties in the Chamber of Deputies. Critics have charged that he sidestepped the parliamentary system even though the Constitution allows the president to appoint whomever he wants.
During a speech at Humboldt University in Berlin, President Miloš Zeman came out in support of a common EU defense system and army. In his opinion, the main goal of EU’s foreign policy should be to fight international terrorism. The president also deplored the current soft stance of EU institutions on terrorism, comparing it to the appeasement tactics that western European governments ascribed to during the rise of Nazism and Fascism in the 1930’s. President Zeman will finish off his two-day trip to Germany with a visit to the Czech-German business forum.
The new prime minister says he has no objections to the president’s proposals regarding the appointment of ambassadors. He told Czech Radio on Wednesday, on the contrary, that he regarded Mr Zeman’s choices for ambassador to Moscow and Bratislava as positive. The president wants Communist MEP and one-time cosmonaut Vladimír Remek to be made the Czech Republic’s envoy in Russia and Livia Klausová, wife of his predecessor Václav Klaus, to be the country’s representative in Slovakia. Mr Zeman was at loggerheads with outgoing foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg over the two appointments.
Prime Minister Nečas says he believes agreement will be reached between
President Miloš Zeman and Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg over the
appointment of ambassadors. Speaking on Sunday, Mr. Nečas said in the past
compromises had been reached between the head of state, the PM and the
foreign minister on naming envoys, adding that the dispute appeared trivial
in the light of the flood situation.
Mr. Zeman and Mr. Schwarzenberg (who the former defeated in presidential elections) have been at loggerheads for some time over the president’s wish to see Livia Klausová, the wife of his predecessor, named ambassador to Bratislava, and Communist MEP Vladimír Remek made ambassador to Russia.
The Foreign Ministry on Friday presented its Gratias Agit awards to people who have worked to promote the good name of the Czech Republic internationally. Among the recipients were the opera star Magdalena Kožená, priest Petr Esterka, who coordinates church services for Czechs in the United States, and German-based artist Jiří Georg Dokoupil. The Gratias Agit awards have been presented annually since 1997.
President Miloš Zeman wants to meet with Prime Minister Petr Nečas in the coming days to settle an ongoing dispute over ambassadorial appointments, the president told reporters on Friday. President Zeman and Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg have failed to reach agreement on appointing some Czech ambassadors. Mr Schwarzenberg refused to accept the president’s nominations for several Czech embassies until the president approves his own candidates. On Thursday, the foreign minister said he would bypass Mr Zeman by filling vacancies at embassies with envoys in lower diplomatic ranks.
New foreigners’ law to change conditions for non-EU nationals
Czech rock climber Adam Ondra knocked out of World Cup in Japan
Czech foreign ministry reports record number of visa applications
New index shows locations with best quality of life in Czech Republic
Archaeologists unearth rare Renaissance-Baroque brew house in ‘Czech Paradise’