In response to numerous complaints with regard to abuse of the Czech visa system in Ukraine, the Czech consulate in Lvov has moved to simplify and speed up the process. Steps have been taken to root out corruption by local middlemen who blocked the registration system, making it virtually impossible for anyone else to sign up for months. Applicants will now be able to book by phone, eliminating the long waiting lines outside the consulate and the waiting time for a visa should be reduced from 130 days to 75.
The number of Czechs who are unconditionally against the Czech Republic
taking in refugees has dropped by 11 percent, to 58 percent, according to a
poll conducted by the CVVM agency.
Eighty-two percent of Czechs consider refugees a potential threat to European security and 71 percent say they are a threat to global peace.
Thirty-five percent of Czechs would agree to the Czech Republic taking in refugees until it is safe for them to return to their homeland. In the autumn of last year only 25 percent of Czechs expressed this view.
Why do ethnic conflicts in some parts of the world flare up so easily and spread so fast? Is ethnic hate and intolerance contagious? Researchers from the Czech Republic and Slovakia joined forces to try to find the answers to some of those questions and arrived at some surprising conclusions. I spoke to Associate Professor Michal Bauer, an expert on experimental and behavioral economics at CERGE-EI, who is one of the authors of the study, and began by asking him what motivated the research in this field.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš on Monday sharply rejected the idea that the Czech Republic should pay some form of compensation for not accepting migrant quotas. In response to proposals floated by German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the weekend, Mr. Babiš said the Czech people and Czech firms themselves would decide who would live and work in this country.
The week-long festival of Romany culture Khamoro continued on Friday with a
colorful parade through the city center with over 250 Romany musicians and
dancers from different countries and regions taking part.
The festival also offers a concert of traditional Roma music at La Fabrika with artists from Russia, Portugal and Romania, a football tournament and a gala concert at the Prague Club SaSaZu on Saturday.
There are lots of countries in the world that have been hesitant about letting refugees through their borders. The recently re-elected Czech president even ran his campaign partly on a non-immigrant agenda. Nevertheless, Prague is a hub in Europe for those looking for a better life including some refugees from countries suffering from war and poverty.
The Czech parliamentary party Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) of leader
Tomio Okamura expresses itself in a way similar to extreme right wing
parties and share many views with them, according to a report into
extremism by the Ministry of Interior.
The report was leaked early on Wednesday by the news server Aktualne.cz before having been given final approval by the interior minister or undergoing consultations with other ministries. Representatives of the SPD party said it was scandalous that parts of the report had come out in this way and denounced it as a move to discredit the party.
Freedom and Direct Democracy won 22 seats in last year’s elections to the 200-seat lower house making it jointly the third biggest party in parliament. It ran on an anti-immigrant, anti-EU platform.
The European Union needs a strong and viable asylum system, the Czech and
Finnish heads of government Andrej Babis and Juha Sipila agreed during
their talks in Helsinki on Monday.
The two officials said migration was an issue on which the EU badly needed to reach consensus and stressed that migrant quotas were obviously not the answer. The two heads of government said they also had a similar take on EU budget issues, post Brexit.
The Czech Prime Minister is also scheduled to attend the Czech-Finnish business forum and sign a memorandum on Czech accession to the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats, which has been operating in Helsinki since April 2017.
Before his departure, Mr Babiš told journalists he would also like to visit a Finnish primary school and university to find inspiration for Czech school reform.
The Czech Republic has the lowest jobless rate in the European Union with vacancies now outstripping the registered unemployed. But moves to attract workers from Ukraine are being hampered by red tape. That sparked a lightning visit last week by the Czech labour minister and a raft of reforms are now promised.
Czechs and Germans in 1930s Czechoslovakia: a complex picture
Wide range of events in store for Czechs this weekend as 30-year anniversary of Velvet Revolution reaches climax
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Hundreds of thousands again gather in Prague to voice their opposition to prime minister
15 years later – was ending military service right move for Czech Republic?