Joy Bellefontaine is Acadian French and proud of it, but having married a Czech husband and living in the Czech Republic for nearly 20 years she admits her family’s Christmas contains a mix of local and Acadian traditions. Tom McEnchroe, visited her to find out how foreigners living in the country celebrate their Christmas.
The National Centre for Combatting Organized Crime issued its annual report on Wednesday highlighting potential security risks to the country. It reported a growing number of sham marriages, particularly with citizens of Turkey, and warned of “uncontrolled numbers of people practicing Islam entering the country”.
The number of foreigners working in the Czech Republic has more than tripled since the country’s accession to the European Union in 2004. At the moment, there are more than half a million foreigners working in the country, according to Czech Statistics Office data and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.
The Czech Republic’s communal elections, which will take place this Friday and Saturday, differ from their presidential and parliamentary equivalents in that citizens of other EU member states are also allowed to vote. This includes those living in the country on a temporary basis. However, interest in political engagement seems low among foreigners living in the country, with only a few thousand deciding to register.
The number of Russians residing and working in the Czech Republic has been steadily growing in recent years. Many come here in search of a better life, to escape the authoritarian regime of Vladimir Putin or homophobia in their homeland. And many find that the Russian led-invasion of Czechoslovakia casts a long shadow.