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President-elect Petr Pavel made international news this week by phoning the president of Taiwan – and later saying Czechia would no longer act “like an ostrich” toward China. What is behind these moves? And what’s next for relations between Prague and the world’s most populous state? I discussed Pavel’s call to Taiwan and more with Ivana Karásková,…
 
Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the six countries which the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs is currently focussing on in its development cooperation programmes. Due to its linguistic and cultural proximity to the Balkan state, Czechia has been developing close partnerships there since the 1990s and has also been supporting it in its preparations…
 
After a divisive and sometimes bitter campaign, Petr Pavel beat Andrej Babiš by a decisive margin in the Czech presidential elections at the weekend. The future head of state now says he intends to listen to voters across the political spectrum – but does not wish to appear on postage stamps.
 
Hundreds of supporters thronged Petr Pavel’s election headquarters in Prague on Saturday. The mood was upbeat when the very first counted districts gave him an instant lead in the presidential election – and euphoric as it became ever clearer he was going to win. I spoke to some of the well-known personalities in attendance.…
 
Since the first round of the presidential elections, many Czech liberals have expressed indignation at the language of candidate Andrej Babiš, with the billionaire ANO leader attempting to depict opponent Petr Pavel, a former head of the army, as a “warmonger”. But given that the bookies make Mr. Pavel favourite, isn’t there a certain logic to Mr. …
 
Right after coming second in round one of elections to the Czech presidency, Andrej Babiš attacked his rival for the post, Petr Pavel, referring to the latter’s alleged communist-era intelligence training. Mr. Babiš later released billboards implying the former army chief could lead Czechs to war. But how likely is this aggressive approach to succe…
 
John F. Kotouc is the Co-CEO and Co-Chair of the American National Bank for the midwestern region of the United States. Descended from a family of Czech immigrants to Nebraska, he is also a member of the American Friends of the Czech Republic. He recently visited Radio Prague International’s studios and spoke to us, among other things, about the or…
 
Monday saw ANO party leader and presidential candidate Andrej Babiš acquitted of fraud charges in connection to the so-called Stork’s Nest case, with the judge ruling that it cannot be proven any of the defendants had acted criminally. I asked political commentator Jiří Pehe whether the acquittal will strengthen the former prime minister’s chances …
 
Among those taking part in elections for the next president, which begin on Friday, will be many thousands of Czechs living abroad. With postal ballots not an option, registered voters need to travel to a Czech embassy or consulate and cast their ballots in person. Jan Pěnkava, who has been living in Derby, England for eight years, says he is plann…
 
2022 was a very busy year for the Czech minister of foreign affairs, Jan Lipavský. He became a major supporter of Ukraine following Russia’s invasion of the country in February, regularly calling out Moscow’s aggression in forthright language. The issue of the war was also key during the Czech presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half …
 
Demand is falling and the economy is headed for recession according to the head of the Czech National Bank Aleš Michl. Meanwhile, the IMF’s chief Kristalina Georgieva has said that half of the European Union will experience a recession in 2023. So is a recession coming and how hard will Czechia be hit? Those are some of the questions I put to Cyrru…
 
Monday saw no fewer than nine former Czech prime ministers attend a special dinner hosted by the country’s current head of government, Petr Fiala. The get together was organised on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of independent Czech and Slovak republics. A special concert, attended by Slovakia’s Prime Minister Eduard Hege…
 
Things will not be easy this year, but Czechia will handle it. That was a key message from the prime minister’s New Year’s address to the nation on Sunday night. Petr Fiala also praised Czechs’ solidarity with Ukraine and said the Russian invasion intensified the need for defence spending.
 
Czechia’s six-month presidency of the European Union is slowly coming to a close. Petr Fiala’s cabinet took over the role at a challenging moment, with Russia still waging war against Ukraine and energy prices rocketing. So what have been the main achievements of the Czech presidency? That’s a question I put to Filip Nerad, head of the internationa…
 
With only weeks to go until the elections, a new poll suggests the three frontrunners in elections for the Czech presidency are neck and neck. For ages it seemed it would be a battle between Andrej Babiš and Petr Pavel, but recently Danuše Nerudová has emerged as a serious contender. How has she achieved this surge? I spoke to political scientist P…
 
A new street dedicated to the late Czech president, dissident and playwright Václav Havel was unveiled in Luxembourg on Tuesday. The ceremony, marking a symbolic end to the Czech presidency of the EU Council, was attended by Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala and his Luxembourg counterpart Xavier Bettel.…
 
EU foreign ministers are presently meeting in Brussels to debate a ninth package of sanctions against Russia proposed by the European Commission. Helping to reaching broad agreement on the proposal is the last important foreign policy task for the Czech presidency before it hands over the lead role to Sweden at the end of this year.…
 
In the coming months, Czechia will employ thousands of experts from Ukraine in its arms manufacturing industry, thanks to a deal struck between Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a meeting the pair had in October.
 
After five years, British ambassador Nick Archer’s time in Prague is now coming to an end. In an interview on the eve of his departure, the career diplomat discusses a wide range of subjects. These include the joys of having exclusive use of a Malá Strana palace during lockdown, lobbying for the expulsion of Russian diplomats and how his teenage so…
 
Nine people are in the running to succeed Miloš Zeman as Czech president in elections in January, after fulfilling the necessary criteria. Three, Petr Pavel, Danuše Nerudová and Karel Diviš, collected 50,000 signatures, while the remainder secured the backing of legislators. But, now the field has officially been declared, who are the candidates?…
 
The Czech Army must prioritise being able to fight in a largescale war against a sophisticated opponent, the Chief of the Czech Army’s General Staff Karel Řehka said on Tuesday at the armed forces’ annual meeting of commanders. Despite next year’s budget being nearly double that what it was five years ago, General Řehka said that the army’s capabil…
 
Prime Minister Petr Fiala is meeting with his Slovak counterpart Eduard Heger this Thursday in Prague. The chief topic on the agenda is the issue of illegal migration and the associated border controls between the two countries which the Czech government recently reinstated. Slovakia is unhappy with the Czech measure, arguing that it goes against S…
 
On the backdrop of the ongoing Czech EU presidency, a special exhibition titled: “Design and transformation. Stories of Czech design 1990-2020” is currently on display at the Design Museum Brussels. The exhibition serves not just as an opportunity to show beautiful Czech designs and the stories of selected brands, but also as a much-needed call for…
 
A Czech government delegation led by Prime Minister Petr Fiala has returned from Kyiv, following a day of talks with their Ukrainian counterparts and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The trip was intended to express support for Ukraine in its fight against Russia and in its ambitions to join the EU and NATO.…
 
ANO party leader Andrej Babiš announced on Sunday that he will be running in the January 2023 Czech presidential election. The former prime minister made the decision despite currently being behind in the polls after several months of touring the country’s regions. I asked political analyst Petr Just why he thinks Mr Babiš ultimately decided to thr…
 
Tens of thousands of people joined a rally “against fear” in Prague’s Wenceslas Square on Sunday. The demonstration, called by the civic association Million Moments for Democracy, came at a time when fear of rising prices and the looming energy crunch have led some Czechs to question the foreign policy of the Fiala administration and the country’s …
 
Czechia has just over two more months at the helm of the EU and according to the Minister for European Affairs Mikuláš Bek, the hardest test of its ability as a negotiator is yet to come. Prague needs to push ahead with some of the basic agreements of the Green Deal at a time when Europe is increasingly feeling the energy crunch.…
 
Following a mass expulsion of each other’s diplomats in 2021, Prague and Moscow are now engaged in a spat over diplomatic ground. The Czech Foreign Ministry has sent Russia a protest note over the dismantling of a fence around the Czech House in Moscow, while the mayor of Prague 7 is suggesting tearing down the wall around the Russian Embassy premi…
 
The Czech government has responded to Russia’s intensified bombing of civilian targets in Ukraine by closing its doors to Russian tourists with Schengen visas. The cabinet also approved a plan for Czechia’s participation in the reconstruction effort of the war-torn country.
 
Czechia is facing the “worst security threat” in its modern history and “Russia is the Third Reich in colour”. Strong words of warning could be heard on Monday from the various heads of Czech intelligence who gathered at a special conference organised by the head of the Committee on Security of the Chamber of Deputies.…
 
More than 40 leaders gathered in Prague on Thursday afternoon for the first ever summit of the European Political Community. It is a new grouping set up by France that also includes many states that are not EU members. At the summit I discussed its aims with Czech deputy foreign minister for Europe, Jaroslav Kurfürst.…
 
The Qatari head of state, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, is currently on a state visit to Prague where he is meeting not only with Czech leaders but also with several other European representatives on the backdrop of the European summit in the Czech capital. Aside from the key topic of energy, discussions are also set to revolve around investment…
 
With 100 days until Czechs elect a new president, the bookmakers have Petr Pavel as favourite. Andrej Babiš had been expected to go head to head with the ex-army man, though it is not clear whether he will run. Meanwhile the governing Together alliance have just recommended their voters back Pavel, Danuše Nerudová or Pavel Fischer. I discussed the …
 
Elections to one-third of the seats in the Czech Senate were not a success for opposition leaders ANO, which took only three of 27, compared to 20 for the governing Together group. Where did it go wrong for Andrej Babiš’s party? And will the results impact how ANO approach January’s presidential election? I spoke to political scientist Petr Just.…
 
Russia’s plan to annex more of Ukraine on Friday, following sham referendums in the occupied eastern regions of the country, have drawn widespread condemnation from Western democracies. Czechia, which currently holds the EU presidency, has slammed the move as "an unacceptable farce“.
 
This week Prague hosted a summit of the Pact of Free Cities, a cooperation agreement that was jointly signed nearly three years ago by the mayors of Prague, Bratislava, Warsaw, and Budapest. The pact has since grown in membership and now also includes Kyiv whose mayor, Vitaly Klitschko, was also present at the summit where support for Ukraine was a…
 
The weekend municipal and Senate elections took place in an atmosphere of growing concern about soaring energy costs, inflation and the global security situation, raising fears that this might fuel nationalist and extremist tendencies. I asked commentator Jiří Pehe whether the election results gave any indication this could be happening.…
 
Friday sees the start of the 2022 municipal and Senate elections in Czechia. Voting booths are open on Friday from 2pm to 10pm and on Saturday from 8am to 2pm. In those districts where a Senate candidate does not receive more than 50 percent of the vote, a subsequent second round of elections will take place a week later.…
 
Following President Putin’s announcement of a partial mobilisation on Wednesday, there were reports of thousands of Russians leaving the country to avoid the call-up. Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský has said that Russians fleeing their homeland for this reason do not fulfil the conditions for a humanitarian visa in the Czech Republic.…
 
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