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Nine people are in the running to succeed Miloš Zeman as Czech president in elections in January, after fulfilling the necessary criteria. Two, Petr Pavel and Danuše Nerudová, 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.…
 
Recent weeks have seen important events take place in relation to the war that Russia has unleashed on Ukraine, whether it be the successful Ukrainian counter-offensive in the Kharkiv region, or Vladimir Putin’s Wednesday announcement of a partial mobilisation in Russia. To find out more about the wider ramifications of the current situation on the…
 
Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský addressed the 77th session of the UN General Assembly in New York on Wednesday urging delegates to defend the UN Charter and stop Russia’s colonial war against Ukraine. In an emotive speech to the assembly he said now was the time for the UN to prove its “raison d'être”.…
 
The Council of Europe, based in Strasbourg, has been facing major challenges recently. Last March, following its invasion of Ukraine, Russia was excluded from its ranks, reducing the number of member states from 47 to 46. Czechoslovakia became a part of the Council of Europe in 1991, and after the dissolution of the country, the Czech Republic join…
 
Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala went on national television on Sunday to try to dispel growing public concern regarding energy costs in the coming months. He said he was confident that the cap on energy prices approved by the government and parliament last week would get the country through the winter and called on people to pull their weight and s…
 
Bořek Lizec is not just Czechia’s ambassador to Canada but also a man on a mission to track down the history of the many Czech communities in North America. He recently visited Radio Prague International’s studios to talk about Czechia’s search for Russian energy alternatives, as well as about his encounters with Canada’s Volhynian Czechs. I began …
 
Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, there was some debate as to what to call her successor. Until then he was known as Princ Charles, but almost immediately news organisations translated the name and called him Král/King Karel. So why the change? I discussed the matter with well-known Czech linguist Karel Oliva:…
 
With the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday, her oldest son ascended to the throne as King Charles III. Not so many people outside of Czechia know, however, that Charles visited the country a number of times after the fall of communism in 1989, and took an active interest in Czech architecture, even establishing a heritage fund with Václav Hav…
 
Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away on Thursday, is fondly remembered by many Czechs. Not least thanks to her visit to the country in March 1996, when she met with the then president Václav Havel and chatted with locals on Charles Bridge. One of those who met with the monarch several times during his career is the former Czech ambassador to the UK …
 
All eyes will be on Brussels on Friday, when Europe’s energy ministers meet to discuss ways of tackling soaring power prices. The head of the European Commission has proposed capping Russian gas prices – but the Czech presidency of the EU is firmly opposed to this plan. I discussed the emergency summit with Czech Radio’s Filip Nerad.…
 
Sunflowers of Hope is the name of a new project launched in cooperation with Prague City Hall and the city’s Ukrainian Embassy. Using Ukraine’s national flower as a symbol, it seeks to combine financial donations with messages of emotional support. The project is the brainchild of the Czech branch of global advertising agency Dentsu. I asked the co…
 
Saturday saw tens of thousands of people demonstrating on Prague’s Wenceslas Square against what they see as government mishandling of the energy crisis. Among the attendees were also members of hard left and hard right parties, many of them carrying banners with anti-NATO and anti-EU slogans, as well as calling for an end to pro-Ukraine measures. …
 
The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra will mark the Czech Presidency of the EU Council with a special concert on a floating stage on the Vltava River on Friday evening. The event will present some of the most iconic pieces of Czech classical music, but it will open with Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. I discussed the programme with the head of the Czech Philhar…
 
Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, has died at the age of 91. He played a key role in the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Iron Curtain. In Czechia, Gorbachev’s legacy lies mainly in the hope for a better future that his reforms helped bring about and his non-interventionist policy when it came to Soviet satellite states…
 
Statistics in recent years have shown that there is a growing number of Indians, both students and professionals that are moving to and living in Czechia. Why is that? And what are Czech-Indian relations like in general? To find out more, I spoke to Dr Eliška Žigová, who served as the head of the Asia-Pacific Department of the Ministry of Foreign A…
 
Wednesday marks exactly six months since Russia launched its war on Ukraine. Czechia has taken in more Ukrainian refugees per capita than any other state and provided massive assistance to Kyiv. But how did the relatively new Czech government respond to the invasion in March? And with fuel prices rocketing, how is it handling public opinion now? I …
 
Which Czech parties are skilled at using social media and why do some politicians get it so wrong? Where should we draw the line over what we share on the internet? And why did some Czech influencers begin spreading disinformation on Instagram? These are just some of the many topics I discussed recently with Marie Heřmanová, a leading Czech digital…
 
Czechia should actively pursue a realist, value-driven diplomacy abroad, while at the same time seeking out new energy sources, Prime Minister Petr Fiala told diplomats at an annual gathering of the country’s ambassadors in Prague. The meeting is mainly centred on economic and security questions related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.…
 
When an amendment to the law regarding foreigners’ health insurance in the Czech Republic was passed last year, then-opposition MP Zbyněk Stanjura criticised it. Now, however, as the current finance minister he is having to defend it – and to no less than the European Commission.
 
If you visit the European Council buildings in Brussels these days, you will see 12 colourful flower-shaped carpets decorating its main entrance. The installation is part of a project called Flower Union, created by a group of young artists, textile designers and graphic designers to represent Czechia during its EU presidency. Among its aims is to …
 
The European Commission will present its proposal for the new European Media Freedom Act in September, Commission Vice-President for Values and Transparency Věra Jourová has told Czech Radio. The legislation proposal will include rules on the management and regulation of public media, as well as greater protections for journalists. Negotiations wit…
 
Prague’s capacities for taking in refugees filled quickly following the Russian attack on Ukraine, and in mid-June, the capital’s centre for Ukrainian refugees closed down. Although it re-opened in July, the capacity problems have not gone away. Neela Winkelmann, a Czech woman living in Prague, decided to do something about it, so in cooperation wi…
 
EU energy ministers made an agreement last week to reduce gas consumption by 15 percent in preparation for a potentially tough winter. However, the agreement has been criticized by some as being too weak, unfair, or inconsistent. Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský responded to some of the criticisms in an interview with Czech Radio.…
 
The Czech government announced this week that it will be entering negotiations with the United States about the possible purchase of F35 fighter jets. The Ministry of Defence says that it is hoping to secure two squadrons – around 24 aircraft – worth dozens of billions of crowns, which would quite possibly make this the most expensive purchase in C…
 
Czechia may soon have its own version of the 2012 US Magnitsky Act which would allow the country to impose national sanctions for serious violations of international law on individuals and legal entities who are not on the EU sanctions list. The state could, for example, bar them entry to this country or freeze their assets.…
 
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