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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…
 
News outlets on Thursday evening reported that a Czech diplomat with top security clearance had been caught handing classified information over to the Russians. However, a legal loophole means that the alleged mole could well evade prosecution.
 
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.…
 
According to the results of an audit by the Supreme Audit Office, Czechia still lacks a comprehensive system for protecting so-called soft targets from terrorist attacks. The statement, released on Monday, has evoked concern regarding the level of security in the country, which is now moreover hosting dozens of events connected to the Czech Preside…
 
The European Union’s is currently facing many crises and its main task will be to mitigate their effects on EU citizens, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said in his address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday. Mr Fiala highlighted Ukraine and the energy crisis as the main priorities of his country’s EU presidency. In a subsequent …
 
The leaders of the newly established Czechoslovakia could and should have done far more to ensure its stability. So says historian Professor Igor Lukeš from Boston University, author of the recently published collection Dějiny a doba postfaktická (History and the Post-Factual Age). Our interview also touches on NATO enlargement, Václav Klaus and Uk…
 
The Czech Republic has taken up the rotating presidency of the EU Council at an exceptionally difficult time, when the war in Ukraine is re-writing the world order and states in close proximity of Russia are scrambling to join Western structures. In an interview for Radio Prague International, Czech Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Dvořák spoke about…
 
President Zeman’s second term in office will expire in March of next year and Czechs are already mulling who they will support as their next head of state in elections scheduled for January 13. I spoke to political analyst Jiří Pehe about the outlooks and whether the turbulent times we are living in will influence their choice.…
 
Numerous events have been taking place in the Czech Republic and Brussels to mark the start of the Czech EU presidency. One of them is an exhibition of designer wine glasses celebrating the 27-member states, which is now on display at the Jablonec Museum of Glass and Jewelry.
 
After rising to become the third biggest party in the Czech lower house, the Mayors and Independents are now on the ropes. A prominent member in Prague is in custody on corruption charges over a case that has also led to the resignation of the Mayors’ education minister. Can the party recover from this scandal? I spoke to political scientist Miloš …
 
As the Czech Republic’s six month EU presidency fast approaches, we discussed the country’s list of priorities for the chairmanship of the European Council with Czech Radio’s EU Affairs analyst and former Brussels correspondent Filip Nerad, and Eastern Partnership and Russia expert Pavel Havlíček from the Association for International Affairs.…
 
Amid growing speculation about the possibility of a sudden halt in Russian gas supplies to Europe, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala went on national television on Wednesday night to assure Czechs that the government had a crisis scenario ready and would not let anyone fall. He also outlined the government’s plan to cut the country’s dependence on Ru…
 
Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský on Tuesday outlined his ministry’s priorities for the upcoming Czech EU Presidency. He stressed the need to continue helping Ukraine, boost the EU’s defense and security structures and promote democratic institutions and the rule of law.
 
Will the police crackdown on an organised crime ring within the Prague Public Transit Company, which included the now former City Hall Councillor Petr Hlubuček of the government represented Mayors and Independents party, have a significant effect on the Czech EU presidency? And will the Czech government survive the scandal of its second largest coa…
 
Just days ahead of the onset of its EU presidency, the Czech Republic has been hit by a major corruption scandal connected to the second largest government party – the Mayors and Independents. The affair has already cost the head of one minister, but opposition groupings are calling for more blood as the party faces the worst public relations disas…
 
The Czech Republic is preparing to take over the rotating presidency of the EU Council from France on July 1st, for its second stint at the helm of the 27-member alliance. Due to the war in Ukraine, and the need to address pressing issues such as energy security, defense capability and the resilience of the EU economy, it will have to hit the groun…
 
The Czech government has presented its list of priorities that it plans to focus on during the country’s upcoming presidency of the EU Council that will run from July 1 to December 31 of this year. Managing the refugee crisis associated with the war in Ukraine as well as helping rebuild the country will be a top issue, along with ensuring energy se…
 
A European Parliament delegation headed by EP President Roberta Metsola is in Prague for talks with Czech leaders on the upcoming Czech EU Presidency. Viktor Daněk interviewed Ms. Metsola ahead of her trip to Prague and first asked whether she considered the opening of accession talks with Ukraine to be the main task of the presidency.…
 
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky called for his country to receive EU candidate status and for a seventh EU package of sanctions against Russia in a speech to the Czech Parliament on Wednesday. He repeatedly echoed the famous phrase “we are with you, be with us” that was broadcast on Czechoslovak Radio during the Soviet-led invasion in 1968. …
 
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