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A fresh Russian offensive targeted at Kharkiv puts Ukraine’s efforts to defend itself against Putin’s aggression under renewed focus. It may also increase the importance of a Czech initiative to provide large amounts of artillery ammunition to Ukraine, funded by partner states, which is set to begin next month.…
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As Russia steps up its offensive in Ukraine, the country’s leadership is stressing the urgent need for more weapons and soldiers to hold the front. In an exclusive interview for Czech Radio, Ukraine’s Defence Minister Rustem Umerov spoke about the military’s most urgent needs, the call to action for Ukrainian citizens abroad and the need to boost U…
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News of the brutal assassination attempt against Slovak PM Robert Fico, who is now fighting for his life in a Slovak hospital, sent shockwaves around Europe. Politicians in Czechia have been sending messages of support and solidarity to the former sister state and urging restraint in what threatens to be a potentially dangerous situation.…
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The first ever National Development Day was held at the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday. The event highlighted the country’s active cooperation with developing countries around the world – including in the human rights field.
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Following talks with US President Joe Biden on Monday, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala visited the US Congress on Tuesday meeting with House Speaker Mike Johnson and a number of Democrat and Republican lawmakers ahead of a crucial vote on funding for Ukraine.
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Support for Ukraine in the face of Moscow’s aggression was among the main items on the agenda when the Czech prime minister, Petr Fiala, was welcomed at the White House by US President Joe Biden on Monday. Indeed Mr. Fiala told his host he remembered Russian tanks on Czech streets – and did not wish to see them again.…
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Czechia joined international condemnation of Iran's strikes on Israel on Saturday night, backing Israel’s right to self-defense and expressing concern regarding a further destabilization of the region. The worsening global security situation is expected to be high on the agenda of Monday’s meeting between US President Joe Biden and Czech Prime Mini…
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Czech President Petr Pavel travels to Vilnius on Thursday for a summit of the Three Seas Initiative, which aims to boost connections between countries by the Baltic, Adriatic and Black seas. But why is the landlocked Czechia involved? And what will be the focus of the gathering in Lithuania?
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With European Parliament elections around the corner, Czechs are gearing up to head to the polls. But how do Czechs, specifically younger ones, feel about the EU and Czechia’s membership? That’s a question that Czech Radio reporter Anna Urbanová set out to answer based on data from a new study , and I spoke with her about it in our studios.…
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The weekend’s presidential elections in Slovakia were also closely watched in Czechia. Czech leaders have congratulated winner Peter Pellegrini, despite his pro-Russian image. But what is Prague really thinking about his victory? And could Czech populists take inspiration from Pellegrini’s campaign rhetoric? I spoke to political scientist Jiří Pehe…
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Revelations a Czech-based Russian influence network was paying politicians in several states have made headlines around Europe. Czechia’s European commissioner says she sensed Moscow was using such dirty tricks – and says steps should be taken to weed dodgy politicians out of the European Parliament.…
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Hundreds of Czech musicians and other artists have signed an open letter to the country’s leaders, urging them to push for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza. The initiative takes inspiration from the Artists4Ceasefire collective in the US and is led in Czechia by singer-songwriter Tomáš Klus.
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The Czech secret service has scored a major success, uncovering a Russian network attempting to influence elections in various European states. The Prague government followed this revelation with sanctions on two individuals, including a pro-Russian Ukrainian politician.
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The rapid growth of generative AI is influencing many areas of life and there is no doubt that it will play a role in campaigning in the European elections. So are Czech parties preparing to harness the potential it affords and will Czech voters be able to recognize AI-driven disinformation?
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The ruling coalition has accused opposition leader Andrej Babiš of undermining the government’s support for Ukraine through his “pacifist” language and putting at risk Czechia’s security. At a special session of the lower house on Tuesday the prime minister said the opposition should make clear whether it sides with the free West or with Putin.…
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As the world watched the orchestrated re-election of Vladimir Putin as Russia’s president for the next six years, Russian nationals in Prague gathered on Wenceslas Square in a symbolic show of support for the “Noon against Putin” protests at home. Many of them did not get the chance to vote.
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Czechia on Tuesday celebrated 25 years since its accession to NATO, on March 12, 1999. One of the main events on the anniversary was the conference Our Security Cannot Be Taken for Granted with speakers including Bill Clinton, who was US president when the Czechs joined the alliance.
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Czechia, along with Poland and Hungary, joined NATO exactly 25 years ago, on March 12, 1999. But how has Czech membership of the alliance actually gone over the last quarter century? And how has Russia’s war on Ukraine impacted that membership? I discussed those questions, and many more, with Michal Smetana, an international security expert and ass…
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Former US President Bill Clinton is in Prague for a conference commemorating the 25th anniversary of Czechia’s admission to NATO. On Sunday night he visited Prague's Reduta jazz club, where he celebrated the country’s admission to Western structures together with then president Vaclav Havel and US secretary of state Madeleine Albright a quarter of …
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Friday marks Petr Pavel’s first year as president of Czechia. What have been his biggest successes so far? And did he succeed in uniting the divided Czech society? I discussed these questions with political scientist Vlastimil Havlík from Masaryk University in Brno:
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Relations between Czechia and Slovakia, which were part of one country for over seven decades, have consistently been described as “exceptional”. But mounting differences over foreign policy have now led the Czech government to suspend a planned joint meeting of the two cabinets in what is seen as a clear message that Prague wants to distance itsel…
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France’s president Emmanuel Macron recently refused to rule out the deployment of Western troops to Ukraine and that position appeared to find support from his Czech counterpart in Prague on Tuesday. Petr Pavel said combat troops could not be deployed – but sending instructors to the war-ravaged country was an option.…
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Blacksmiths, foresters, welders and glassmakers are among the demanding professions where people will be able to retire up to five years earlier that the rest, according to a pension reform bill drafted by the labour ministry. Overall, the proposed reforms will be a major overhaul of the present system.…
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While Czechia’s arms industry has seen record exports in the last two years, its armaments makers are still facing one major problem, according to the country’s defence minister. Jana Černochová says international banks are making it hard for such firms to acquire loans or make payments.
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The Paris summit on Ukraine appears to have kicked into action a Czech plan to purchase badly needed ammunition for Ukraine outside of the EU. After struggling to secure international funding for the project, Prime Minister Petr Fiala announced on Monday that 15 EU member states are now willing to back the purchase.…
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Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala is set to host his counterparts Slovakia, Poland and Hungary in Prague on Tuesday. The meeting of the Visegrad Four leaders comes against a backdrop of calls to cancel the summit after Slovakia’s Robert Fico made a speech widely seen as pro-Russian. I discussed the V4 today with Mats Braun, head of the Institute for …
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A Median poll published Tuesday reaffirms ANO’s long-term commanding lead among Czech voters. But the survey also suggests that the Czech Pirate Party, one of the smaller parties in the coalition, are now ahead of government leaders the Civic Democrats. So, what are the Pirates doing right? I put that question to political scientist Jiří Pehe.…
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Czechia ended compulsory military service two decades ago. Now, however, the head of the country’s army, Karel Řehka, says it may be necessary to bring it back – otherwise the state could have insufficient military reserves in future.
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President Petr Pavel made international headlines at the Munich Security Conference when he said Czechia could secure about 800,000 artillery shells for Ukraine – if partner states provided the funding. How realistic is this plan? And what would such a delivery mean for the Kyiv government? I spoke to international affairs and security expert Micha…
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A Thursday night screening at Prague's Edison Filmhub of the film Utøya, about the mass shooting at a summer camp in Norway, provided an opportunity to discuss the aftermath of December’s shooting at Charles University. One topic was potential changes to Czech gun legislation, which guest speaker Jan Bartošek, who works for the Ministry of the Inte…
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In August 2023, Canada appointed a new Ambassador to Czechia, Emily McLaughlin. Ambassador McLaughlin, whose career has spanned over 20 years in the Canadian Foreign Service, has previously held positions in New York, London and Hong Kong. Recently, I met with her at the Canadian Embassy in Prague to discuss her mission, her hopes of connecting wit…
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Czechia has announced that it will abstain in the vote on an EU migration and asylum pact expected to take place later this month. According to government officials, the new draft of the proposal would reduce the possibility of effectively preventing illegal migration on the EU’s external borders.
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Czech legislators are spreading disinformation on the floor of Parliament – including those from government parties. So says political scientist Miloš Gregor, who is currently also an advisor on this subject to Prime Minister Petr Fiala. I asked him what kind of disinformation was being heard in lawmakers’ debates.…
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Czechia’s score in Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) has hardly improved at all over the last eight years. While its position in the 2023 ranking remains the same as the year before, it still scored well below the EU average. I spoke to Marek Chromý, head analyst at Transparency International’s Czech branch, to …
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Czechia has just signed an agreement with the United States to buy two dozen F-35 advanced fighter jets. The procurement is seen as significantly boosting the Czechs’ military capabilities and integration with NATO and represents the largest defence contract ever signed by the country.
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A memorial plaque was unveiled in the French city of Marseille on Friday dedicated to former Czechoslovak diplomat Vladimír Vochoč, who helped to save hundreds of Jews from France during the Holocaust. Despite his service to the country, he was persecuted by the Communists and spent more than seven years in prison.…
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Following days of filibustering, the lower house on Thursday approved a government proposal to allow postal voting for Czechs living abroad. The governing coalition wants the bill, which faces two more readings in the lower house, approved in time for the 2025 parliamentary elections. I spoke to political scientist Petr Just about its significance …
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The Czech Senate rejected ratification of the Istanbul Convention in a hotly contested vote Wednesday night. The treaty, which Czechia formally signed in 2016, seeks to prevent, prosecute and eliminate domestic violence. So why have Czech politicians rejected it? I spoke to political scientist Jiří Pehe.…
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This year's celebrations of the 20th anniversary of Czechia’s accession to the European Union kicked off on Monday with a conference marking the country’s two decades of membership. It was the first in a series of events that will take place throughout 2024.
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At a conference marking the 20th anniversary of Czech membership in the EU, the country’s top officials highlighted the numerous advantages of belonging to the alliance. One thing they were unable to agree on was the prospect of euro adoption.
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Many Czechs have been shocked by a case in which a man got only a suspended sentence for raping his minor stepdaughter – after a court expert said the violations, which went on for two years, had not greatly impacted her. Following the verdict, the victim repeatedly attempted suicide. I discussed the case with Lucie Hrdá, a lawyer and women’s right…
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Prague has been hitting back at propaganda launched after Czechia recently refused a Russian “summons” to the UN Security Council. With the social media campaign “Pro-Kremlin Fairy Tales”, the Czech Foreign Ministry is using humour to highlight the absurdity of Russian claims, combining storybook images with biting commentary. Karel Smékal, head of…
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Participants of talks on developing a peace formula for Russia's war on Ukraine met in Davos last Sunday and President Zelensky subsequently asked Switzerland to organize a high-profile peace conference on the drawn-out conflict. I spoke to Czech Deputy Foreign Minister Jan Marian, who represented Czechia at the Davos talks, to find out how much pr…
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On a two-day visit to Israel, Czech President Petr Pavel assured the country’s top officials of Czechia’s continued support in the war against Hamas. At the same time, he expressed concern for the fate of civilians on both sides of the conflict.
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Labour and Social Affairs Minister Marian Jurečka has come under increasing pressure to resign over a Christmas party held at the ministry on the night of the tragic shooting at the Faculty of Arts. The minister has apologized for what he called “poor judgement” and said he was prepared to resign if the prime minister asked him to go.…
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A parliamentary proposal to allow Czech citizens who live abroad to vote by post in elections received strong backing from the Czech government on Wednesday. The government hopes that, if all goes well, Czechs abroad could vote by post for the first time in the 2025 general elections.
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A ban on big luggage, security frames and key card entry systems: those are just some of the safety measures being debated at schools and universities around the country in response to the tragic shooting at the Prague Faculty of Arts.
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The war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas has been going on for over two months, with a devastating impact on the civilian population. Caritas is one of the NGOs that is there trying to help, and is also calling for an immediate ceasefire – in stark contrast to the Czech government, who voted against such a move. I spoke to Lenka Pipková, Foreign Co…
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In his Christmas address to the nation, Prime Minister Petr Fiala said the country had seen two hard years, but 2024 would bring a turn for the better. He said that thanks to a policy of fiscal discipline the soaring deficit in public finances had been brought under control.
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