Daily news summary

Hungarian prime minister in Prague for talks

Visiting Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and the Czech head of government Andrej Babiš on Friday met to discuss bilateral cooperation and European issues. The two heads of government reiterated their common stand to migration and thanked each other for their mutual support in defending their stand in Brussels. Both countries have refused to accept migrant quotas and both have refused to sign the UN’s Global Compact for Migration.

Mr Obrán also met for talks with Radek Vondráček, Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies. The Hungarian prime minister thanked the Czech Parliament for coming out in Hungary’s defence in its controversy with the European Parliament over the country’s internal developments.

The European Parliament in September voted to launch a procedure against Hungary over its alleged breach of core EU values, an unprecedented move against any EU member state. The Czech Republic criticized the decision as unfortunate, arguing that dialogue would have been a better option.

Foreign Ministry says downgrading status of selected Czech embassies not political decision

The downgrading of the status of several Czech embassies announced recently does not reflect the importance ascribed to bilateral relations with the given state, but was a move prompted by financial considerations, the Czech Foreign Ministry said in a statement released on Friday.

The statement comes in reaction to criticism from President Miloš Zeman who said the decision to take away „top priority status“ from the Czech Embassy in Hungary and that in Italy was a serious mistake. He said he would apologize in person to the visiting Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and would push to get the decision reversed.

The ministry, which also downgraded the status of the Czech embassies in Ukraine and Turkey, said the status – or different categories – in which embassies were placed was only related to the salaries paid to diplomats in the given state.

Jan Švejdar to be new police president

Jan Švejdar is to be the country’s new police president, Interior Minister Jan Hamáček announced on Friday. Mr. Švejdar, who is head of the police force in the Pardubice region, was selected by a special commission.

The only other contender for the post was the head of the Usti regional police force Jaromír Kníže. Jan Švejdar will take up his post on December 1st. He said his top priorities in office would be to fight drug trafficking and improve safety on Czech roads.

General Pavel says more effort needed to fight hybrid attacks from Russia, China

The former chairman of the NATO Military Committee, General Petr Pavel has stressed that more needs to be done to fight hybrid attacks from Russia and China.

Addressing a conference on information warfare and hybrid threats currently held in Prague, General Pavel noted that while Europe’s security forces cooperated well in detecting and minimizing the danger of terrorist attacks Europe still underestimated the threat of hybrid attacks by Russia and China.

He said that in fighting the hybrid threat it was essential to explain the concept to the public, how disinformation campaigns work and how big a threat they present.

Frýdlant Hospital no longer performing surgery

Frýdlant Hospital has stopped performing all surgical operations after nine of the sixteen patients it operated on in the past week were rushed to hospital with blood poisoning.The operating theatre in Frýdlant Hospital has been closed and the matter is being investigated.

All nine patients, who were taken to Liberec Hospital, are reported to be stable, although they remain in intensive care. They underwent different operations performed by different surgical teams.

Czech historian Michal Frankl wins prestigious ERC grant

Czech historian Michal Frankl, a senior researcher at the Masaryk Institute and Archives of the Czech Academy of Sciences, has won a prestigious European Research Council (ERC) Grant of nearly two million euros with a project on refugees and Central European countries citizens in the 20th century.

Mr. Frankl, who has published widely on the history of antisemitism, refugee policies, and the Holocaust in the Bohemian lands and East-Central Europe, is the first Czech scientist in the field of humanities to win the ERC grant.

Weather forecast

Saturday should be partly cloudy to overcast with scattered sleet or snow showers and day temperatures between – 3 and 1 degrees Celsius.