• 11/14/2002

    A new opinion poll released by the CVVM agency shows public support for EU membership at 47 percent, up from 40 percent three months ago and the highest figure ever recorded by the agency. Eighteen percent said they would vote against joining the EU, while 23 percent said they would take part in a referendum but hadn't made up their minds which way to vote. The average in other EU candidate countries is 65 percent in favour, 19 percent against.

    Author: Rob Cameron
  • 11/14/2002

    The Czech Republic has won support from Sweden in its debate with the European Union over post-enlargement farm supports. A spokesman for the Czech Minister of Agriculture said his counterpart in Stockholm agreed with Prague's positions on milk quotas, wine-vineyard hectarage, cattle production and other points in ongoing talks with Brussels. Agriculture is one of four areas still being discussed as part of the Czech Republic's negotiations for joining the EU. So far the Czech government has rejected the EU's offer for a gradual introduction of farm subsidies for new member states.

    Author: Rob Cameron
  • 11/13/2002

    Belarussian President Alexandr Lukashenko has threatened that unless the Czech Republic grants him an entry visa, enabling him to take part in the NATO summit to be held in Prague next week, Belarus will cease guarding its borders, allowing thousands of illegal migrants into western Europe; the move would also open the way for drug smuggling, Mr Lukashenko warned. So far, there has been no Czech response. The Czech Foreign Ministry has not yet decided whether to grant the Belarussian president an entry visa, along with members of a Belarussian delegation that also applied last month; each case is decided individually and a decision on Lukashenko might not come until early next week. NATO officials have already made clear the Belarussian president is not welcome at the NATO summit because of both his autocratic style and his opposition to NATO in the past.

    Author: Jan Velinger
  • 11/13/2002

    The Czech Senate's foreign, defence and security committee has unanimously recommended the Upper House approve a government bill enabling US military planes to protect Czech airspace during the NATO summit in Prague on November 21st and 22nd - senators will vote on the bill on Thursday. Under the bill American F-15 and F-16 fighter jets will begin guarding Czech airspace as of November 19th, deputy defence minister Stefan Fuele told senators Wednesday. The US will also provide refuelling aircraft and an AWACS radar plane, while Czechs will provide their own MiG-21 fighters and other combat planes and helicopters. Mr Fuele added that major flights of civilian aircraft over the Czech Republic would not be curbed during the summit, but said armed guards would be stationed aboard. Small aircraft, on the other hand, shall be banned from Czech airspace during the summit.

    Author: Jan Velinger
  • 11/13/2002

    Thirty-two people have been deported from the Czech Republic and five have had their residence status terminated after a security dragnet launched by police on Tuesday revealed they were in the country illegally, either with expired visas or without visas at all. Overall police screened two hundred and fifty-five foreigners in Prague and central Bohemia. The controls come in connection with next week's NATO summit in Prague; besides tighter security within the country, police have tightened controls on the border. Police spokeswoman Klara Krejci said on Monday that the police have already denied entry to several people on the Slovak and German border, but said detailed information including the precise number of those turned away, or their citizenship, would not be released.

    Author: Jan Velinger
  • 11/13/2002

    The Czech Republic has acknowledged that its possible accession to the European Union, together with that of nine other candidate countries, could slip back by several months; the announcement coming in response to a statement made in Brussels on Tuesday, in which Enlargement Commissioner Guenter Verheugen said that a small delay from the January 1, 2004 date would give parliaments in the 15 current member states more time to study and ratify the accession treaty. Responding to the comment Czech Deputy Foreign Minister and chief EU negotiator Pavel Telicka told reporters on Wednesday that the Czech Republic would continue to seek the earliest date possible, adding that an eventual delay should not create new obstacles. The Czech Republic is one of the 10 mostly ex-Communist countries from central and eastern Europe hoping to finish membership talks by the end of the year, to join the EU as early as January 1, 2004.

    Author: Jan Velinger
  • 11/13/2002

    The European Commission has called for 728 million euros in aid to help repair flood damage in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, and France. Officials said agreement on the package by EU governments and the European Parliament could come as early as next week, with the funds being made available by the end of the year. The newly-created one billion euro European Union Solidarity Fund will provide 444 million euros in EU help for Germany, 134 million euros for Austria, 129 million euros for the Czech Republic and 21 million euros for France. The packages will be used to restore vital equipment and infrastructure destroyed by floods that devastated many parts of Europe in August this year.

    Author: Jan Velinger
  • 11/13/2002

    It has been announced that Czech Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla and President Vaclav Havel will meet with US President George W. Bush one day before next week's NATO summit gets underway in Prague. The summit, which begins November 21st will see dozens of government and military leaders discussing plans for a multinational expansion of the western alliance, and will be the first NATO summit ever held in a former communist country. The Czech Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla was appointed prime minister in June; while Vaclav Havel, a former dissident, became president after the fall of communism in 1989.

    Author: Jan Velinger
  • 11/12/2002

    An overwhelming majority of Prague citizens fear the protest demonstrations that are expected to take place during the NATO summit on November 21st and 22nd. Results of a public opinion poll released by the Prague School of International and Public Relations on Tuesday showed that some 80 percent of Prague citizens fear street rioting and 53 percent fear a possible terrorist attack. On the other hand, 58 percent also agreed to the summit being held in Prague. Opinion polls conducted over recent months have shown that fears of demonstrations and terrorist attacks in the Czech capital are on the rise as the NATO summit draws near.

    Author: Dita Asiedu
  • 11/12/2002

    The first demonstration in the country against the NATO summit has been scheduled for this Saturday in the Moravian capital of Brno. Although only some 50 activists are expected to take part in the protest, Brno police have said that they are prepared to do what will be necessary to ensure order. The protest demonstration was called by the Organisation of Radical Anarchists with the aim to rally up support and lure protesters to Prague during the days of the summit next week.

    Author: Dita Asiedu

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