Obama to make "European speech of the year" in Prague - Czech PM
Barack Obama doesn’t arrive in Prague until April 4th, but an “advance team” of advisors are already here to scout out locations for what the Czech prime minister Mirek Topolánek says will be Mr Obama’s “European speech of the year.” Quite what he’ll say in it remains to be seen, with fresh questions raised this week over the future of the planned U.S. missile defence shield in the Czech Republic and Poland.
Just what he’ll say is hard to guess. But certainly he’ll be under pressure to say something about plans to build a radar base on Czech soil as part of the missile defence shield, an agreement that was signed with the previous Bush administration. Mr Obama seems less keen on missile defence and – unlike Mr Bush – is certainly in no hurry to start deploying it in earnest.
For now, though, the focus of the Czech media is on Mr Obama’s itinerary. It seems he will arrive in Prague on the evening of Saturday April 4th, to be welcomed by President Václav Klaus. Sunday he’ll apparently have breakfast with former President Václav Havel, before meeting leaders of the EU’s 27 member countries, and making his promised speech.
President Obama is due to be accompanied by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as well as his wife Michelle, something that could cause headaches for the prime minister’s protocol team. Mr Topolánek is separated from his wife and lives with his girlfriend, fellow Civic Democrat MP Lucie Talmanová. For the photo calls either he will appear alone alongside Barack and Michelle Obama, or with Ms Talmanová. The protocol team must decide which – in the absence of a married partner - is the lesser evil.