Czech President Václav Klaus has welcomed Ireland’s rejection of the Lisbon treaty in a referendum held on Thursday, calling it “the victory of freedom and reason over artificial elitist projects and European bureaucracy.” Mr Klaus noted that Ireland was the only EU country to allow its citizens to express their opinion and said the result should be a clear message to everybody. “The Lisbon treaty project ended today with the decision of the Irish voters and its ratification cannot be continued,” he said in a statement. The Czech head of state has repeatedly expressed his reservations about the text of the Lisbon treaty and his doubts about further development of the EU.
Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek said on Friday that Ireland’s rejection of the Lisbon treaty was a complication for the European Union. He added, however, that it would not threaten the standard functioning of the union. Mr Topolánek stressed that the final results and further steps would need to be discussed at the European Council meeting in Brussels next week. He also made it clear that the Czech Republic would continue preparing for its EU presidency as planned for January 1 next year.
Hundreds of people, including high-ranking politicians and cultural figures, attended a memorial ceremony on Saturday morning on the site of Lidice, the Czech village razed to the ground by the Nazis. The chairman of the Senate Přemysl Sobotka in his speech warned against the underestimation of present-day conflicts that don’t seem to concern the Czech Republic. On June 10th 1942, 173 men were shot and the women and children were transported to concentration camps as a reprisal for the assassination of Nazi governor Reinhard Heydrich. Of the children only seventeen survived.
The National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa,
has been hit by devastating floods after the River Cedar broke its bank.
The historical part of the town, known as the Czech Village, is under
well. The building, located by the river, was officially opened in 1995 by
three heads of state, America’s Bill Clinton, Slovakia’s Michal
and Czech president Václav Havel. It is dedicated to Czech and Slovak
history and immigration.
The American Midwest region was hit by a series of tornadoes this week, causing the worst flooding since 1993. Cedar Rapids, Iowa’s second largest city, is one of the worst flooded areas. About 8,000 people had to be evacuated so far. Weather forecasters predict new rains in the next few days.
Around 5,000 people marched through the centre of Prague on Saturday to raise awareness of breast cancer. The march, which was attended mostly by young women, culminated in an outdoor cultural event at Žluté Lázně. Some 6,000 women contract breast cancer in the Czech Republic each year, and around a third die of the disease. Organisers said the aim of today's march was to remind women that women over the age of 45 can be tested for breast cancer free of charge and to raise money for health and education projects.
A group of nationalists gathered in the north Bohemian town of Děčín on Saturday afternoon. The demonstration was officially announced as a protest against legalization of drugs. More than one hundred nationalists marched from the railway station to the city centre, carrying black flags and banners. The march was accompanied by several dozen police officers to prevent any clashes with anarchists. The event had been approved by the town authorities.
Czech Cardinal Miloslav Vlk will resume his office on Monday after spending two weeks in a spa town in southern Bohemia. Cardinal Vlk, who is 76, collapsed last month after suffering heavy exhaustion and he had to be hospitalised. The head of the Czech Catholic Church was diagnosed with a heart problem last year and underwent surgery to have a pacemaker fitted. He has recently released a statement on his website, saying he though it highly likely that he would be standing down from his function at the end of the year.
The Czech military has fenced off the site of the planned US radar base in the Brdy military zone, which was occupied until recently by Greenpeace activists in protest against the base. From now on the area will be permanently guarded by the military police. The spot height 718, which was chosen as a site for the radar, has been surrounded with a three km long wire fence.
Prague’s museums and galleries are opening their door to the public free of charge from 5pm to midnight on Saturday as part of the fifth annual Museum Night. Fifty-one institutions, including the National Gallery, are taking part in the event, organised by the National Museum. Prague’s transport authority is laying on extra buses for visitors.
Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek has said that Ireland's apparent rejection of the EU reform treaty, while a complication for the European Union, will not threaten the standard functioning of the 27-member bloc. The Czech leader stressed that the final results and further steps would need to be discussed at the European Council meeting in Brussels. EU leaders meet next week. The prime minister also stressed the “No” vote needed to be taken no less seriously than the rejection of the original EU constitution, turned down by French and Dutch voters in 2005. He did make clear at a press onference on Friday that the Czech Republic would continue preparing for its EU presidency as planned for January 1 next year. The Lisbon Treaty was meant to reform the functioning of the EU, introducing a long-term president of the European Council as well as a stronger foreign policy head. To be adopted the treaty needed to be ratified in all 27 EU states.