The Czech foreign minister, Karel Schwarzenberg, says Ireland’s no to
the Lisbon Treaty does not mean the ratification process should come to a
halt. Speaking after a meeting of EU foreign ministers, he said, however,
that the Czech Republic would have to wait for a ruling from the
Constitutional Court; it is due to say in the autumn whether the document
reforming the structure of the European Union is in line with the Czech
constitution. Minister Schwarzenberg’s position contrasts with that of
the Czech prime minister, Mirek Topolánek; he told reporters he believed
the ratification process in its current form was over.
The most vocal Czech opponent of continuing the ratification process is the Euro-sceptic president, Václav Klaus. He said Ireland’s no vote was a victory for freedom and reason, and thanked Irish voters for putting a brake on what he called top-down centralisation.
Meanwhile, the Czech deputy prime minister for European affairs, Alexandr
Vondra, said discussion about ratification at a European Council summit on
Thursday would be influenced by a vote in the British Parliament on
Wednesday. The House of Lords is expected to vote to accept the Lisbon
Treaty; that would make things slightly different than after the French
Dutch rejections of the original EU constitution, Mr Vondra said. He did
not say what position the Czech Republic would adopt at the European
The Treaty of Lisbon is due to come into effect on January 1 next year, the day the Czech Republic takes over the rotating presidency of the European Union. Implementation of the reform document requires its ratification by all 27 EU members.
A court in Brno has begun hearing a case of child abuse which has shocked
the Czech Republic. Sickening details have been given of how six adults,
including the mysterious Barbora Škrlová, seriously mistreated two boys
in the town of Kuřim. The abuse came to light last year after a neighbour
picked up a signal from a child minding video device in the flat of Klára
Mauerová; it showed that one of her sons, aged seven, was being kept
in appalling conditions in a cupboard.
In the wake of that discovery, it emerged that Ms Mauerová had tried to adopt 33-year-old Barbora Škrlová in the guise of a 12-year-old girl. The alleged abusers have been linked to a sect headed by Barbora Škrlová’s father; her brother is among the accused.
On Tuesday Klára Mauerová tearfully admitted to mistreating her children, saying she had been manipulated by her sister Kateřina and Barbora Škrlová into taking what she called a harsh approach to child-rearing.
A Romany Holocaust documentation and educational centre is set be built on
the site of a World War II concentration camp for Romanies at Hodonín in
south Moravia, the minister for ethnic minorities and human rights,
Džamila Stehlíková, said on Tuesday. Minister Stehlíková said the
present owners of the site had agreed to sell it to the state. The centre
is due to be built next year. It will be administered by the Museum of
Romany Culture in Brno.
Around 90 percent of Bohemia and Moravia’s Romanies were killed during the war. Some of them died at the camp in Hodonín, while others perished at the Lety camp in Bohemia; hundreds of people from both were later murdered at Auschwitz.
A fresh criminal complaint has been filed against Jiří Čunek, who is deputy prime minister and minister for regional development. Jiří Jehlička of the Czech Debtors Central Register says in the complaint that a previous investigation into allegations Mr Čunek took bribes failed to address important issues in the case. The police’s anti-corruption unit are now examining whether there was indeed a failure to follow correct procedure. Mr Čunek quit his two cabinet posts but was reinstated when the bribe-taking investigation was dropped by a state attorney. The Christian Democrats leader has been involved in a number of scandals, including over apparent racist comments he made about the Czech Republic’s Romany minority.
Stars of the film The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian are due to attend its Czech premiere on Tuesday night. Alongside the young actors, director Andrew Adamson will attend the screening at Prague’s Slovanský Dům. Parts of the movie were shot in the Czech Republic – in north Bohemia, at Barrandov Studios and at the Brdy military zone.
The business manager of the Czech national football team, Vlastimil Košťál, has resigned. He had been in the position for the same six-and-a-half-year period that Karel Bruckner served as team coach. Mr Košťál is also the deputy head of the Czech football association and is regarded as one of the most powerful and controversial people in Czech soccer. Commentators have welcomed his resignation; his presence in the national team structure was reportedly a deterrent to potential successors to Mr Bruckner as Czech coach.
The Czech goalkeeper Jaromír Blažek is returning to Sparta Prague after one season at the German club Nuremberg. The Bundesliga side, who last season also featured Czech players Jan Koller and Tomáš Galásek, were relegated to the German second division in May. Blažek, who was second choice Czech goalie after Petr Čech, quit international football after the Czech Republic’s exit from Euro 2008.
The Czech tennis player Nicole Vaidišová was defeated in the first round of a Wimbledon warm-up tournament at Eastbourne on Tuesday. The 19-year-old has been having a disappointing season, with a run to the quarter-finals of a tournament in Birmingham last week the only matches she has won since the beginning of March.
Speaking in Prague on Monday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that the Irish rejection of the Lisbon Treaty should not be ‘over-dramatised’. Nor, he said, should the importance of the no-vote be played down. Mr Sarkozy said that it was now up to France, who will be presiding over the EU for the next six months, to face the consequences of the Irish ‘no’ vote. The French president was in Prague on Monday to meet heads of the Visegrad four states. His visit also provided an opportunity to liaise with Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek, whose government will be taking over the EU presidency from the French at the start of 2009.