The Czech Republic wishes to be known as Czechia in English and plans to have its entry in the official list of country names at the United Nations adjusted to that end, the minister of foreign affairs, Lubomír Zaorálek, said on Tuesday. Mr. Zaorálek said he expected the formal move would be made once backing was received for it at a regular meeting of senior state officials on Thursday. President Miloš Zeman already uses the name Czechia. While the one-word Czech name Česko caught on despite some initial resistance there have been debates surrounding the use of Czechia for many years.
President Miloš Zeman has thanked the police for their work during a recent visit by the president of China and on the November 17 state holiday last year, his spokesman said on Tuesday. The police have been criticised for some of their actions in connection with the two events and there have been opposition calls for a lower house debate on the force’s handling of Xi Jinping’s visit. Police president Tomáš Tuhý, who on Monday apologised for the police’s investigation of a Tibetan flag at the FAMU film school, attended Tuesday’s ceremony at Prague Castle, as did the minister of the interior, Milan Chovanec. On November 17 police prevented students attending a site where Mr. Zeman later appeared on stage with the group Block Against Islam.
The Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, says the European Union and NATO should prepare for possible changes to migration routes to Europe. Speaking after talks in Prague on Tuesday with Austria’s president, Heinz Fischer, he said the EU should boost security on the sea between Italy and Libya, adding that he could also see NATO playing a role in such operations. Mr. Sobotka said an EU deal with Turkey seemed to be stemming the flow of migrants from there to Greece; though this is good news, fresh routes can be expected, he said.
The sixth instalment in the long-running “Poets” series of films by director Dušan Klein and screenwriter Ladislav Pecháček gets its premiere in Prague on Tuesday night. The first movie in the series, How the World is Losing Poets, was released in 1982; the latest, How Poets Await a Miracle, features several actors – including stars Pavel Kříž and David Matásek – who have appeared throughout the popular comedy series.
ANO and the Social Democrats are almost neck and neck in terms of public support, suggests an opinion poll conducted by the SANEP agency earlier this month. The survey indicated that 21.3 percent of Czechs would now vote for ANO, compared to 20.9 percent for the Social Democrats. ANO, the second party in the governing coalition have consistently lead in the opinion polls over the Social Democrats, who head the government. The SANEP survey put the Communists in third on 14.1 percent support.
The partnership of Škoda Auto and Volkswagen is an example of successful European partnership, the chairman of Volkswagen, Matthias Müller, said on Tuesday. Mr. Müller was speaking at a meeting at the Škoda museum in Mladá Boleslav marking the 25th anniversary of the takeover of the Czech carmaker by the German company. The Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, told the assembled that recent government support for a new industrial zone was proof that Škoda was one of the most important investors and employers in the Czech Republic. In 1991 Škoda produced 170,000 cars a year in Czechoslovakia; in 2015 it produced over half a million at 14 plants on two continents for over 100 markets, Mr. Müller said.
The Social Democrats have until Thursday to pay CZK 377 million to their former lawyer Zdeněk Altner, his lawyer has told the Czech News Agency. Mr. Altner’s representative collected the court ruling on Monday, a move that made the decision effective. The party has lodged an appeal at the Supreme Court but it does not have the right to suspend the matter. The fine chiefly results from interest accumulated over 16 years on a disputed legal fee related to a case involving the Social Democrats’ headquarters in central Prague. The party says they have an annual budget of CZK 200 million.
A convoy of US soldiers is due to cross the Czech Republic on its way from Germany to the Baltic States between May 27 and 30, the Czech minister of defence, Martin Stropnický, said on Tuesday. Mr. Stropnický tweeted that the American troops would this year also take part in join exercises with the Czech Army. Similar US convoys passed through the Czech Republic in March and September last year, with the first receiving a great deal of attention from members of the public.
Ministers in the Czech government failed to agree a position on a proposal by a Communist MP which would alter details of a property settlement between the state and church which was passed by the previous government in 2012 and took effect in 2013. The proposal suggests that funds to be paid out over 30 years – a total of 59 billion crowns plus inflation – to compensate for property which was seized by the former Communist regime and could not later be returned – could be taxed. The junior party in the ruling coalition, the Christian Democrats, slammed the proposal as “populist”. In the cabinet, the bill received support solely from the finance minister, Andrej Babiš. MPs in the lower house will decide the fate of the bill.
Police President Tomáš Tuhý has sent a letter of apology to the dean of FAMU film academy, Pavel Jech, over an incident in which two police officers inspected a Tibetan flag hoisted at the school during the recent visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping. An internal investigation found that the officers had acted inappropriately in the incident, ignoring security instructions pertaining to the high profile visit. The police president put the mistake down to certain “overzealousness”. The officers may face disciplinary measures over the incident.