Around 100 Czech steelworkers took part in a demonstration in Brussels on Wednesday over a European Commission decision about China’s market status. A decision whether to recognise China as a market economy would make protective European measures against cheap Chinese steel imports much more difficult. Chinese imports have been stepped up because of the slowdown of the domestic economy. Czech steel workers say around 15,000 jobs, mostly at steel plants in the east of the country, as well as 45,000 jobs indirectly linked to the plants, are threatened. They also warn that the next steps in EU moves to penalise polluters could seriously damage the continent’s steel sector.
Spokesman for Czech president, Jiří Ovčáček, tweeted that the victory of Donald Trump showed that ordinary Americans could defeat the powerful pseudo elite in the country and the pompous media. He added that he hoped the same could happen in 2018, the date when direct elections for a new Czech president should occur. Current head of state Miloš Zeman has not announced yet whether he will be standing though is widely expected to. Zeman was one of the few world leaders who announced his backing for Trump, announcing back in September for if he was American he would vote for him. Zeman later stressed his agreement with Trump on issues such as immigration and the fight against Islamic terrorism. He added that 98% of the media had been against Trump, but it was not the role of the media to shape public opinion but reflect it. The Czech president said that he was sometimes dubbed the ‘Czech Donald Trump’ and in this case he regarded it not as an insult but as a compliment.
The Czech tourism sector has enjoyed a bumper season in the first nine months of the year with 14.6 million tourists staying in accommodation. That is the highest total since 2000 and 7.1 percent above the total during the same period in 2015. Many more Czechs visited sites at home with stays up by just over half a million at 7.4 million. The number of foreign visitors climbed by 419,000 to 7.1 million. Germans counted for 1.4 million of those visitors. There were strong rises as well in the number of visitors from China, Taiwan, and South Korea.
Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka congratulated Donald Trump on his win and said he counted on the US continuing being a reliable partner and ally. He added though that the Trump campaign had been characterised by aggressive populism and an appeal to protest voters. The Czech prime minister said that uniting the US might be difficult after the recent campaign. Sobotka said that Trump, unlike some predecessors, should know where the Czech Republic is, a reference to his Czech-born former wife Ivana. Czech interior minister Milan Chovanec suggested that a visit to the Czech Republic by Donald Trump could be a possibility given the family connection.
Czech inflation speeded up in October to 0.8 percent year-on-year from September’s 0.5 percent. Among the main factors for the rise were more expensive clothes and shoes and also alcoholic beverages. On the other hand, the increased prices for petrol and other fuel, which in September exceeded 7.0 percent, fell back to just over 3.0 percent in October. The Czech National Bank has a target inflation rate of 2.0 percent which it needs to approach before it can safely drop its current ‘low crown’ policy.
The US ambassador to the Czech Republic, Andrew Schapiro, said Wednesday that he is confident that the new Trump administration will not weaken the North Atlantic alliance which protected all its members. The US needed a strong Europe and nothing should change with regard to that, he added. Czech-US relations were exceptionally close and stronger than ever and should not be weakened, he added. Schapiro added that the Democrats had been in power for two terms under Barack Obama and its was exceptionally difficult for the same party to win three terms in a row, he said. Trump attracted support
Czech European Commissioner Věra Jourová expressed the hope that president elect Donald Trump would be a responsible president and that some of his inflammatory comments during the campaign about minorities and offensive remarks about women would be left behind. She added that she hoped Trump would not look for ‘easy solutions’ to problems. Jourová, the Commissioner for Justice, said the chances of a wide ranging trade deal between the EU and US were much reduced given the fact that Trump had expressed misgivings about the so-called TTIP deal while it had been pushed by the current Democrat presidency and backed by Hillary Clinton.
US president-elect Donald Trump will deliver new political perspectives, says the Czech minister of foreign affairs, Lubomír Zaorálek. In a statement to the Czech News Agency, Mr. Zaorálek said Mr. Trump would begion a new stage in Czech-US relations and continue the partnership and alliance between the two states. With regard to the US’s relationship with NATO, the Czech foreign policy chief told Czech Television that the post-election reality would be different from Mr. Trump’s pronouncements during his campaign. The American president-elect said in July that NATO’s principle that an attack on one is an attack on all would be conditional on all members paying “their fair share”.
The opposition TOP 09 party and Mayors and Independents group are to cease working together from the end of this year, when an agreement between them runs out. The news was announced by TOP 09 chairman Miroslav Kalousek and Petr Gazdík of the Mayors and Independents on Tuesday night. The two parties currently have joint parliamentary groups in the Chamber of Deputies and Senate. TOP 09 want Mr. Gazdík to step down as deputy chairman of the lower house. He said he would do so if both sides managed to settle their mutual obligations.