Czech President Vaclav Klaus talks to Croatian Globus Weekly about the financial crisis (translation into English posted on the website of the Office of the President of the Czech Republic.
Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category
Thousands of people are expected to visit the Vinohrady cemetery in Prague to pay respect to the late president Vaclav Havel. His family’s tomb can be found here, at the second largest Prague cemetery which is also a cultural landmark. According to media reports hundreds of candles had been placed and lit near the tomb even before the Friday funeral which was attended by numerous world leaders, including Nicolas Sarkozy, Bill and Hillary Clinton, David Cameron and others. Havel’s parents and first wife Olga are also buried in the tomb. It is one of fourteen tombs located within a chapel which was built in 1897.
As the coffin of former President Vaclav Havel went on display in Prague where thousands of people have been coming in person, people all over the country keep bringing candles to places which are more or less associated with Havel. On the other hand, there are also places which have nothing to do with him, they have just been picked at random by people who gathered to pay respect to Havel. In Brno, hundreds of candles can be seen on a fountain, in front of a memorial on the central square or in front of a theatre which used to show Havel’s plays.
Where were you when you found out about the death of Vaclav Havel? Havel died in his sleep at his weekend house, following a lengthy period of health problems. Since February he has been cancelling most of his scheduled events and his public appearances were less than sporadic. According to some news reports, he has died of circulatory system failure.
Most Czech personalities comment on Havel’s undeniable contribution to the end of communism. Notable world leaders were quick to respond in their own individual ways, including Barack Obama or the Dalai Lama.
His peaceful resistance shook the foundations of an empire, exposed the emptiness of a repressive ideology, and proved that moral leadership is more powerful than any weapon. (…) He played a seminal role in the Velvet Revolution that won his people their freedom and inspired generations to reach for self-determination and dignity in all parts of the world. — Barack Obama (source: AFP)
A three-day official mourning period will be observed from Wednesday to Friday. A state funeral will take place on Friday. Havel’s family decided to have him cremated. The Czech government is considering the adoption of a special law to recognize his contribution to freedom and democracy.
The truth is that Havel taught Czechs that democracy is a hard work and that it is one of the most important things to be thankful for. Since the Velvet Revolution, Havel has commented on the issue of freedom in less fortunate countries and regions (such as Russia or Tibet), reminding world leaders (with more or fewer attributes of dictatorship) that the 20th century democracy benefits everyone.
He represented civilized politics in the Czech Republic, which is something that we have not seen in this country for a few years. Maybe even from the moment he resigned. Some people called him idealist and said that many of his views had little in common with the way politics is done these days. But according to many Czechs, he was the force that held many politicians back… According to a recent research, 99 percent of Czechs who did not vote in the last elections are disgusted with politics.
There have already been some proposals that the Prague International Airport should be named after Havel.
Karel Schwarzenberg is the first official presidential candidate. During the last weekend’s meeting of his party TOP09 (of which he is the Chairman), he officially accepted the candidacy for both direct or indirect vote, depending on which of the two systems will apply (currently, the president is elected by both chambers of the Parliament).
According to some top officials of the TOP09 party, Schwarzenberg could be an acceptable candidate for both right-wing and left-wing lawmakers, if the future president is indeed elected by the Parliament.
Schwarzenberg is a very unique personality in the Czech politics. First of all, he is a nobleman, his full name being Karl Johannes Nepomuk Josef Norbert Friedrich Antonius Wratislaw Mena Fürst zu Schwarzenberg. He has been perceived as one of the most respected politicians as he has not been involved in dirty party games, corruption and the like. He is known for his honesty (on several occasions, he referred to politicians in general as idiots).
Leader of the opposition Social Democrats, Bohuslav Sobotka, was quoted as saying that Schwarzenberg is “an overripe candidate“. Social Democrats consider having former PM and European Commissioner Vladimir Spidla.
The Czech government shall immediately grab the opportunity and help Czech companies and businesspersons succeed on the Libyan market, the Mlada fronta Dnes daily quotes analysts and experts in international relations as saying.
The foreign trade relations between the former Czechoslovakia and Libya were very close. If, according to experts, Czech businesses succeed in Libya now, they can assume good positions on their respective markets (sure, the earlier pre-1989 relations included the sale of weaponry).
In response to the killing of Qaddafi, Foreign Affairs Minister Karel Schwarzenberg has been very “careful” about acknowledging the new Libyan government, unlike his French or German counterparts. “I cannot acknowledge anyone who does not have the entire country under control,” he said. As for the death of Qaddafi, the minister said (source) “So far it has been a successful revolution, but there is no way of knowing who is going to govern (…)” and added that he will be open to any reforms and
Pre-1989 Czechoslovak technology is still used in Libya frequently and many local businesses (major companies) are still controlled by managers who were involved in these trade relations. In 1978 the communist regime conferred on him The Order of the White Lion.
Photo: (c) Reuters
The Brno bureau of the Czech counterintelligence agency (BIS – http://www.bis.cz/en) is located right next to a Brno Transit Authority terminal which is served by one tram line and seven bus lines. One might find it odd that there is graffiti on the wall and the rear gate often remains open and unguarded for five minutes.
It is no secret that the building is used by BIS, even though there is no bronze sign on the front entrance or a warning do-not-enter sign on the five-foot fence. I interviewed the BIS spokesman for my article in the Metropol biweekly. He told me that the graffiti has been there for years and that it is possible that the vandal did not even know that it is in fact a BIS bureau.
On the other hand, several days ago the rear gate had remained open and unguarded for at least five minutes. Sure, the risk is very small – but it does exist theoretically. And the agency’s role is to pay attention to theoretical risks to the country as well. Its spokesman confirmed they were sure that the agency is still able to fulfill its legal role.
According to my information, due to the public budget cuts which are related to the global financial crisis the agency has been laying people off. In the case of this particular building, it should be about 30 percent of the original number of employees. Naturally, the agency cannot comment (confirm or deny) on the basis of the provisions of the act on the protection of classified information.