News

 

Babiš on Brexit: 'Hard' or 'Soft', rights of Czechs in Britain must be protected

 
photo:  (radio.cz)
 

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš says he believes the EU and United Kingdom will reach an agreement on Brexit next month. But following a meeting with his British counterpart in London on Wednesday, he also underscored concern about how it could affect Czechs living and working in Britain.

 
 

On his one-day working visit to London, Mr Babiš laid a wreath at a memorial by the River Thames to the airmen of the Battle of Britain, in which 88 Czechoslovak pilots fought alongside the RAF. Later, he lunched with London’s mayor, visited the Czech embassy, and attended a concert by the Czech Philharmonic celebrating Czechoslovakia’s founding in 1918.

But the main event was not about the glorious past but a rather the uncertain future of bilateral relations. Topping Mr Babiš’s agenda was a visit to No.10 Downing Street, where he and Theresa May discussed a host of foreign policy concerns, including illegal migration, and the situations in Syria and Saudi Arabia.

Topping the agenda was Britain’s exit from the EU, scheduled for March 2019. The Czech prime minister told journalists he is confident Brussels and London will hammer out a deal, noting that the main stumbling block to Brexit now is the Northern Ireland border issue.

“We hope that by the end of November, the two sides will reach some agreement because I think this is important for everyone. Everyone is a bit nervous about it. I continue to believe that an agreement is possible. Some 95 percent has been agreed, and they are negotiating it intensively.”

The EU rejected London’s previous fix for the Northern Ireland issue as it envisaged only a time-limited emergency border backstop and assumed the entire UK would remain in the EU’s customs area for some time after Brexit.

Mr Babiš acknowledged the Czech Republic must prepare for a possible “no deal” Brexit, saying that in his meeting with Theresa May he underscored concern that the situation of Czechs in the UK not deteriorate because of a ‘hard Brexit’ or a ‘soft’ one.

“We are, of course, considering this possibility, and we have to work to ensure that this threat does not become a reality for our people working in Great Britain.”

Welcoming him to Downing Street for talks, Ms. May said in a statement that she hoped to further strengthen the existing excellent business and trade relations with the Czech Republic, echoing Britain’s preferred option to focus on agreeing close future trade ties with EU member states.

At this month’s EU summit in Salzburg, Mr Babiš said every EU leader favoured a second Brexit referendum and again pleaded for the UK to remain. Baring that, the Czechs hope for a two-year transition period in which to set out the new relationship.

 
Author: Český rozhlas Radio Praha
 
Added: 25.10.2018
 
 
 

Related articles

 
News
 
 

Anti-Babiš protests reach fresh...

An estimated 50,000 people attended the latest, and biggest, in a series of protests against Czech Prime...

 
 
News
 
 

NATO’s biggest long-term future...

Diplomats, military officers and experts gathered at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday to discuss...

 
 
News
 
 

Quo vadis, EU? Czech politicians...

Czechs are marking 15 years as EU members this month. With elections to the European Parliament only days...

 
 
News
 
 

Czech arts minister Staněk quits...

The Czech Republic’s embattled minister of culture, Antonín Staněk, is stepping down. Mr. Staněk had come...

 
Most favourite

History of Czech fine art

What happened in the realm of fine art at the very beginning of the Czech…

Climate

The Czech Republic is a landlocked country located in moderate geographical…

The most significant current discoveries

During the last decade, Czech science has made many revolutionary discoveries…

Czech language

The Czech language belongs to the group of West Slavic languages. From another…

Traditional Czech products

Czech industrial production has a long tradition, and many products are known…

Traditional Czech products

Czech industrial production has a long tradition, and many products are known…

 
 

Facebook recent activity