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EU diplomacy head cancels visit to Prague, probably because of President's remarks

20.11.2015 16:48
Federica Mogherini (PHOTO: eeas.europa.eu)
Federica Mogherini (PHOTO: eeas.europa.eu)

The head of EU diplomacy, Federica Mogherini, cancelled a visit to Prague yesterday, probably because some Czech politicians are automatically connecting Islam and refugees with terrorism without differentiation. Czech Radio reported the decision with reference to a highly-placed EU source.

Mogherini was scheduled to meet with President Zeman and other officials. The official reason given for postponing her visit was that Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD) has injured his leg.

According to the EU source, Czech Radio reports that the overall atmosphere in the Czech Republic "is not conducive to holding a debate about foreign policy". That atmosphere has played a role in cancelling the visit, as did the Foreign Minister being indisposed, especially since Mogherini was scheduled to meet with Zeman, the source said.

On Tuesday, 17 November, the anniversary of the events of 1939 and 1989, Zeman made an appearance at Albertov in Prague during an event convened by the organization Bloc against Islam, which called for the absolute removal of Muslims from the Czech Republic, a ban on Islam, and took a negative position on refugees, rejecting the notion of receiving them. The President said at the event that those who hold a different opinion on the migration crisis should not be "labeled" Fascists, Islamophobes or racists.

Czech Minister for Human Rights and Legislation Jiří Dienstbier (ČSSD) responded by saying that Zeman's appearance at Albertov has supported "hate groups in society" and aided the creation of an atmosphere for the Fascisization of Czech society. Czech Radio reported that the Foreign Minister had injured his leg on the weekend and his office sent a reminder to journalists on Wednesday afternoon inviting them to the scheduled visit with Mogherini.

The Czech Foreign Ministry did not announce the postponement of Mogherini's trip until Wednesday evening. The Czech Foreign Minister will meet with the Tunisian Foreign Minister on Friday.

Zeman recently spoke, for example, about the risk of Islamic sharia law being introduced in the Czech Republic and has claimed that most refugees do not deserve sympathy. His remarks in October were criticized by, among others, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who called them xenophobic.

According to Dienstbier, the President is The head of EU diplomacy, Federica Mogherini, cancelled a visit to Prague today, probably because some Czech politicians are automatically connecting Islam and refugees with terrorism without differentiation. Czech Radio reported the decision with reference to a highly-placed EU source.  

Mogherini was scheduled to meet with President Zeman. The official reason given for postponing her visit is that Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD) has injured his leg. 


According to the EU source, Czech Radio reports that the overall atmosphere in the Czech Republic "is not conducive to holding a debate about foreign policy". That atmosphere has played a role in cancelling the visit, as did the Foreign Minister being indisposed, especially singe Mogherini was scheduled to meet with Zeman, the source said.  


On Tuesday, 17 November, the anniversary of the events of 1939 and 1989, Zeman made an appearance at Albertov in Prague during an event convened by the organization Bloc against Islam, which called for the absolute removal of Muslims from the Czech Republic, a ban on Islam, took a negative position on refugees and refused to receive them. The President said at the event that who are of different opinions on the migration crisis should not be "labeled" Fascists, Islamophobes or racists.  


Czech Minister for Human Rights and Legislation Jiří Dienstbier (ČSSD) responded by saying that Zeman's appearance at Albertov supported "hate groups in society" and aided the creation of an atmosphere for the Fascisization of Czech society. Czech Radio reported that the Foreign Minister had injured his leg on the weekend and his office sent a reminder to journalists on Wednesday afternoon inviting them to the scheduled visit with Mogherini. 


The Czech Foreign Ministry did not announce the postponement of Mogherini's trip until Wednesday evening. The Czech Foreign Minister will meet with the Tunisian Foreign Minister on Friday.


Zeman recently spoke, for example, about the risk of introducing Islamic sharia law in the Czech Republic or has claimed that most refugees do not deserve sympathy. His remarks in October were criticized by, among others, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who called them xenophobia.

According to Dienstbier, the President's positions and words are aiding in building up fear instead of his attempting to be a moderator calming the situation and seeking common solutions with others. Mogherini is the Vice-President of the European Commission in addition to being its High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy; she was originally also scheduled to meet in Prague with Czech PM Bohuslav Sobotka (ČSSD) and Czech Defense Minister Martin Stropnický (ANO).

Migration and terrorism were to have been among the topics of their conversation. Mogherini was also scheduled to discuss the planned EU security strategy in the afternoon at a public debate co-organized by Charles University. 

ČTK, , translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Islamofobie, refugee



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