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Czech Report Czech Report
by Euro Reporter
2008-03-16 09:03:56
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ČR should agree on base with Bush administration

It would be advantageous for the Czech Republic to reach an agreement on the stationing of a U.S. radar base on Czech soil with the current U.S. administration, Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Alexandr Vondra told the reporters. The Czechs are able to achieve a better result with the administration of U.S. President George Bush that "has politically invested a lot" in the project, Vondra (senior ruling Civic Democrats, ODS) said without elaborating.

"I would not be advantageous for the Czech Republic to wait for a new U.S. administration," he added. He, however, said he thinks that the next U.S. government would continue in the missile defense project. Vondra hinted at the presidential election in the United States where a Democratic Party candidate has a better chance to win and replace the Republicans in the White House after eight years. The United States plans to build the radar base at the Brdy military district, some 90km southwest of Prague, along with a base with ten defense missiles in Poland as elements of the missile defense shield that is to protect a big part of Europe and the United States against missiles that "rogue" countries like Iran might launch.

The Czech centre-right government of the ODS, the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) and the Greens (SZ) started to negotiate about the U.S. radar base last year. The Czech and U.S. negotiators completed another round of bilateral talks on the treaty defining the conditions for the building of the radar base last week. It seems that the Czechs will sign the treaty with the United States to enable the building of a U.S. base earlier than Poland.

Leaving one pact to tie with another. How odd things have become with the former communist countries, they struggle to get out of the Warsaw Pact just to fall into the arms of NATO and that, of course, while George W. Bush is the president of the USA, but elections are coming and most likely the administration will change and Democrats will replace the Republicans and then …what?


Russian mafias at war in Prague

Russian-speaking criminal gangs have settled their accounts in the streets of Prague's centre at least three times since November 2007. Two unknown gunmen opened fire in the afternoon in Parizska Street near the Old Town Square, injuring two Russian-speaking men and driving away. Both injured men are in hospital and guarded by police, the paper writes. Jan Subert, spokesman for the BIS counter-intelligence, said the incident seemed to be part of "a continuing war between Caucasian groups, and the Armenian and Chechen mafias."

The shooting probably ended the truce the two groups called late last year. On November 13, 2007, a Russian-speaking man was stabbed at Wenceslas square in the city's centre. Two weeks later, a driver died in a gunman's attack in the neighboring district of Vinohrady. The police say the hired shooter was supposed to kill a different man, a Russian mafia boss, but made a mistake. The driver was killed because he drove the same type of car, a luxurious Bentley limousine. Police later revealed that both attacks were probably performed by one and the same person, a Chechen man.

Subert told the paper that peace between mafia gangs never lasted long. As for similar incidents, Prague was no exception among European cities where mafias from the East settled, he said.


Slum-like conditions for evicted Roma families

Roma families evicted from Vsetín two years ago are living in tumble-down and damp houses that nobody comes to repair. So they decided not to pay rent anymore. "I won't be paying for this shanty anymore," claimed Eva Žigová in a room that has been flooded in January. "Nobody came to repair it; I have stopped sending my rent in November. Let a distrainer come here, I don't care; let Čunek inhabit the house," she said.

Jiří Čunek was a mayor of Vsetín who decided to have local Roma families evicted. He became the Minister of Regional Development, but he quit after numerous scandals. Currently, his re-appointment to the post is being discussed.

At the same time, unfortunately Roma families have to live on the edge of the society.

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Emanuel Paparella2008-03-16 14:37:35
Indeed, the Roma community withing the EU is a reminder that Andrew William's book
EU Human Rights Policies: a Study in Irony (Oxford University Press, 1994)has not become irrelevant just yet.

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