Czech Republic

Czech interim government's fate uncertain, EU presidency at stake

Czech interim government's fate uncertain, EU presidency at stake Prague - The fate of Czech Republic's interim government, due to take the helm of the European Union and bring the country to October early elections, appeared uncertain Tuesday after two small parties refused to participate.

Two junior partners in Mirek Topolanek's outgoing ruling coalition, the Christian Democrats and the Greens, balked late Monday at a deal their leaders forged with the two biggest parties and bitter rivals, Topolanek's Civic Democrats and the opposition Social Democrats led by Jiri Paroubek.

Czech president satisfied with interim government deal

Czech president satisfied with interim government deal Prague - Czech President Vaclav Klaus said Monday that he is happy with a deal among rival political parties on a caretaker government led by statistician Jan Fischer that would complete the Czech Republic's presidency of the European Union ending June 30.

Klaus, who is to appoint the next premier, said in a Radio Cesko interview that he is "in principle" satisfied with the deal on the interim technocrat cabinet that would take the country to early elections before October 15.

Vondra: EU not ready to accept Eastern Partnership countries

Alexandr VondraPrague - The European Union would not be ready any time soon to accept into its ranks the six former Soviet countries that the 27- member bloc hopes to bring closer through its Eastern Partnership initiative, an EU official said Monday.

"Let's understand that the European Union is not ready to accept a single one of those six countries into its ranks," said outgoing Czech Vice-Premier for European Affairs Alexandr Vondra, whose country chairs the EU until June 30.

Czech party leaders agree on new premier, early election timing

Czech party leaders agree on new premier, early election timingPrague - Czech rival party leaders agreed Sunday on a new caretaker premier, Czech Statistics Office chief Jan Fischer, whose interim government would complete the country's presidency of the European Union, local reports said, citing party leaders.

The Czech Republic holds the EU's six-month rotating presidency until June 30.

Fischer, 58, would be a newcomer to the world of top-level politics, following a statistics career mostly in public sector and academia.

Obama to face pressure on global change

United States and European Union Prague  - US President Barak Obama is likely to face pressure from Washington's European Union (EU) allies at an US-EU summit in Prague to draw up concrete measures to combat global warming.

After delivering a speech in central Prague calling for world action to face up to the threat posed by nuclear proliferation, Obama was meeting with the heads of the
27-member EU.

Speaking ahead of the US-EU summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the EU expected Obama to present concrete steps aimed at dealing with climate change.

EXTRA: EU condemns North Korean rocket launch

EU condemns North Korean rocket launchPrague  - The European Union (EU) joined the international community Sunday in strongly condemning North Korea's launch of a long-range rocket.

A statement issued by the Czech government, which currently holds the EU's sixth-month rotating presidency, said the North Korean action placed additional strains on regional stability and was contrary to United Nations resolutions.

"These actions place additional strains on regional stability at a time when the unresolved nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula requires mutual confidence building," the EU said.