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Czech Republic

Yearbook 2015

Czech Republic. According to COUNTRYAAH, President Miloš Zeman declared in April that the door to his residence at the Prague Castle was closed to the US ambassador, who criticized Zeman for wanting to participate in Moscow's celebration of the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. Most other European leaders boycotted the ceremony because of the Russian military adventure in Ukraine.

2015 Czech Republic

The outspoken Zeman had also criticized EU and Czech sanctions against Moscow. Zeman in turn received criticism from Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, who felt that the Czech Republic must stand united with NATO and the EU against the Kremlin.

Zeman traveled to Moscow in May but refrained from the military parade on Red Square. He met President Vladimir Putin, who praised Zeman. Back in Prague, Zeman was met by harsh criticism from the press and from politicians who accused him of bowing to a dictator threatening Ukraine's sovereignty.

In June, the government presented a proposal for a constitutional amendment, which would reduce the president's influence over foreign policy and authority in appointments. Zeman reacted to the proposal and described it as absurd.

When in September the EU wanted to introduce mandatory refugee reception quotas, the Czech Republic together with Slovakia and Hungary said no. However, the government was not prepared, like Slovakia, to challenge the EU decision in court. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said that the Czech Republic treats refugees abusive and violates human rights in what has been described as an attempt to deter asylum seekers. In addition, President Zeman was accused of Islamophobic statements, something the presidential office rejected.

On the Czech National Day in October, thousands of people in several cities went into xenophobic demonstrations. In Prague, riot police took action to separate the hostile protesters from hundreds of counter-protesters. Among the speakers were the founder of the German anti-Islamic movement Pegida.

In November, an open quarrel broke out between Prime Minister Sobotka and President Zeman on the refugee issue. Zeman described the migrant wave as an organized invasion of hidden terrorists and said that Sobotka's attitude threatened the security of the Czech Republic. Sobotka said the threat did not come from refugees, who needed help, and he accused Zeman of collaborating with populists who exploit the fear of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist movement. Zeman had held a speech standing next to an extreme anti-Islamist, who wrote on Facebook that Muslims should be put in concentration camps and ground for minced meat. Zeman said he was not aware of the statement, which later led to suspicion of anger against people.

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