Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas has warned his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper that obstacles to a pending Canada-EU economic and trade deal are on the cards from Prague if Ottawa doesn’t life its visa requirement on Czechs visiting the country.
Belarusian authorities want Interpol to assist in the arrest of former opposition presidential candidate Ales Mikhalevich, who was granted political asylum in the Czech Republic in March after feeling his homeland in fear of prosecution in connection with the December 19, 2010 post-election protests in Minsk.
MEPs have adopted a declaration criticizing Canada’s 2009 renewal of visas for Czechs and wants the EU to put more pressure on Ottawa to reverse the decision. Czech MEPs Zuzana Roithová (KDU-ČSL) and Miroslav Ouzký (ODS) authored the text. Canada unilaterally renewed the visa obligation in the summer of 2009 due to a steep rise in Czech asylum-seekers, mainly from the Roma minority.
European governments have tried to build a single border, a compensatory system of cooperation between police, judges and immigration officers and a common refugee policy. But as the CER’s Hugo Brady writes, hardening attitudes toward immigration and widening policy disagreements between governments and the EU’s institutions are exposing fault-lines in this structure. And the cracks threaten to widen.
At first glance, the Czech Republic’s decision to grant a visa to Bohdan Danylyshyn, the former economy minister of Ukraine who faces charges of abuse of power in negotiating state contracts, could been seen damaging bilateral relations. But will it set a legal precedent? Or will realpolitik win out again?
Lawyers proved a bit reluctant to take definite sides when asked if the Czech Republic should have granted asylum to Bohdan Danylyshyn, a former Ukrainian economy minister charged with abusing his position. Some lawyers, however, pointed out that the move could hurt bilateral relations, while others thought Danylyshyn might not get fair treatment at home.