Russia’s war on Ukraine will shape the Czech EU presidency

Jun 15, 2022, 12:37 PM | Updated: 12:56 pm
Czech Republic's Prime Minister Petr Fiala holds a speech at the Parliament in Prague, Czech Republ...

Czech Republic's Prime Minister Petr Fiala holds a speech at the Parliament in Prague, Czech Republic, Wednesday, June 15, 2022. The Russian military aggression against Ukraine and what Europe has to do to cope with the shockwaves it has caused have become the key task for the forthcoming Czech Republic's presidency of the 27-nation bloc. "Europe and the whole world have been undergoing an essential change," Prime Minister Petr Fiala said on Wednesday when he introduced his country's priorities to reporters. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

(AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

PRAGUE (AP) — Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and what Europe must do to counter the consequences of that have become the key task for the Czech Republic’s upcoming presidency of the 27-nation European Union.

The Czech Republic’s motto for the six-month presidency, which it takes over from France on July 1, is “Europe as a Task: rethink, rebuild, repower,” based on a 1996 speech by the late Czech President Vaclav Havel.

“Europe and the whole world have been undergoing a crucial change,” Prime Minister Petr Fiala said Wednesday as he introduced his country’s priorities. “The Russian invasion have shaken many our certainties.”

The country has pledged to use the rotating presidency of the Council, which sets and moderates the EU’s political agenda, to help Ukraine in all possible ways. The Czechs are among Eastern European countries that warmly support speeding up Ukraine’s EU membership bid.

“We have two concrete goals,” Fiala told the Czech Parliament. “The first one is to grant Ukraine a candidacy status as soon as possible … and the second one is our support for the toughest possible sanctions against Russia.”

More than 7.5 million people have fled Ukraine since Russian troops invaded on Feb. 24 and another 8 million are displaced within the country, the U.N. refugee agency says. This has created the biggest refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.

The Czech presidency will work together with the European Commission, the EU’s executive body, to provide assistance to nations most affect by the influx of Ukrainians, including Poland, Romania and Hungary. Over 375,000 Ukrainians, mostly women and children, have registered in the Czech Republic to receive a special long-term visas that give them access to jobs and health care.

Looking ahead, the Czech’s ultimate hope is to host a summit in Prague of European leaders on Ukraine’s post-war reconstruction with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attending in person. That is not happening anytime soon, with fierce fighting raging along a front line that Zelenskyy says is now 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) long.

In another key item, the Czechs want the EU to “drastically reduce its dependence on hostile or unstable regimes.” That goal sets up a potential clash with European heavyweights such as Germany and Italy who are much more dependent than other EU nations on Russian energy imports, especially natural gas.

The Czech Republic, like France, is heavily dependent on nuclear power and is planning to build more nuclear reactors to “ensure the EU’s energy security and meet the EU’s climate goals.” Another Czech goal, the promotion of voluntary joint purchases of gas, might be more suitable for reaching a compromise among the EU nations.

Russia’s Gazprom announced a reduction in natural gas flows through a key European pipeline for the second day in a row Wednesday, creating further energy turmoil for Europe.

The Czechs also want to reinforce Europe’s defense capabilities, in cooperation with NATO, on the fight against disinformation and on cybersecurity.

Bringing down high inflation and boosting the resilience of the European economy also feature among the Czech priorities. Inflation in the eurozone soared to 8.1% in May and jumped to 16% in the Czech Republic, which doesn’t use the euro currency shared by 19 EU nations.

Fiala said such inflation “is a direct consequence of Putin’s war against the Western world.”


Follow all AP stories on the war in Ukraine at


Samuel Petrequin in Brussels contributed.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Poisonous bite leads German police to farm with 110 snakes

BERLIN (AP) — Police in Germany said Sunday they discovered more than 110 dangerous snakes on a farm after a woman who lived there sought medical treatment for a poisonous bite. The 35-year-old woman drove to a hospital in Salzgitter, near Hannover, early Sunday and told doctors there that one of her rattlesnakes bit her […]
14 hours ago
Associated Press

Average US gasoline price drops 4 cents to $5.05 per gallon

CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) — The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline fell by 4 cents per gallon in the past two weeks to $5.05 for regular grade, it was reported Sunday. It was the first drop in nine weeks and came with a drop in oil prices amid deepening global inflation fears, industry analyst Trilby […]
14 hours ago
FILE - Bosnian Serb member of the tripartite Presidency of Bosnia Milorad Dodik watches military ex...
Associated Press

Bosnian Serb leader prays for Trump’s return, praises Putin

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — The leader of Bosnia’s Serbs said Sunday he hoped former U.S. President Donald Trump would return to power and that the Serbs would “wait for appropriate global circumstances” to reach for their goal of seceding from Bosnia, which he called an “unsustainable state.” Milorad Dodik, who was a rare European official […]
14 hours ago
FILE - Wallace Reid purchases fuel for the vehicle he drives to make a living using ride-share apps...
Associated Press

Greedflation: Is price-gouging helping fuel high inflation?

Most economists say corporate price gouging is, at most, one of many causes of runaway inflation — and not the primary one.
14 hours ago
Associated Press

Kenzo designer dazzles Paris with color, preppy styles

PARIS (AP) — Kenzo’s designer, Nigo, found his groove for his sophomore collection at the LVMH-owned house, drawing vibrant parallels with house founder Kenzo Takada. Nigo has made history as the first Japanese designer to front the house since Takada, who died in 2020. But beyond the fashion, Nigo — who has made high profile […]
14 hours ago
Associated Press

Tie in Alabama GOP race means winner to be selected by lot

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama’s Republican Party has declared a tie in the primary race for a state Senate seat and says the winner will be chosen by lot. A state party news release says the party’s Candidate Committee held a hearing Saturday and said the District 27 primary race between Auburn City Councilman Jay […]
14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
Christina O’Haver

BE FAST to spot a stroke

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
Canvas Annuity

The secret to guaranteed retirement income

Annuities aren’t really a secret, but they are so misunderstood that they might as well be. Once you understand what an annuity is and how it can benefit you, you could decide this “secret” is the perfect supplement to your retirement plan.
Russia’s war on Ukraine will shape the Czech EU presidency