The Czech Republic is in the
middle of Europe's intersection between old trade routes
from east to west and from north to south. After four
decades of communist rule, the Czech
Republic developed into one of the strongest economies
in the former Eastern bloc and is now a member of both
NATO and the EU.
Brief profiles of Czech Republic, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
The Czech Republic is
located in the middle of Europe at the intersection of
old trade routes from west to east and from south to
north. The country is then divided into three parts,
Bohemia in the west, Moravia in the east and Silesia
northeast of the Moravia.
Bohemia, which corresponds to two thirds of the land
surface, is dominated by a hilly plateau, which is
intersected by numerous valleys with larger rivers such
as Labe (Elbe) and its tributary Vltava (Moldova). The
latter flows from the southern part of Bohemia and north
through the capital Prague. Bohemia is framed by low
wooded mountain ranges in the northwest and southwest (Krušné
hory and Šumava, respectively) along the border with
Germany. In the northeast, the higher mountains Krkonoše
Hory, which is part of the Sudety, form a border with
Poland. The Moravia is divided by the Morava River.
Western Moravia is mainly a lowland with fertile plains,
while the landscape of eastern Moravia and Silesia is
The Czech Republic has an inland climate with cold
and dry winters and hot and humid summers. It rains most
between April and September.
In recent years, the country has on several occasions
been hit by severe flooding and also by a series of
persistent heat waves.
78,900 km2 (2018)
Adjacent country (s)
Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Austria
Capital with number of inhabitants
Prague 1,200,000 (Census 2011)
Other major cities
Brno 379 000, Ostrava 300 000, Plzen (Pilsen) 167
000, (census 2011)
Sněžka (in the Sudets, 1603 m asl)
Lab, Vltava (Moldova), Morava
Zeman creates new controversy on the refugee issue
In his Christmas to the nation, President Zeman describes the flow of
refugees to Europe as "an organized invasion". He claims to be convinced that
this is not a spontaneous escape from countries such as Syria and Iraq, and says
that the young, healthy men who, according to him, make up a large majority of
the refugees should stay in their home countries and fight with arms in hand
against Islamic State. Prime Minister Sobotka is once again in defense, accusing
the president of prejudice and simplification of facts.
Anti-Muslim statements create high-level conflict
Prime Minister Sobotka strongly criticizes President Zeman in a newspaper
interview. He says the president should stay too good to openly support
anti-Muslim organizations, spread Islamophobic statements and oppose the Czech
Republic receiving refugees from the Middle East. Zeman has previously been
criticized by the UN Commissioner for Human Rights for his negative statements
about Muslims. The president comments that the prime minister does not know what
he is talking about.
Criticism of Czech refugee policy
The UN's director of humanitarian affairs, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, has been
harshly criticizing the Czech authorities for how they treat refugees. He writes
in a report that the government has a conscious and systematic strategy to treat
refugees so badly that others should be discouraged from trying to enter the
Czech Republic. Refugees are routinely locked in for 40 days, often up to 90
days, and the conditions in the facilities are described as severe, worse than
in prisons. According to al-Hussein, President Zeman undermines the contempt for
refugees through repeated Islamophobic statements.
A few days later, thousands of people take part in hostile demonstrations in
Prague and other cities.
Sobotka negative to EU refugee quotas
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka says he dislikes the refugee reception quotas
that have been enforced by a majority of EU interior ministers, but that the
Czech Republic does not intend to appeal the decision. "I don't want to step up
the tension by going to court. Europe must not be shattered by the refugee
crisis," he says.
Proposals to limit the president's power
The government is proposing a constitutional amendment that would limit the
president's power in foreign policy and the right to appoint members of the
central bank. The incumbent President Zeman finds the proposal "absurd". At
least three-fifths of the members of Parliament's two chambers must support the
proposal for it to pass, which means that the government needs to bring in some
A new defense register is proposed
The government plans to establish a register for persons who can be called
into military service in crisis situations. Prime Minister Sobotka says the
register is created as a security measure and should not be seen as
reintroducing the general military duty. The register, which is due to enter
into force in 2017, must be approved by both chambers of Parliament and signed
by the president.
Conflict over Russia's policy
President Zeman says that the US ambassador is not welcome to the Prague
Castle since he made a critical statement about Zeman's decision to participate
in the celebration in Moscow of the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second
World War. Most other heads of state and government in the EU boycott the
Russian celebration because of Russia's actions in Ukraine. The next day, Prime
Minister Sobotka criticizes the president for being diplomatically
"unprofessional". Sobotka says it is of the utmost importance for the security
of the Czech Republic to end up behind NATO and the EU. Zeman, to a certain
extent, succumbs to the criticism by agreeing not to attend the traditional
military parade in Moscow.