Czech Republic Report


Main Actors

The actors involved in WGA-like activities in the Czech Republic vary depending upon the nature of the issue demanding their attention. For example, in the case of foreign policy coordination, the main source of information on the conflict regions is the respective territorial department. The department collects information from the embassies, international organisations, other ministries, civil administration actors and NGOs.
If action is required, it may occur in two kinds of situations. First, if a conflict or crisis is about to be discussed in an international organisation (e.g. the EU, NATO, the OSCE or the UN), a national position is prepared (or, more often, merely updated). The position is drafted by the department and is discussed in the ministerial collegium comprising the minister and all deputy ministers, and then it is forwarded to the inter-ministerial level.
On the other hand, if the issue is security-related, it is usually also discussed on the National Security Council or its Committee on Coordination of Foreign and Security Policy. This committee is chaired by the deputy minister of foreign affairs and comprises the deputy ministers from various ministries, the directors of the intelligence services, and directors of other institutions. While it has 20 members, the National Security Council chaired by the prime minister has only nine members: the minister of the interior (serving as deputy chairman) as well as the ministers of defence, foreign affairs, finance, industry and trade, transport, health and agriculture. The president may also attend NSC meetings.
If the issue is one that will be discussed in the Council of the EU or the European Council, it is part of the European policy coordination mechanism. In this case, the draft position is first debated in the inter-ministerial working group, which brings together all relevant ministries represented (usually on the level of department directors). Second, the issue is discussed on the Committee for the European Union on the Working Level, which is presided over by the state secretary for European affairs and includes deputy ministers responsible for the EU agenda. The final national position is adopted on the Committee for the European Union, which is chaired by the prime minister and mirrors the composition of the government.
Any ministry may also suggest its own activity, such as delivering special humanitarian aid or development assistance. Since these cases usually have budgetary implications, they must be discussed on the governmental level. The government has to adopt a decision that tasks individual ministries and usually dedicates extra financial resources for the initiative.
If a crisis-management effort is launched, the Central Crisis Staff (CCS) is formed. The CCS has 16 members, comprising representatives of several ministries and other authorities (e.g. the General Staff, the fire rescue service and the police). All institutions involved in the crisis-management effort have clear instructions to be followed depending on the specific type of crisis situation.
The Czech Republic’s specific initiative regarding the Sahel has brought together three ministries: those of Foreign Affairs, Defence and the Interior. The MFA serves as the de facto coordinator, as the standard mechanism for foreign policy coordination is applied in this case. Moreover, it is responsible for humanitarian aid and development assistance, and it was also tasked with opening a new embassy in the region. The MoD is part of the initiative because Czech troops have participated in the EU Training Mission in Mali (EUTM Mali) and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (UN MINUSMA). The MoI provides civilian experts and has incorporated the region into the national Medical Humanitarian Programme (MEDEVAC). Coordination is done on the level of department directors and is generally less formal. The drafting of a new initiative, which is supposed to follow on the strategy adopted in 2018, has been done in a small team comprising MFA, MoD and MoI officials. However, since they were tasked with preparing a new initiative by the prime minister and since there are budgetary implications, the new strategy has to be formally adopted by the government and the respective governmental decision must be issued.
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