Foreign policy and defense
After the Velvet Revolution in 1989,
Czechoslovakia wanted to integrate with Western Europe
as quickly as possible. The same was true of the new
state, the Czech Republic, which was formed in 1993,
since the federation with Slovakia had dissolved. The
Czech Republic became a member of the NATO Alliance in
1999 and five years later joined the EU. Since 2007, the
Czech Republic is also part of the EU passport Schengen.
The first cooperation agreement with the EU's
predecessor EC was signed in 1991. However, the country
has from time to time been a contradictory member (see
Modern history). There is concern that more decisions
will be made at EU level in the future. By the UK's
decision to leave the EU, the Czech Republic is losing
an ally in its attempts to curb such a development. Many
Czechs are worried that the UK exit will strengthen
Germany's position and that it may jeopardize all EU
Overview of business holidays and various national observances in Czech Republic for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025.
As the Czech Republic joined the EU, the country
pledged to join the euro. But both President Zeman and
Finance Minister Babiš have advocated that a referendum
be held on joining the euro zone, something that most
Czechs are likely to vote against, given the state of
Through the membership of the regional cooperation
body Visegrad Group (which includes Poland, Slovakia and
Hungary), the Czech Republic has also pressed on to
reduce Brussels' power and return some decisions to the
Member States. The Visegrad countries also advocated a
hard line during the refugee crisis in 2015.
The Czech Republic has also criticized Russia's
actions in Ukraine, not least the annexation of Crimea
in the spring of 2014. The government supported the EU's
decision to impose sanctions on Russia, but questioned
whether they would have any effect on Russian policy.
Cooperation with Slovakia sparked some in the 1990s,
but the two countries have good relations today.
Between the Czech Republic and Germany there are
disputes from the time around the Second World War. This
applies to damages for Czechs who fell victim during the
Nazis' occupation and claims for compensation for
property seized by the Czechoslovak state from Sudanese
after the war (see Modern History). In 1997, the
countries signed a disputed declaration of
reconciliation and deplored the abuses committed.
However, it contained no settlement of damages. In 2005,
the Czech government officially apologized to the
anti-Nazi Sudanese persecuted and deported to Germany
after the Second World War.
Relations with Germany, Hungary and Austria
deteriorated in 2002 when the three countries demanded
that the so-called Benešec Decree (see Modern History)
adopted after World War II be abolished before the Czech
Republic was allowed to become an EU member. Among other
things, the decree guarantees impunity for abuse in
connection with the expulsion of up to three million
Germans and about 30,000 Hungarians after the war. The
EU succeeded in rejecting the claim, but the problem
remained and came to delay the EU Lisbon Treaty in 2009.
In 1949, the Czech Republic became the third country
to recognize the People's Republic of China. During
Václav Havel's time as president, contacts between the
countries cooled down, not least because Havel was a
personal friend of the Tibetan leader Dalai Lama. In
recent years, the Czech Republic has again approached
China, among others in the hope that trade between the
countries will increase.
The Czech Republic works closely with the United
States. In 2008, an agreement was reached that an
American radar base would be built on Czech soil, but
after the plans were changed, the Czech Republic opted
to withdraw from 2011 because it was considered too
small for the country. When Prime Minister Sobotka
visited the United States in the spring of 2016, it was
a sign that he wanted to strengthen relations with the
United States and NATO. In the fall of 2016, President
Zeman welcomed the election of Donald Trump as US
Liechtenstein's then princely family also got
property confiscated after the Second World War, through
the Beneš Decree. In protest against this, the
Principality refused to approve the Czech Republic as a
sovereign state after the split. In 2009, however,
Liechtenstein agreed to resume diplomatic relations with
the Czech Republic.
Relations with Austria have been complicated by
protests against the Czech nuclear power plant Temelín
near the Austrian border.
Canada reintroduced visa enforcement for Czechs in
2009. The reason was that, for two years when the visa
requirement was abolished, it has received thousands of
asylum applications from Czech citizens, most Roma.
According to the European Commission, it was Canada's
fault to treat an EU country this way and it appealed to
Canada to allow the Czechs to enter the country again
freely. The visa requirement was lifted in 2013.
Since 2005, the country has a purely professional
army. Czech soldiers participate in peacekeeping
missions in the Balkans and in Mali. In early 2017, the
Czech Republic also participated in operations in Iraq
(including a field hospital) as well as in the NATO-led
Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, whose purpose
is to train, advise and otherwise assist Afghan forces.
As a member of NATO, the Czech Republic participates
in and monitors the airspace of the Baltic countries
that lack their own air force. In 2014, the Czech
Republic spent about 1 percent of GDP on defense.
However, the government parties have agreed that it will
increase to 1.4 percent by 2020.
The Czech Republic contributes troops to the EU rapid
response forces and together with Poland, Slovakia and
Hungary form the Visegrad Battlegroup. The country has
also promised to send soldiers to Estonia and Lithuania
as part of NATO's strengthening of the defense of the
FACTS - DEFENSE
12 250 men (2017)
The air Force
5 850 men (2017)
Military expenditure's share of GDP
1.1 percent (2017)
Military spending's share of the state budget
2.6 percent (2017)