Czech Republic–United Kingdom relations

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British-Czech relations
Map indicating locations of Czech Republic and United Kingdom

Czech Republic

United Kingdom
Diplomatic Mission
Czech Republic Embassy, London British Embassy, Prague
Envoy
Ambassador Miroslav Škaloud Ambassador Jan Thompson

Czech Republic-United Kingdom relations are foreign relations between the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom. The Czech Republic has an embassy in London and 3 honorary consulates (in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Newtownards). The United Kingdom has an embassy in Prague.

Both states are members of the European Union and NATO.

History[edit]

The United Kingdom and the Czech Republic have historically had lukewarm, although not hostile, relations largely due to Britain's lack of involvement in continental Europe beyond France and Czechoslovakia being caught in between the mostly capitalist Allied countries and the Soviet Union.[1] Initially the two nations were allies and trading partners[2] during the years prior to World War II. Ties were somewhat strained when Nazi Germany annexed much of the country under the terms of the Munich Agreement (1938), which many Czechs viewed as the "Munich betrayal" (Czech: Mnichovská zrada). Over 500 Czech pilots, most of whom had fled the Nazi occupation to Allied countries, served with Royal Air Force and gained distinction during the Battle of Britain for their bravery and skills. One such pilot was Josef František, a Distinguished Flying Medal recipient and one of only two non-Commonwealth nationals among "The Few" who were the top ten leading aces. Britain was one of several countries Czech Jewish refugees fled to, most notably through Kindertransport.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague meeting Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lubomír Zaorálek in London, May 2014.

During the Cold War, relations again worsened as Britain was an ally of the United States, the "enemy" of the Soviet Union, making Britain and the Socialist-ruled Czechoslovakia "enemies" by association. Since the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, economic relations have largely normalised, although neither countries are priority allies for the other.[4]

Trade[edit]

Bilateral trade was worth £6.7 billion in 2011.[5]

Migration[edit]

The 2001 UK Census recorded 12,220 Czech-born people resident in the UK.[6] With the accession of the Czech Republic to the European Union in May 2004, Czechs gained the right to live and work elsewhere in the EU, and substantial numbers moved to the UK for work, although there has been substantial return migration.[7] The Office for National Statistics estimates that, as of October 2010 to September 2011, 24,000 to 40,000 Czech-born people were living in the UK.[8]

State visits[edit]

Queen Elizabeth II paid a state visit to the Czech Republic in March 1996, she visited Prague and Brno and was received by President Václav Havel.[9]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Smetana, Vít (2008). In the Shadow of Munich: British Policy towards Czechoslovakia from 1938 to 1942. Karolinum Press. 
  2. ^ "Treaty Series No.5" (PDF). Foreign and Commonwealth Office. 1 February 1926. 
  3. ^ Overy, Richard (2009). 1939: Countdown to War. Penguin. p. 21. ISBN 9781101500415. 
  4. ^ Waisová, Šárka (2011). "Czechoslovakia in a Divided Europe: The Formation of Czechoslovak Foreign Policy after World War II and Relations with Its Neighbors and the Superpowers during the Cold War". In Cabada, Ladislav; Waisová, Šárka. Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic in World Politics. Lexington Books. p. 57. 
  5. ^ "Increasing business with the Czech Republic". British Embassy Prague. Retrieved 2014-07-22. 
  6. ^ "Country-of-birth database". Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Archived from the original on 2009-06-17. Retrieved 2009-11-07. 
  7. ^ Pollard, Naomi; Latorre, Maria; Sriskandarajah, Dhananjayan (April 2008). "Floodgates or turnstiles? Post-EU enlargement migration to (and from) the UK". Institute for Public Policy Research. Archived from the original on 2009-04-21. Retrieved 2009-11-07. 
  8. ^ "Estimated population resident in the United Kingdom, by foreign country of birth (Table 1.3)". Office for National Statistics. 12 May 2012. Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
  9. ^ "OUTWARD STATE VISITS MADE BY THE QUEEN SINCE 1952". Official web site of the British Monarchy. Retrieved 2008-11-29. 

External links[edit]