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2024 | Book

Roles and Ideologies in the Czech Foreign Policy: the Case of European Migration Crisis

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About this book

This edited volume investigates the Czech response to the European migration crisis of 2015. Focusing on the discourses and practices the book analyses the foreign policy ideas which were guiding the Czech foreign policy in the period from 2014 to 2019. The chapters offer a variety of methodologies (discourse analysis, content analysis, and case study) and perspectives (decision-makers, NGOs, emotions, foreign policy practice, and European partners). All the chapters rely on a common conceptual framework that operationalises foreign policy ideas as ideologies (Atlanticism, Europeanism, Internationalism, and Sovereignism) and roles (Democracy Supporter, Protectee, Faithful Ally, Regional Collaborator, Reformer, and Prosperity Builder). The main benefit of the book consists in using a unique conceptual framework to produce new empirical insights into the Czech foreign policy making. The book will be of particular interest to the students of the Czech politics and it can be also used as a case study in foreign policy-making. It also offers a nuanced perspective on the Central and Eastern Europe decision-making during the EU migration crisis which goes beyond the usual ideological classifications of those countries in the West European public discourse.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter
Introduction
Abstract
This chapter presents the structure of the book and summarizes its main findings. It argues that the migration crisis of 2015 represents an important turning point in the Czech foreign policy. The crisis somewhat weakened the previous foreign policy orientation to the EU and the USA.
Petr Drulák
Roles, Ideologies and Positions
Abstract
This chapter introduces the concept of the foreign policy position which the following chapters apply to the analysis of the Czech foreign policy. The position is defined as an intersection of a particular international role and a particular foreign policy ideology. The chapter first defines ideology and role, and then reviews how they were applied to the study of the Czech foreign policy in the twentieth century. Finally, a typology of positions is presented which serves as the tool of analysis of the Czech conduct in the migration crisis of 2015.
Petr Drulák, Hana N. Hlaváčková, Jiří Zákravský

Migration Crisis in the Czech Public Discourse

Frontmatter
Political Parties
Abstract
The chapter aims to map how Czech political parties worked with ideologies and roles in their electoral programmes and whether they changed after the migration crisis. In general, the events linked to the flow of refugees heading to European countries did not significantly impact the positions included in the electoral programmes of the political parties under study; the exceptions in this respect, however, were Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD, Svoboda a přímá demokracie) and partly also Action of Dissatisfied Citizens (ANO, Akce nespokojených občanů). In the 2019 European elections, ANO was then more critical of the EU than before, and the migration crisis was one point of this criticism. For the SPD, the Sovereignist Reformer was a key position. Their anti-immigration stance was the primary source of their negative perception of the EU and defined their positions towards the Union and Czech foreign policy in general.
Jiří Zákravský
Government
Abstract
The chapter aims to identify the positions the Czech Republic pursued, as presented in the government programme statements and by the Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers, during the migration crisis. In the context of the criticism of the European Union by the government representatives, the Reformer role was often manifested due to the proposed solutions to this crisis. In most cases, the Europeanist Reformer position was manifested, although in the case of then Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, the position of Sovereignist Reformer also emerged in 2018. However, the Europeanist and Sovereignist Reformer positions did not mean the absence or marginalisation of positions manifested earlier that were typically associated with a more positive view of the European Union (e.g., Europeanist Faithful Ally). In the context of the migration crisis and the positions presented from the governmental perspective, the main change related to the inclusion of the role of Reformer.
Jiří Zákravský
President
Abstract
This chapter focuses on the Czech presidential discourse in 2013–2019 and explains the effect of the migration crisis on Czech foreign policy. The ideology-role matrix brings the possibility of studying FP positions. Several changes in Czech foreign policy appeared at this time (changes of topics in FP, changes of positions and attitudes towards the EU) while some particular topics from the previous years remained (security and economy of the state). Miloš Zeman, the President since 2013, said that the Czech Republic should be more assertive in boosting its national interest, which applies primarily to common EU policies (the topic of sanctions against Russia, economic cooperation instead of human rights support, migration policy, and Muslim migrants). The dominant position in his discourse was that of a Europeanist Reformer, which corresponded with the criticism of the EU at the time (before and during the migration crisis). The President put the national interest first, and used economic, security-related, and sovereignty-related justifications when confronting the European Union practices. A threat often mentioned by him was international terrorism, which brought an Atlanticist Reformer position into the discourse. Also, the positions of Sovereignist Regional Collaborator and Sovereignist Prosperity Builder were observed when he spoke of protecting national interests in the regional cooperation of the V4 or in relations with other international actors.
Hana N. Hlaváčková
Securitization
Abstract
The chapter analyses the securitization discourses of crucial members of the Czech government vis-à-vis the migration crisis. The research examined 93 speech acts referring to migration. One-quarter of the total speech acts contained the securitization discourse. Regarding the securitization discourses concerning roles and ideologies, the research detected a clear trend, namely that selected securitization discourses reflected the Europeanist Reformer position. Czech politicians mainly refused the EU relocation quotas since accepting them would threaten Czech sovereignty, and called for a reform of the EU migration framework.
Zdeněk Rod

Beyond the Czech Migration Discourse

Frontmatter
Foreign Ministry
Abstract
This chapter examines the evolution of the Czech position on migration from the perspective of author’s experience in the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). It starts with an overview of the principal political actors that shaped the political decision-making on migration. Following this, key conflict lines which the foreign minister had to address are described. Finally, the MFA’s strategy of conflict avoidance is examined.
Petr Drulák
Emotions
Abstract
This chapter explores the emotions and ideologies of Czech political elites during the migration crisis, focusing on their perception of the migration quotas. Emotions, such as fear, anger, and trust, are linked to Czech political elites’ perception of the migration crisis. Emotions are essential in international relations as they help uncover states’ decision-making processes. The chapter examines the connection between the Czech perception of the migration crisis and the ideologies and roles of the Czech Republic. The most common ideologies among the Czech elites at the time were Sovereignism and Europeanism, while their most frequent role was Regional Collaborator, which was characterised by trust and a sense of belonging within the given group. Trust, fear, and anger were present among the elites, with trust being associated with cooperation with the Visegrad Four, fear with protecting Czech sovereignty, and anger with feelings of unreadiness and poor communication with the EU. The chapter offers a unique perspective on the events of the migration crisis, highlighting the role of emotions in shaping the Czech decision to reject the migration quotas.
Lucie Hrubá
Non-governmental Organisations
Abstract
According to the author’s findings, Czech NGOs perceived mainly four defining aspects of the Czech foreign policy during the migration crisis: (1) little-to-no signs of solidarity in combination with a lack of understanding of the situation; (2) the promotion of the government’s own interests, namely the preservation of the Czech culture and intrastate safety; (3) the resolution of the crisis solely through financial aid and outside the Czech borders; (4) Czechia’s tight cooperation with the V4 countries, which was expressed by their common critique of the EU and Angela Merkel. With regard to the aforementioned perspectives, the Czech foreign policy predominantly showed features of Sovereignism and the Regional Collaborator role. Conversely, the NGOs’ perspectives regarding the preferred foreign policy during the time of the crisis stressed (1) the importance of human rights, especially the rights of refugees to international protection, (2) the need for solidarity and shared responsibilities, and (3) respect for binding international treaties and applicable legal mechanisms (e.g. the Dublin mechanism). Thus, they had the features of a Democracy Supporter role and Europeanism.
Michal Himmer
European Reaction
Abstract
The 2015 migration crisis influenced the perception of the Czech Republic’s role in European politics—its image was damaged in the EU and Germany and partially also in Austria, but its relations with the rest of the Visegrád Group stayed untouched. For the EU and Germany, Czechia appeared as a Europeanist “Unfaithful Ally” because it was not in solidarity with those EU countries which carried the burden of the migration waves on their shoulders and because its “insufficient responsibility” helped to disrupt the efforts toward a unified European solution to the crisis. Germany also perceived Czechia as a Europeanist Regional Collaborator when anti-migration measures other than quotas were being addressed or when German representatives described the general form of the relations with Czechia. A similar approach to the solution of the crisis and a shared rejection of the redistribution quotas were a part of the close cooperation and good relations between Czechia, Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary. The view of the V4 states was that the Czech position corresponded to those of a Sovereignist Regional Collaborator, and a Europeanist Reformer. Although Austria did not vote against the redistribution quotas, they shared several opinions on the migration crisis with Czechia. Thus, they perceived the Czech role less critically than the EU or Germany. Nevertheless, due to the differing opinions of Austrian representatives, Austria’s view of the Czech positions varied between the two perspectives, as mentioned above. Based on the statements of Austrian leaders, the position of a Sovereignist Regional Collaborator prevailed in this case.
Martina Ponížilová
Conclusions: Czechia and Central Europe
Abstract
This chapter first summarizes the main findings about the Czech position, pointing to the different reactions of different actors, ranging from President Zeman to NGOs. Following this, it examines the position of the Visegrad Group, both describing its unity and investigating important differences among its members. Finally, the chapter briefly reviews the positions of Poland, Hungary and Slovakia, arguing that despite their similar orientations each has developed its own specific resistance to the EU migration policy.
Petr Drulák
Backmatter
Metadata
Title
Roles and Ideologies in the Czech Foreign Policy: the Case of European Migration Crisis
Editor
Petr Drulák
Copyright Year
2024
Electronic ISBN
978-3-031-49975-3
Print ISBN
978-3-031-49974-6
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-49975-3