Monday, 23 October 2017

Vienna's Mayor Häupl to get highest Czech decoration this month

ČTK |
6 October 2017

Vienna's Mayor Michael Häupl is to receive the highest Czech state decoration, the Order of the White Lion, for improving Czech-Austrian relations on October 28, the Foreign Office of the City of Vienna in Prague confirmed to ČTK on Thursday.

Prague, Oct 5 (CTK) - Vienna's Mayor Michael Haupl is to receive the highest Czech state decoration, the Order of the White Lion, for improving Czech-Austrian relations on October 28, the Foreign Office of the City of Vienna in Prague confirmed to CTK on Thursday.

Czech President Milos Zeman is to award Haupl during the traditional ceremony at Prague Castle on October 28, which is a national holiday.

The Czech Presidential Office did not comment on the information.

The Prague Office of the City of Vienna told CTK that Haupl would meet journalists in the morning on the day of his decoration to talk about relations between Austria and the Czech Republic and the Order of the White Lion.

Three years ago, Zeman bestowed this decoration on former Austrian chancellor Franz Vranitzky.

Helmut Zilk, who was Vienna's mayor in 1984-1994, was nominated for the Order of the White Lion in 1998, but then Czech President Vaclav Havel finally refused to give it to him due to the suspicion that Zilk collaborated with the Czechoslovak communist secret police StB in the 1960s. Havel apologised for this at Zilk's funeral in Vienna in 2008.

When asked about Haupl's decoration on Thursday, Zeman's spokesman Jiri Ovcacek said yesterday he never commented on the names of those who would be awarded at the ceremony in advance.

However, Zeman previously said he would award world speed skating champion Martina Sablikova and singer-song writer Jarek Nohavica this year. Zeman's critics claim that the promotion of the plan to award such figures popular among Czechs is part of his campaign before the forthcoming presidential election in which he wants to defend his post.

Zeman and Haupl met in Prague last December. Haupl received a commemorative medal for his contribution to the development of Czech-Austrian relations in the Senate during his visit.

Haupl, 68, (Austrian Social Democrats, SPO) has been the mayor of Vienna since 1994. He is the chairman of the Osterreichisch-Tschechische Gesellschaft (Austrian-Czech association).

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