Updated: Details of President Obama’s speech
In case you haven’t heard – US President Barack Obama will be spending April 4 and 5 in Prague. He is here to speak with 27 European heads of state; as part of the Czech EU presidency. As can be expected, there will be some minor disruptions around the city.
• President Obama’s first public speech in Europe since becoming president will be held Sunday, April 5 at 10am at Hradcanské námestí. This will be the only event open to the public while he is in town. Information can be found at: http://prague.usembassy.gov/obama.html. Rumor has it he will discuss nuclear proliferation. Gates will open at 7am and early arrival is encouraged. Entry for the public is from Loretánská and Kanovnická. Expect tight security; so limit what you bring. There’s a big list of prohibited items on the US Embassy’s website. These include backpacks, umbrellas and thermal or glass containers. Confiscated items will not be returned!
• President Obama is due to arrive at Prague’s airport at 5pm on Saturday, April 4. Commercial air traffic will be disrupted; so if you plan to pick someone up – best call first.
• He and his wife will be met by President Klaus and his wife as well as Prime Minister Topolánek. He’s then expected to have a “private program” Saturday evening.
• It seems Obama’s visit is interesting to the Prague population; a recent poll by the DEMA agency found that about one in two citizens of the city are interested in his address.
• And what will Michelle be doing? She may be paying a visit on Sunday to the new headquarter of Radio Free Europe. Mrs. Livia Klausová will be her prime entertainer.
• Is all this Presidential hoop-la too much for ya? Commemorate the event with a special edition Barack Obama medal. Ceská mincova mint is making both silver (1200 CZK) and gold (30,000 CZK) editions. One side has a portrait of the president. The flip side is a drawing of both Prague Castle and the White House. Get ‘em while they last – only 500 of each have been minted.
• President Obama will meet with President Klaus on Sunday morning at Prague Castle. He will also meet with European officials the same day at the Congress Center.
• He’s expected to meet with former Czech President Havel on Sunday afternoon.
• From March 26-April 5 the American Citizen Services section of the US Embassy will be closed. Emergency services will still be available.
• Prague Castle will be completely closed on March 30. It will be closed again from 9pm on April 3 until 5am on April 6. This includes the Castle Gardens, normally scheduled to open April 1. They’ll open April 11 this year.
• In the days leading up to his arrival, and especially when the President is here, expect access restrictions and delays in the area of Prague Castle; the Congress Center (where President Obama is expected to speak to EU leaders) and Evropská Street, where his convoy is expected to drive. And if he decides to pop up anywhere else; expect security delays.
• As the heads of all 27 EU countries will be in town, be prepared for restrictions and possible ID checks in the areas of five-star hotels like the Four Seasons, Marriott, Hilton, Sheraton, etc.
• Prague Transport says you can expect bus, metro and tram delays at some point over the weekend and they plan to update passengers as information becomes available.
• The city says they will operate a toll-free hotline for people to call for information about road closures, traffic restrictions, and other blips in daily life that may be caused by the President’s visit. No additional information on this has been confirmed.
As more details become available; we’ll update this posting.