Report on Senate Activity from the Beginning of the Third Period of Office on 19th December 2000 to the End of 2001

This report carries on from the previous Report on Senate Activity. It outlines Senate activity from 19th December 2000 (from the opening of the 1st Senate meeting in the 3rd period of office after the regular Senate elections) to 31st December 2001.

During this period there were 13 Senate meetings. Senators approved a total of 35 international treaties and debated 111 bills, of which four were draft Constitutional Bills. An overall summary of Senate legislative activity follows below.

Of the four draft Constitutional Bills, the Senate approved two (the Amendatory Constitutional Act on the Creation of Higher Regional Municipal Units, the Amendment to the Constitution of the Czech Republic – “the Euro-Amendment”), rejected one (the Amendment to the Constitution of the Czech Republic – Chamber of Deputies bill) hence this Constitutional Bill was not approved, and returned one to the Chamber of Deputies with proposed amendments (the Amendment to the Constitution of the Czech Republic – Czech National Bank), which the Chamber of Deputies accepted; the bill was approved in the wording of the proposed Senate amendments.

Of the remaining 107 bills that were referred to it, the Senate approved 32 (the Act on Conditions for Operating Vehicles on Overland Communications, the Act on the Return of Illegally Exported Cultural Heritage, the Act Determining the Rules in Cases of Concurrent Execution of Rulings, the Amendatory Act on Pension Insurance, the Executive Regulations, the Act on the Repeal of Act No. 304/1999 Coll. (Measures Relating to the Union Republic of Yugoslavia), the Amendatory Act on Institutes of Higher Education, the Act on Special Protection of Witnesses, the Amendatory Act on Insurance Premiums for General Health Insurance, the Act on Radio and Television Broadcasting, the Amendatory Act on Personal Data Protection, the Amendatory Act on Budgetary Rules, the Water Act, the Amendment to the Criminal Code, the Funerals Act, the Amendatory Act on the Conditions for the Transfer of Agricultural and Forested Land from State Ownership, the Amendatory Act on the Provision of Subsidies to Private Schools, the Amendatory Act on Banks, the Amendatory Act on Mining Activity, the Amendatory Act on Herbalism, the Act on Financial Control, the Amendatory Act on Savings Banks and Credit Cooperatives, the Act on the Provision of the State Guarantee of the Czech Republic in the Event of Liability for Damage Caused as a Result of Military or Terrorist Acts Involving the Operation of Aircraft, the Act on Working Time and Non-Working Time for Transport Employees with Irregular Working Hours, the Amendatory Act on Currency, the Packaging Act, the Courts and Judges Act, the Act on Procedures Involving Judges and Public Prosecutors, the Amendatory Act on Employment, the Act on Elections to Municipal Councils, the Amendment to the Customs Act and the Amendment to the Funerals Act).

The Senate expressed the wish not to deal with bills in 35 cases (the Act on the State Bond Scheme to Raise Funds for the Provision of Returnable Financial Assistance from the State Budget to Cover Payment of Compensation from the Cooperative Savings Bank Reinsurance Fund, the Amendatory Act on the Transfer of Certain Items, Rights and Obligations from the Possession of the Czech Republic into the Possession of the Regions, the Amendatory Act on Courts and Judges, the Amendatory Act on the Police of the Czech Republic, the Amendatory Act on Local Financial Authorities, the Amendatory Act on Narcotic Substances, the Amendment to the Building Act, the Amendatory Act on State Heritage Conservation, the Amendatory Act on the Association of Political Parties and Political Movements, the Amendatory State Enterprise Act, the Act on the Overall Safety of Products, the Act on Public Collections, the Act on Sports Subsidies, the Amendatory Act on State Heritage Conservation, the Act on the Protection of Economic Competition, the Amendatory Act on the Capital City of Prague, the Amendment to the Criminal Code, the Act on the Plzeň Motorway By-pass, the Act on the State Bond Scheme to Compensate for Obligations Arising out of the Treaty between the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Germany on the Termination of Convertible Rouble Clearing, the Libraries Act, the Amendatory Act on the Land Fund of the Czech Republic, the Amendment to the Civil Code, the Amendatory Act on State Frontiers, the Amendatory Act on Insurance, the Act on the Provision of Information and Other Cooperation for Purposes of Procedures before the European Court of Human Rights, the Amendatory Act on Narcotic Substances, the Amendatory Act on the Transfer of Certain Items, Rights and Obligations from the Possession of the Czech Republic into the Possession of the Regions, the Act on the Withdrawal of Additional Salaries for the Second Half of 2001 and the Determination of Additional Salaries for the First and Second Halves of 2002 for Representatives of State Authorities and Certain State Bodies, the Act on the Protection of Markings of Origin and Geographical Designations, the Amendatory Act on the Provision of Compensation for Damage Caused by Certain Specially Protected Animals, the Amendatory Act on the Powers of Authorities of the Czech Republic in Regard to Transfers of State Property, the Amendatory Act on the Budgetary Determination of Taxes, the Amendatory Act on the Acquisition and Improvement of Competence to Drive a Motor Vehicle, the Amendatory Act on Investment Incentives and the Amendatory Act on the Provision of Subsidies to Private Schools).

32 bills were returned to the Chamber of Deputies with proposed amendments. In 17 cases the Chamber of Deputies concurred with the Senate version (the Act on Environmental Impact Assessments, the Amendatory Act on Consumer Taxes, the Act on the Residence of Aliens on the Territory of the Czech Republic, the Act on Waste, the Amendatory Act on Surveying, the Amendatory Act on Human Healthcare, the Act on Water and Sewage Systems, the Amendatory Act on State Social Support, the Act on the Provision of Single Payments to Participants in the National Liberation Struggle, Political Prisoners and Persons Held in Military Labour Camps on Racial or Religious Grounds, the Act on the Rights of Members of National Minorities, the Act on the Use of the State Symbols of the Czech Republic, the Hunting Act, the Amendatory Act on the Ownership of Apartments, the Amendment to the Asylum Act, the Act on State Assistance for the Renovation of Areas Affected by Natural or Other Disasters, the Amendatory Act on Road Tax, the Amendatory Act on Misdemeanours).

Another 13 bills were accepted in their original Chamber of Deputies version (the Amendatory Act on Czech Television, the Amendatory Act on Public Procurement, the Spas Act, the Act on the Czech Consolidation Agency, the Act on the State Bond Scheme to Compensate for the Loss of Konsolidační banka Praha, the Amendatory Act on Consumer Taxes, the Amendatory Act on the Social and Legal Protection of Children, the Amendatory Act on Accounting, the Amendatory Act on Municipalities, the Amendatory Act on Overland Communications, the Amendment to the Atomic Energy Act, the Amendatory Act on Conflicts of Interest, the Amendatory Act on the Public Prosecutor).

In two cases, a bill was not returned by the Senate to the Chamber of Deputies with proposed amendments (the Amendatory Act on Elections to Municipal Councils and the Amendatory Act on Public Health Insurance).

During the period under review, four bills were rejected by the Senate. In three cases the Chamber of Deputies insisted on its original version (the Amendment to the Criminal Code, the Act on Churches and Religious Societies and the Amendment to the Mining Act) and in one case an act was not approved (the Act on the Submission and Settlement of Complaints).

In four cases the Senate did not adopt any resolution (the Amendatory Act on Pension Insurance, the Act on Certain Conditions for the Arrangement of Consumer Credit, the Amendatory Act on Payment and Remuneration for Stand-by Duty and the Amendment to the Commercial Code).

Overall Summary of the Third Period of Office to the End of 2001

In the period under review the Senate expressed the wish not to deal with a bill in 31% of cases, it approved 30% of bills, it returned 30% of bills to the Chamber of Deputies with proposed amendments, it rejected 5% of bills and in 4% of cases it did not pass any resolution.

Summary of Bills Returned to the Chamber of Deputies with Proposed Amendments in the Third Period of Office to the End of 2001

To express the success rate of the Senate in returning bills to the Chamber of Deputies in percentage terms, the Chamber of Deputies concurred with the Senate version in 55% of cases, it overruled the Senate and approved its original version in 39% of cases and the bill was not approved at all in 6% of cases.

In this period the Senate debated 10 draft Senate Bills:

(information on the state of debates reflects the situation as of 15th March 2002, further information is provided in the appropriate Chamber of Deputies publication.)

  • The draft Senate Bill put forward by František Kroupa and others to amend Act No. 200/1990 Coll. on Misdemeanours, as subsequently amended, Act No. 90/1995 Coll., on the Rules of Procedure of the Chamber of Deputies as amended by Act No. 47/2000 Coll. and Act No. 107/1999 Coll. on the Rules of Procedure of the Senate (Senate Document No. 296). In April, the Senate Bill was referred to the Chamber of Deputies, which debated it and referred it back to the Senate in November (Senate Document No. 128).

The bill was approved and promulgated in the Collection of Laws under No. 78/2002 Coll.

  • The draft Senate Bill put forward by Senator Emil Škrabiš and others to amend Act No. 115/2000 Coll., on the Provision of Compensation for Damage Caused by Certain Specially Protected Animals (Senate Document No. 348). In March the bill was approved and submitted to the Chamber of Deputies, which debated it and in November referred it back to the Senate (Senate Document No. 129).

The bill was approved and promulgated in the Collection of Laws under No. 476/2001 Coll.

  • The draft Senate Constitutional Bill put forward by the Senate Commission on the Constitution of the Czech Republic to amend and supplement Constitutional Act No. 1/1993 Coll., Constitution of the Czech Republic, as amended by Constitutional Act No. 347/1997 Coll. (Senate Document No. 84) was withdrawn in April 2001 and at the beginning of August of the same year a new draft Senate Constitutional Bill was submitted by the Senate Permanent Commission on the Constitution of the Czech Republic and Parliamentary Procedures to amend Constitutional Act of the Czech National Council No. 1/1993 Coll., the Constitution of the Czech Republic as amended by Constitutional Act No. 347/1997 Coll., and Constitutional Act No. 300/2000 Coll. (Senate Document No. 101). This bill was approved on 24th October 2001 and submitted to the Chamber of Deputies (Chamber of Deputies Document No. 1134).

The bill was rejected at the first reading on 12.2.2002 at the 46th meeting of the Chamber of Deputies.

  • In May the Permanent Commission on the Constitution of the Czech Republic and Parliamentary Procedures put forward a draft Senate Constitutional Bill on a Referendum for the Entry of the Czech Republic into the European Union and the Amendment of Constitutional Act No. 1/1993 Coll., the Constitution of the Czech Republic, as subsequently amended (Senate Document No. 58). In June this bill was approved and referred to the Chamber of Deputies (Chamber of Deputies Document No. 996).

The bill is in its third reading at the Chamber of Deputies.

  • The draft Senate Bill put forward by Jiří Liška and others to amend Act No. 140/1996 Coll., on the Provision of Access to Files Associated with the Activities of the Former State Security Service, and Act No. 97/1974 Coll. on Archives, as amended by Act No. 343/1992 Coll. (Senate Document No. 114) was withdrawn by its proponent in June 2001 and immediately replaced by a new draft Senate Bill put forward by Jiří Liška, Tomáš Julínek, Dagmar Lastovecká, Vladislav Malát and other Senators on the Provision of Access to Documents Associated with the Activities of the Former State Security Service and Certain Communist Regime Security Units to amend Act No. 140/1996 Coll., on the Provision of Access to Files Associated with the Activities of the Former State Security Service, Act No. 97/1974 Coll., on Archives, as amended by Act No. 343/1992 Coll., and Act No. 368/1992 Coll., on Administrative Fees, as subsequently amended (Senate Document No. 76). The bill was approved 4th August 2001 and submitted to the Chamber of Deputies (Chamber of Deputies Document No. 1021). The bill was approved by the Chamber of Deputies 8.2.2002 at its 46th meeting. On 8.3.2002 it was also approved by the Senate at its 15th meeting and was signed by the President of the Republic on 14.3.2002.
  • At the beginning of June, a draft Senate Bill was put forward by Senators Milan Šimonovský, Daniel Kroupa, Robert Kolář, Jiří Šenkýř, Helena Rögnerová and others to amend Act No. 247/1995 Coll., on Elections to the Parliament of the Czech Republic and the Amendment and Modification of Certain Other Acts, as amended by Act No. 212/1996 Coll., the Constitutional Court Ruling published under No. 243/1999 Coll., Act No. 204/2000 Coll. and the Constitutional Court ruling published under No. 64/2001 Coll., and on the Amendment to Act No. 424/1991 Coll. on the Association of Political Parties and Political Movements, as amended by Act No. 468/1991 Coll., Act No. 68/1993 Coll., Act No. 189/1993 Coll., Act No. 117/1994 Coll., the Constitutional Court ruling published under No. 296/1995, Act No. 322/1996 Coll., Act No. 340/2000 Coll., the Constitutional Court finding published under No. 98/2001 Coll., and Act No. 104/2001 Coll. (Senate Document No. 77). In August it was approved by the Senate and submitted to the Chamber of Deputies (Chamber of Deputies Document No. 1022). The bill is in its third reading at the Chamber of Deputies.
  • On 1st August, Senate Vice-President Přemysl Sobotka and other senators put forward a draft Senate Bill to amend Act No. 256/2001 Coll., on Funerals and the Amendment of Certain Acts (Senate Document No. 100). In October, the Senate approved it and submitted it to the Chamber of Deputies (Chamber of Deputies Document No. 1135).

The Senate withdrew this bill with Resolution No. 252 of 11.1.2002, adopted at the 13th meeting of the Senate.

  • At the beginning of August, a draft Senate Bill was put forward by Senator Robert Kolář and others to amend Act No. 219/2000 Coll., on the Property of the Czech Republic and its Representation in Legal Relations, as amended by later regulations (Senate Document No. 102). The bill was approved and in December it was submitted to the Chamber of Deputies (Chamber of Deputies Document No. 1207). The bill has been included in the agenda for the 47th Chamber of Deputies meeting.
  • In October, the Senate Permanent Commission for the Constitution of the Czech Republic and Parliamentary Procedures submitted a Senate Permanent Commission for the Constitution of the Czech Republic and Parliamentary Procedures draft Senate Bill to amend Act No. 107/1999 Coll. on the Senate Rules of Procedure (Senate Document No. 120).

In December this bill was approved and submitted to the Chamber of Deputies / Chamber of Deputies No. 1189.

The bill is in its second reading at the Chamber of Deputies.

  • In December, a draft Senate Bill on Family Support was submitted by Senator František Bartoš and other senators / Senate Document No. 157 /.

The bill was withdrawn by the proponent in March 2002.

The Senate does not only debate bills and international treaties at its meetings:

In January the Senate dealt with the Report on Petitions submitted to the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, its bodies and officials, with petition details and the manner in which they were settled, this time for the period from 1.1. – 31.12.2000 (Senate Document No. 2), which the Committee on Human Rights, Science, Education, Culture and Petitions presents to the Senate on a regular basis.

The Annual Report for 2000 on the Provision of Information in compliance with Act No. 106/1999 Coll., on Free Access to Information, made up a separate annex (Senate Document No. 2A).

On the basis of Act No. 101/2000 Coll., on Personal Data Protection, the Senate elects candidates for positions as Chairman and inspectors at the Personal Data Protection Office. In 2000, the President of the Republic appointed RNDr. Karel Newirt as Chairman of this office and Ing. Bc. Miloš Dokoupil, Ing. Milan Šnytr and RNDr. Jiří Souček as inspectors.

In April 2001, the Senate elected the remaining four candidates for positions as inspectors at the Personal Data Protection Office: Ing. Jan Zapletal, Ing. Oldřich Ševčík, PhDr. Miroslav Matoušová and Mgr. Božena Čajková (Senate Document No. 19).

In May, the Senate presented the President of the Republic with its proposals for the bestowal or conferment of state awards. Proposals on the bestowal or conferment of awards are presented under Act No. 157/1994 Coll., on State Awards, to the President of the Republic by the Chamber of Deputies, the Senate and the government. Awards are made on 1st January and 28th October. (Senate Document No. 57).

The Senate continues to deal regularly with information from the Czech government on the activities of Czech Army units and staffs. In the period under review the Senate dealt with and took cognizance of:

  • The government proposal to assess the deployment of Czech Army units in JOINT FORGE operations in Bosnia and Hercegovina and JOINT GUARDIAN operations on the territory of Yugoslavia in the province of Kosovo for the January-June 2000 period (Senate Document No. 365) (20th December 2000)
  • Czech government information on the participation of Czech Army units and staffs in military exercises with foreign partners on or outside Czech Republic territory during the June-November 2000 period, a review of transits and cross-country flights across Czech Republic territory during the June-November 2000 period and of exercises planned for 2001 as well as Czech government information on the military exercises of Czech Army units and staffs with foreign partners on and outside Czech Republic territory for the period of December 2000, January to March 2001 and a review of transits and cross-country flights across Czech Republic territory for this period (Senate Documents Nos. 18 and 104).
  • Assessment of the deployment of Czech Army units in international JOINT FORGE (SFOR) peace-keeping operations in Bosnia and Hercegovina and JOINT GUARDIAN (KFOR) operations on the territory of Yugoslavia, in the province of Kosovo, for the July-December 2000 period and the January-June 2001 period (Senate Documents Nos. 48 and 152).
  • Government information on cross-country flights and transits of the armed forces of NATO and PfP member states across the territory of the Czech Republic (Senate Documents Nos. 103, 105, 106 and 118).
  • Czech government information on Falcon international military exercises (Senate Document No. 107).

Under the Constitution of the Czech Republic, parliament expresses its consent to the deployment of the armed forces of the Czech Republic outside the territory of the Czech Republic and to the deployment of the armed forces of other states on the territory of the Czech Republic, unless such decisions are reserved for the government. Upon the request of the government the Senate has expressed consent to the deployment of Czech Army units in the following cases:

At the first meeting of the third period of office on 20th December 2000, the Senate expressed its consent to

  • The government proposal for further deployment of Czech Army units in the operations of the international community in the Balkans in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and treaties concluded in 2001 (Senate Document No. 366).

On 29th November 2001 the Senate expressed its consent to

  • the government proposal for the further deployment of Czech Army forces and resources in the operations of the international community in the Balkans after 31st December 2001 (Senate Document No. 117).

In December 2001 the Senate also expressed its consent to<

  • the government proposal on the dispatch of the 9th Reinforced Radiation, Chemical and Biological Defence Company and the 6th Field Hospital as part of the “Enduring Freedom” anti-terrorist operation in accordance with Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty – this proposal was dealt with during a private session of the Senate meeting
  • the government proposal on the dispatch of a reinforced contingent of special Czech Army forces to Afganistan as part of planned operations implemented on the basis of a UN Security Council mandate – this proposal was dealt with during a private session of the Senate meeting
  • the government proposal on the dispatch of a Czech Army transport aircraft and crew in support of NATO early-warning aircraft (Senate Document No. 160).

At a private session the Senate also expressed its consent to the government proposal on the inclusion of the Czech Republic in the NATO Integrated Air Defence System.

The Act on the Senate Rules of Procedure has established a new institution involving Senate and Senate Committee public hearings. In 2001, the Senate organized four public hearings.

The first Senate public hearing took place 12th January 2001 and dealt with the following issues:

  • Legislation and practice with reference to the activities of the public mass media in the Czech Republic and EU states
  • Ways of strengthening the independence of the mass media.

The second Senate public hearing took place 19th September 2001 with the aim of opening a public debate on the aims and importance of higher education and its institutes in Czech society during the third millennium, involving the legislative and legal spheres and dealing with the issues of:

  • Institutes of higher education and science
  • Funding institutes of higher education
  • Ways of increasing student numbers

The third Senate public hearing took place 4th October 2001. Its aim was:

  • to outline the situation regarding neo-nazis in the Czech Republic,
  • to define the trends in this area,
  • to assess the standpoints of state and public institutions and the procedures involved in applying the law,
  • to ascertain possible institutional remedies,
  • to find ways of ensuring an effective legal framework,
  • to endeavour to monitor scenes of aggression, to promote ways of fostering social tolerance and to put forward other possible measures in the interests of preventing such undesirable phenomena.

The fourth Senate public hearing took place 27th November 2001. Senators and invited participants, including the President of the Republic, Václav Havel, dealt with Czech foreign policy issues with special reference to the basic principles and priorities of Czech foreign policy in Czech government policy statements and Foreign Ministry policy documents and their implementation in such areas as:

  • the role of the Czech Republic and other small states in the process of European integration and in debates on the future form of the European Union; relations with neighbouring countries and political cooperation in Central Europe,
  • the security interests of the Czech Republic in the light of discussions on NATO enlargement, the creation of a European security and defence policy and relations between NATO and the EU,
  • support of human rights.

The next section of the report focuses on Senate bodies, i.e. the committees and commissions. Committees deal in particular with bills and international treaties referred by the Chamber of Deputies and they recommend that the Senate either approves a bill or international treaty in the version presented by the Chamber of Deputies, or rejects it, or expresses the wish not to deal with a bill or returns a bill to the Chamber of Deputies with proposed amendments. In addition to this legislative activity the committees also deal with other matters.

Under the law the Senate has established the Organizational Committee and the Committee on Mandate and Parliamentary Privilege. Both have their tasks set out in the Act on the Rules of Procedure. In compliance with the Act on the Senate Rules of Procedure, the members of the Organizational Committee are the Senate President and Vice-Presidents and together with them in 2001 there were the Chairpersons of four Senators´ Clubs

The Committee on Mandate and Parliamentary Privilege also has specific powers. In 2001 it arranged nine meetings.

The Committee on the National Economy, Agriculture and Transport debated 62 bills and nine international treaties at 21 meetings (over 29 days of meetings).

The Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security debated 20 bills and 33 international treaties at 15 meetings (over 24 days of meetings).

The Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs debated 54 bills and four international treaties. There were 32 committee meetings (over 37 days of meetings).

The Committee on Education, Science, Culture, Human Rights and Petitions debated 37 bills and eight international treaties at 15 meetings (over 25 days of meetings).

The Committee on European Integration debated 38 bills and four international treaties. There were eleven committee meetings (over 20 days of meetings).

The Committee on Health and Social Policy debated 23 bills and nine international agreements at 20 meetings (over 20 days of meetings).

The Committee on Public Administration, Regional Development and the Environment debated 45 bills and ten international treaties. The Committee arranged 21 meetings (over 26 days of meetings).

In addition to the Committees, the Senate bodies also include Commissions, which the Senate may establish for tasks that come under more than one Senate body or for tasks that do not come under any of the bodies set up by the Senate (Section 43 of the Senate Rules of Procedure).

At the start of the third period of office the Senate established three permanent commissions. Its resolution set out their tasks and at the same time enjoined them to inform the Senate of the discharge of these tasks once a year. This took place at the Senate meeting in January 2002 (Senate Document No. 172). The reports presented on activities in 2001 are available under the link for each Commission.

The Senate also has its Commission on Elections. This arranges the elections held by the Senate as well as nominations requiring its approval. The Commission on Elections has eight members. The Commission Chairwoman is Senator Jitka Seitlová.

Foreign activities of the Senate in 2001 trips abroad and the reception of foreign visits

A Senate delegation headed by the Senate President last year received 40 foreign visits and met 56 times withambassadors. The Senate Vice-Presidents received a total of 18 foreign visits and Senate committees a total of 43 foreign visits.

The Senate was visited by four foreign delegations last year at the invitation of the Senate President. In March the Senate was visited by a delegation from the Federal Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation led by its Chairman, J. S. Stroyev.

A delegation from the Senate of the Republic of the Philippines led by the Senate President, A. Q. Pimentel, visited the Senate in April.

In June, a delegation from the Seim of the Republic of Lithuania led by the Seim President, A. Paulauskas, visited the Senate.

A delegation from the Senate of the Kingdom of Spain led by its President, Esperanza Aguirre, visited the Senate in November.

On 24th and 25th May, a joint session on the situation in Chechnya took place in the Senate with a working group from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the State Duma of the Russian Federation.

On 28th and 29th May, the 13th meeting took place in Prague of the Parliamentary Committee on the Association of the European Union and the Czech Republic.

On 24th June 2001, the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security, M. Žantovský, and the Chairman of the Committee on European Integration, J. Skalický, arranged a working dinner to mark the meeting of the Chairpersons of the Foreign Committees, the Committees for Defence and Security and the Committees on European Integration of the parliaments of the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Poland, the Slovak Republic and the Czech Republic.

A Senate delegation headed by the Senate President received six heads of state during the year. In March, the Senate President arranged a dinner in honour of the President of the Slovak Republic, R. Schuster and the President of the Republic of Croatia, S. Mesić. In April, a ceremonial dinner was held in honour of the President of the Republic of Albania, R. Meidani. The President of the Republic of Portugal, J. Sampai, visited the Senate in July and the President of the Republic of Hungary, visited in September. In October, there was a meeting with the President of the United States of Mexico, V. Fox Quesada.

In February, there was a meeting between the Senate President, P. Pithart, and the NATO General Secretary, Lord G. Robertson. In April, a Senate delegation received the President of the European Commission, R. Prodi, and in May a ceremonial dinner was arranged by the Senate President in honour of the General Secretary of the European Union Council and the Supreme Representative for Joint Foreign and Security Policy, J. Solana Madariaga.

In 2001, there were four trips made by Senate delegations and seven trips made by the Senate President.

There were also six trips made by the Permanent Commission on Compatriots Living Abroad, and a delegation from the Senate Permanent Commission on Senate Chancellery Activities made a foreign trip to the Slovak Republic.

Members of permanent delegations of the Parliament of the Czech Republic to interparliamentary organizations made 38 trips – the delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe six trips, the delegation to the Central European Initiative, two trips, the delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe twelve trips, the delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly six trips, the delegation to the Interparliamentary Union four trips, the delegation to the Assembly of the Western European Union seven trips and the delegation for cooperation with the European Parliament one trip.

Members of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee made three foreign trips and received one foreign visit.

Members of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security made ten foreign trips and the Committee received 24 foreign visits.

Members of the Committee on Education, Science, Culture, Human Rights and Petitions made five foreign trips during 2001 and received two foreign visits.

A delegation from the Committee on Public Administration, Regional Development and the Environment made three foreign trips and the Committee received four foreign visits.

A delegation from the Committee on the National Economy, Agriculture and Transport made six foreign trips and the Committee received visits from four foreign delegations.

A delegation from the Committee on Health and Social Policy undertook three foreign trips and the Committee received three foreign delegations.

Members of the Committee on European Integration made 15 foreign trips and a Committee delegation received eight foreign visits.

Conferences and seminars also take place regularly on the Senate premises (we provide a complete list in chronological order), at which the senators give the floor to representatives of the professional and lay public. There were 108 such events in 2001. By way of example we would mention the following:

On 1st and 2nd March, an international discussion forum entitled “Civil Organizations in a Common Europe” was held on Senate premises.

On 8th March, the announcements took place for the fourth annual journalism competition entitled “Memorials Need Publicity”.

On 30th April, a conference entitled “Women in the Resistance” was arranged by the Czech Union of Freedom Fighters under the auspices of the Senate President, P. Pithart.

On 14th May, a nationwide meeting took place of volunteers from the Czech Red Cross, arranged by the Czech Red Cross to mark World Red Cross Day. On 17th and 18th May, an international seminar took place entitled “Tolerance, Respect and Human Rights - 2001” under the auspices of Senator I. Havlíček.

From 22nd May to 8th June, an exhibition of period documents entitled “Honour All Those Who Resisted” took place in the vestibule of the Meeting Hall, arranged by the Confederation of Political Prisoners under the auspices of the Senate President, P. Pithart.

In May, a meeting of the “Children”s Parliament” took place on Senate premises in the now traditional manner as part of the “Bambiriáda 2001 Festival” arranged by the Czech Council for Children and Youth, and in June there was a meeting of the Children”s Parliament arranged by the Circle of Children and Youth of the Czech Republic.

On 14th June, a seminar entitled “The Relations between the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic” took place in the Grand Hall, arranged by the Sociological Institute of the Academy of Sciences.

In early August the Senate President received a visit from athletes after their return from the summer Deaf Olympics in Rome and on 28th October there was a ceremonial meeting of Senators and those who had received awards to mark the State Holiday of 28th October.

On 20th December, a Christmas benefit concert took place in the Grand Hall of the Wallenstein Palace.