Leftist European leaders have agreed to back the nomination of former Luxembourg prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker to head the European Commission. The next head will succeed Jose Manuel Barroso. Speaking to the Czech News Agency after meeting with French President Francois Hollande and other leftist leaders in Paris, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said the European Left, as he saw it, would expect visible posts in the next commission in return for its support and would seek the post of speaker of the European Parliament.
An audit commissioned by the finance officer of ČVUT Jan Gazda has uncovered numerous dubious transactions by the Service Facilities Administration at the university. Czech daily Lidové noviny writes that between 2007 and 2011 there were dozens of legal transgressions, from overpriced purchases to machinations in public tenders to a failure to properly end contracts. The damages have been estimated in the tens of millions of crowns, says the paper. Police are conducting an investigation after the university filed charges against unknown perpetrators.
A Czech national who appeared in a broadcast on Russian television taking part in a pro-Russian demonstration in Ukraine, could face legal difficulties upon his return home, the Czech daily Mladá fronta Dnes reports. In the video, the man - dressed in battle fatigues - introduced himself as Ivo Stjeskal from Brno and claimed he had travelled to Ukraine to help fight alongside pro-Russian separatists defending Donbas. The Czech daily points out that the national, reportedly a former elementary school gym teacher, was not only required to respect Ukrainian but also Czech law. According to the Czech Justice Ministry, the Czech may have broken the law by illegally serving in a foreign army, a crime which carries a potential five-year sentence.
An arbitration court had not yet reached a final decision in the Blanka Tunnel case, in which the construction firm Metrostav and the City of Prague are at odds. The court did approve a list of items to be completed at the cost of 40 million crowns, Deputy Mayor Jiří Nouza told the Czech News Agency. An earlier court decision stated that Prague had to pay a remaining 4 billion crowns, while Metrostav had to complete the tunnel by September. No opening date for the tunnel has yet been set and will hinge on the installation of technology for the running of the entire complex.
The Chamber of Deputies on Friday passed legislation which will make it more difficult to tow vehicles in No Parking zones or areas where motorists parked without a permit or paying. Under the amendment to the traffic law, police will first to have to apply a wheel clamp, commonly known as a Denver or parking boot, giving car owners 24 hours to respond. Vehicles will only be towed after that if owners failed to contact the police. The changes will effectively prevent MPs and senators from ever having their cars towed: under the law, police are not allowed to use parking boots on lawmakers’ vehicles. The bill will still have to be approved by the Senate.
Former justice minister Jiří Pospíšil has given up his post as an MP in the Czech Chamber of Deputies. Pospíšil, a former Civic Democrat who joined the centre-right party TOP 09, was one of four TOP 09 candidates in May elected to European Parliament. In all in the European elections, 21 MPs representing the Czech Republic were elected. Pospíšil is expected to be replaced by former Civic Democrat MP Vladislav Vilímec.
A traffic accident on Friday afternoon saw marked delays on the D1 highway from Prague in the direction of Brno. The crash, involving two vehicles, was not serious but took place in an area undergoing reconstruction not far from the capital. Movement along the highway slowed to a crawl, with cars becoming backed up six kilometers. Traffic jams on the D1 have become a regular occurrence since an extensive and long-planned renovation of parts of the highway began. Motorists, especially on peak days, are advised to monitor the situation either over the internet or the airwaves, to try and avoid long delays.