News Czech PM expresses support for Juncker nomination to EU top post
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has confirmed Czech support for former Luxembourg prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker to become president of the European Commission. In a phone interview with Mr. Juncker on Thursday, the Czech prime minister said Prague would support his nomination if the issue comes to a vote at an EU summit later this week. Mr. Sobotka said he hoped the EU would avoid drawn-out disputes over posts and focus on a reform agenda that would deliver growth and jobs and increase the competitiveness of the EU. The Czech coalition government has so far failed to agree on a joint candidate for the next Czech EU commissioner.
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The unique CV-22B Osprey aircraft landed at the Mošnov international airport in Ostrava on Friday. The unique half-helicopter half-plane, used by the US Air Force special forces, will be displayed at the annual NATO Days and Czech Air Force Days air show, which will get underway in Ostrava on Saturday. Thousands of visitors are expected to attend the two-day event.
The Czech Red Cross, in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is sending 1600 tonnes of medical supplies to Ukraine. It is already the seventh delivery of humanitarian aid from the Czech Republic to Ukraine. Earlier this year, the Czech government approved 50 million crown in aid to Ukraine for projects aimed at reconstructing health, educational and social facilities as well as infrastructure projects across the country. Czech hospitals have also provided treatment to more than forty injured Ukrainians as part of the Medevac programme of evacuating Ukrainian citizens in need of medical treatment.
The car manufacturer Škoda will resume its production in Russia on Monday, the daily Lidové noviny writes on Thursday. The car manufacturer suspended production in two of its plants, in Kaluga and Nizhny Novgorod, on the 8th of September. Despite the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, which has had a negative impact on the automotive industry in Russia, Škoda’s share in the Russian market in July increased from 3.1 to 4.2 percent on an annual basis.
The Czech Senate on Thursday hosted a gathering against anti-Semitism to raise awareness of the anti-Jewish moods generated by the recent conflicts in Gaza. Head of the Jewish Museum in Prague, Leo Pavlát, warned against media manipulation in covering the current conflict between Israel and Hamas. The participants of the gathering, initiated by Senator Daniela Filipiová of the Civic Democratic Party, called on the president Miloš Zeman and the Czech government to send a clear message that anti-Semitism will not be tolerated.
Czech Minister of Agriculture Marian Jurečka is meeting with representatives of large supermarket chains on Thursday to discuss the issue of food waste as well as ways of supporting Czech producers. The ministry plans to launch a campaign to promote domestic production in mid-October, aimed at reducing the impact of the Russian embargo on EU food exports.
The first opera by Antonín Dvořák, Alfred, was performed for the first time ever with the original German libretto on Wednesday night at the Dvořák’s Prague festival, which is currently underway in the Czech capital. The Czech composer wrote the opera in 1870 at the age of 29. The piece was already performed once before, in 1938, with the libretto translated into Czech.
The Czech movie Fair Play has been chosen as the Czech Republic’s official entry for the 2015 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Written and directed by Andrea Sedláčková, Fair Play explores doping in sport in the 1980s communist Czechoslovakia.
Representatives of the government, trade unions and employers on Wednesday agreed on the draft state budget for 2015. Under the proposal, the state budget deficit for next year should not exceed 100 billion crowns and will include hikes in salaries in the public sector. Speaking after the meeting of the tripartite, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka expressed his confidence that the budget proposal will be approved by the cabinet on Monday.
The first shipment of Czech military aid to Kurdish forces fighting against Islamic State radicals in northern Iraq was sent from the military airport in Pardubice on Thursday. The C-17 Globemaster transport plane carried around 25 tonnes of ammunition worth 41 million crowns, including millions of rounds of ammunition for Kalashnikov assault rifles and machine guns, as well as hand grenades and ammunition for anti-tank rocket launchers.
The Czech Republic is to release three million crowns to the NGO Doctors without Borders to help fight the Ebola outbreak in Africa. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka discussed the situation in Africa and the possibilities of Czech help with the head of the Czech branch of Doctors without Borders Pavel Gruber on Thursday, along with several members of the government. The Czech Republic has also pledged to send material support, such as protective equipment. Final details will be specified by the interior and health ministers by the end of September.