News Czech Republic and Austria vow to improve bilateral ties

03-04-2014 16:51 | Daniela Lazarová

The Czech Republic and Austria say they want to turn a new leaf in bilateral ties, intensifying both governmental and regional cooperation. Following a meeting in Vienna between Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz and visiting Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek the two sides said much time had been lost through past hostilities in bilateral relations and they were ready to reestablish dialogue on all outstanding issues, boost business and cultural ties and improve the infrastructure linking the neighbor states. Two major areas of friction between the Czech Republic and Austria are the countries’ stands on nuclear energy and the Beneš decrees which sanctioned the expulsion of 2.5 million Sudeten Germans from post-war Czechoslovakia.

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New documentary about Czech traveller Miroslav Zikmund screened

02-09-2014 11:02 | Ian Willoughby

A new feature-length documentary about the famous Czech traveller Miroslav Zikmund received a pre-premiere screening in his town of Zlín on Monday night. Petr Horký’s film Století Miroslava Zikmunda (Miroslav Zikmund’s Century) will enter cinema distribution on Thursday. Speaking at a sold-out Velké kino cinema, Mr. Zikmund, who is 95, recalled presenting the pair’s first full-length film on the same stage in the 1950s with his travelling partner Jiří Hanzelka, who died in 2003. The two visited more than 80 countries in a Tatra car between 1947 and 1950 and 1959 and 1964 before being barred from travelling or participating in public life after 1968. 

Para-cycling champion Ježek in serious but stable condition after accident

02-09-2014 10:21 | Daniela Lazarová

Czech Paralympics champion Jiří Ježek, who was seriously injured at the World Championship in Greenville on Sunday is in serious but stable condition and will have to undergo more surgery in the coming days, according to his coach Viktor Zapletal. The 39-year-old suffered a serious chest injury requiring emergency surgery and several fractures. Doctors were planning to operate on his arm on Tuesday but may have to put off surgery for fear of infection. There is no word on when he could be transported home. 

Cabinet to debate EC’s proposal for tightened sanctions against Russia on Wednesday

02-09-2014 09:57 | Daniela Lazarová

The Czech government has received the EC’s proposal for new sanctions against Russia and the cabinet will meet to debate the proposal on Wednesday, the Office of the Government announced in a press release on Tuesday morning. A tripartite meeting of government officials, trade union leaders and employers will be held on Thursday to debate the impact of the proposed sanctions. The Czech prime minister said at the EU summit that the country reserved the right to reject the sanctions should they cause disproportionately high economic losses. His cautious stand has come under fire from opposition parties and the coalition Christian Democrats who likened it to the Munich Agreement of 1938. The opposition parties have demanded that a special session of cabinet be held on the issue. 

Opposition parties want special session of Parliament on sanctions issue

01-09-2014 17:26 updated | Daniela Lazarová

The opposition centre-right parties TOP 09 and the Civic Democrats say they are outraged by the prime ministers stance and are demanding a special session of Parliament to “restore the dignity of the Czech Republic and defend its reputation as a country which respects freedom, democracy and international law". TOP 09 deputy chair Miroslav Kalousek described the prime minister’s stand as “short-sighted, alibistic and cowardly”. Mr. Sobotka has also come under fire from Czech MEPs. 

Agriculture minister says country might consider ban on imports for dumping prices

01-09-2014 16:54 updated | Daniela Lazarová

Agriculture Minister Marian Jurečka said on Monday that should the EC fail to help farmers and food producers hit by the EU sanctions against Russia, the Czech Republic might ban the imports of goods for dumping prices. Czech farmers and food producers fear that the expected glut of food products in Europe stemming from the sanctions might result in the Czech market being flooded with goods sold for prices below production costs. 

Czech Railways back in the black

01-09-2014 16:51 | Daniela Lazarová

Czech Railways is back in the black showing a profit of 158 million crowns at the end of the second quarter, the ctk news agency reports. The profit was generated mainly by revenues from passenger transport and cost-cutting measures in the areas of marketing and legal services. Freight transport showed a profit of 540 million. 

EU sanctions against Russia cause rift in Czech governing coalition

01-09-2014 13:09 | Daniela Lazarová

The new wave of EU sanctions against Russia for its involvement in the Ukraine crisis, has caused a rift in the Czech ruling coalition. Attending the EU talks in Brussels, the Czech prime minister made it clear that he did not believe sanctions would prove effective and said his country reserved the right to reject tightened sanctions if they were to cause disproportionately high economic losses. He promptly came under fire from the leader of the coalition Christian Democrats who compared this stand to the Munich Agreement of 1938. The prime minister has now received backing from Andrej Babiš, the leader of the second strongest party in the ruling coalition, who said he too could see little point in enforcing new sanctions against Russia when the last ones had failed to have any effect. He said the way forward appeared to be through political negotiations and noted that the Czech Republic could show its solidarity with Ukraine by more practical means such as sending aid or dispatching a field hospital there. The cabinet is to debate the issue at its session on Wednesday. 

Hradec Kralove-Pardubice rail link closed for ten days

01-09-2014 13:08 | Daniela Lazarová

Czech Railways has announced that the rail connection between the towns of Hradec Kralove and Pardubice will be out of operation for the next ten days due to maintenance. Passengers are being asked to use a replacement bus service. More information is available to Czech Railways website and its information offices. 

Khaled al-Atrash is to be the new Palestinian ambassador to the Czech Republic

01-09-2014 11:26 | Daniela Lazarová

Khaled al-Atrash is to be the new Palestinian ambassador to the Czech Republic. According to the daily Lidové noviny he has already received the so-called agrément from President Miloš Zeman. Khaled al-Atrash is the outgoing ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina where he has served since 2010. The last Palestinian ambassador to Prague, Jamal Muhammad Jamal, was killed in a blast at the embassy at the beginning of this year. It later emerged that he had been trying to open an old safe that contained explosives. 

Czech candidate for EU commissioner to meet with EC president

01-09-2014 11:08 | Daniela Lazarová

The Czech candidate for EU Commissioner Věra Jourová is to meet with EC President Jean Claude Junker on Wednesday to discuss her possible future portfolio. The Czech government has been striving for an economic portfolio and Ms. Jourová, who heads the Regional Development Ministry in the centre-left government, is aspiring to head the European regional development portfolio, currently run by Austria. If she makes a successful bid, Jourová would appear before the respective committee for the traditional “grilling” at the end of September and take up her post in early November. 

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