News Former prime minister Jiří Rusnok joins central bank board

28-02-2014 10:40 | Daniela Lazarová

Former prime minister Jiří Rusnok on Friday joined the seven-member board of the Czech National Bank. The 53-year old economist and former finance minister was hand-picked for the post by President Miloš Zeman. He replaces Eva Zamrazilová whose six-year mandate on the board ended in February. Mr. Rusnok’s appointment, the first of five that the president is due to make during his term in office, is expected to soften the board's currently Eurosceptic outlook. The central bank determines the monetary policy of the country and decides on fundamental monetary policy measures. It is also responsible for supervision over the entire financial market, including banks, insurance companies and the capital market.

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PM Bohuslav Sobotka says committee will continue to monitor restitution

24-07-2014 11:47 | Chris Johnstone

Ongoing problems with the restitution of church property will be resolved by a government committee prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka told the lower house of parliament on Thursday. Sobotka intervened in a debate over the controversial subject called jointly by the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia and the Dawn party. The prime minister attacked the deal to compensate churches and religious group for confiscations undertaken by the former Communist regime, saying that mechanism were lacking to check that property was not given back which religious groups had not owned in the first place. Sobotka’s Social Democrat party has attempted to reopen the restitution settlement agreed by the former centre-right coalition government without success. 

TOP 09 seen winning Prague local elections

24-07-2014 11:22 | Chris Johnstone

Centre right party TOP 09 has a high chance of retaining its position as the biggest party in the Czech capital when Prague City Council elections are held in October. A survey by the polling agency SANEP suggested that TOP 09 would be the strongest party with 21.3 percent support. A three way coalition of the Christian Democrats, Mayors and Independents, and Green Party could win 14.2 percent of votes. The ANO party would come in third place with 12.4 percent followed by the Social Democrats with 11.8 percent, Civic Democrats with 11.1 percent and Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia with 7.6 percent. The Pirate party and Free Citizens Party would also get more 5.0 percent of the vote according to the survey. TOP 09 currently govern Prague City Hall in coalition with the Social Democrats. 

Czech economic confidence slips in July

24-07-2014 10:51 | Chris Johnstone

Czech economic confidence fell for the first time this year in July according to the Czech Statistics Office. The overall composite confidence index slipped over the month by 0.7 points to stand at 7.6.points. Although consumer confidence continued to firm, companies have become more worried about the economic situation and outlook, the office said. Confidence in the hard hit construction sector climbed but industrial companies were among those which have switched to a more pessimistic and cautious outlook. The composite index stood at 5.5 points in January. 

Petr Čech trains with Chelsea after shoulder recovery

24-07-2014 09:01 | Chris Johnstone

Czech goalkeeper Petr Čech has recovered from his injured shoulder and for the first time since April has taken part in a full training session with his club, Chelsea. He has been recovering since the injury in the semi-final of the Champions League against Atlético Madrid and surgery which took place in May. Chelsea are making a pre-season tour in Europe as key members of the squad return after world cup duty. 

Sparta Prague to face Swedish league leaders Malmo in Champions League qualifier

24-07-2014 08:51 | Chris Johnstone

In football, Sparta Prague will face current Swedish league leaders Malmo in the third round of the Champions League. The Swedes secured their place in the next round after a 1:0 win at home. The first round of the two round tie against Sparta takes place next Tuesday in Prague. Elsewhere, Czech clubs Mladá Boleslav and Slovan Liberec play Thursday night in the qualifying stage of the Europa League. Slovan have a 1:0 lead against Slovak club Kosice from the away leg while Mladá Boleslav take a 2:1 victory at home to Bosnia and Herzegovina club Široki Brijeg. 

New US ambassador to Czech Republic approved by Senate

24-07-2014 08:38 | Chris Johnstone

The US Senate on Wednesday confirmed the US president’s proposal for top lawyer with Czech roots, Andrew Schapiro, to be the country’s ambassador in the Czech Republic. The current ambassador, Norman Eisen, is due to quit the Prague post in August. Schapiro is said to be close to the president, having been a fellow student of law at Harvard University and later going on to help with the financing of Obama’s political campaigns. He is currently a practicing lawyer at the firm of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan, known for its business litigation. Schapiro’s mother left Prague in 1939 in fear of Nazi persecution. 

Czech president rallies in support of Petra Kvitová

23-07-2014 17:40 updated | Chris Johnstone

Czech president Miloš Zeman defended Czech Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitová when she was received at Prague Castle on Wednesday. Zeman told the fourth ranked singles player that the successful are often subject to envy from those who couldn’t do anything better. The president was referring to the comments of a Social Democrat member of parliament, Stanislav Haml, who suggested that Kvitová lose her Czech citizenship for locating to the tax haven of Monaco. Zeman apologized for not being present at Kvitová’s second Wimbledon singles win earlier this month but said that he disliked politicians’ habit of try to get a share of other people’s triumph. He was presented with a ticket for the Fed Cup finals in Prague in November when the Czech Republic faces Germany. 

Český Aeroholding boss Miroslav Dvořák steps down

23-07-2014 14:52 | Chris Johnstone

The head of state aviation holding company Český Aeroholding has resigned from his post. Miroslav Dvořák’s departure as board chairman was announced in a press release on Wednesday. He has been under pressure from finance minister and ANO party boss Andrej Babiš to step down. The post will be filled by his former deputy, Václav Řehoř. The change must still be approved by Korean Air, which has a minority shareholding in Czech Airlines. Český Aeroholding’s main asset is its ownership of Prague’s main Václav Havel airport. 

Prague and National Geographic reach settlement

23-07-2014 11:37 | Jan Velinger

Prague and National Geographic have reached a written agreement putting to bed a case concerning a controversial episode of a TV series broadcast by the National Geographic Channel in 2012. The city maintained that the show Scam City, focusing on the darker side of tourism, had hurt Prague’s reputation, faking some sequences which consequently cast the city in a poor light. Criminal investigators later confirmed some scenes had been staged. Scenes that were reportedly faked included tourists being ripped off by a taxi service or by workers at a sex club (which in reality had long been closed). In the agreement, National Geographic admitted some scenes were staged and agreed to block the episode’s further dissemination. A formal apology, which the city previously sought, was not part of the deal, the Czech News Agency reported. 

Committee backs Jourová for commissioner

23-07-2014 10:46 | Jan Velinger

The Chamber of Deputies’ Committee for European Affairs on Wednesday backed Minister for Regional Affairs Věra Jourová’s nomination for EU commissioner. Out of 19 members on the board, coalition members from the Social Democrats, ANO and the Christian Democrats voted in favor; members of the opposition abstained. Jourová’s candidacy is to be officially confirmed by the government on Thursday. Leaders of the coalition parties agreed on the candidate after it became apparent that the next president of the EC, Jean-Claude Juncker, favored having at least nine women on the commission. It is thought that a female candidate will have a better chance at gaining one of the more important portfolios. 

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