News Low turnout shows Euro elections unimportant to Czech voters, say political scientists
The European elections are seen as second ranking by Czech voters, political scientist Tomáš Lebeda said in response to the apparent record low turnout. Speaking to the Czech News Agency, he said another factor was that part of the country's political elite were opposed to the European Parliament, which resonated with part of the electorate. Pundit Bohumil Doležal said the low turnout reflected the fact the elections had little impact on events in the Czech Republic. He added that they could however provide an indication of how local elections later in the year will go.
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The Czech Republic has won clearance from the European Commission to proceed with 10 large transport and infrastructure projects without the need to launch new Environment Impact Assessments (EIAs). Brussels has had problems with the fact that dozens of Czech projects were given approval under old assessments that in some cases pre-date the country’s accession to the European Union in 2004. The news was given by prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka, currently in Brussels for a European Summit. Some of the key projects have a European as well as Czech dimension.
The town of Moravský Krumlov has purchased ownership of its stately home after the property was auctioned off. The property was formerly used to house Czech artist Alfons Mucha’s Slav Epic series of paintings before they were moved to Prague. Town authorities are seeking to partly revive its lost tourist appeal and earnings by creating an arts and cultural centre at the stately home. They also have some hopes that the Slav Epic might be returned in the future.
Nine people were injured when a Czech bus hit a stationary vehicle on the motorway near Dortmund, Germany. Apart from the Czech driver, none of the injured are Czech according to the bus operator, Eurolines. The bus was on the route between London and Berlin with 42 passengers on board, according to the bus company. German police are investigating how the accident happened.
Czech president Miloš Zeman has said one of the main factors for the British referendum decision to leave the EU was its poor leadership. He added that compared with giants of the past, like Jacques Delors and Jean Monnet, the current leadership are in the second league. The Czech head of state added that the British exit is a loss for the country and the remaining 27 states. He added that he expected Scotland will break away from the rest of Britain and re-join the EU within five years.
The trial has started of three art activists from the Ztohoven group who last year made headlines when they erected a giant pair of red underpants on Prague castle in protest at the policies of president Miloš Zeman. They could face jail sentences of up to three years on charges of theft and damage to property. One of the defendants challenged the ability of the lead judge to try the case, pointing out judges are appointed by the head of state. He also contested the 100,000 crown bill that has been estimate by presidential authorities for damage done during the stunt.
Lawmakers in the lower house have voted new rules for financing political parties that look like setting a 3.0 million crown a year ceiling for donations by companies and individuals. The proposed new rules look likely to increase the payments made for votes gained in local, regional, and parliament elections. The bill would also seek to create a new agency for overseeing election spending which now looks like it will be based in Brno rather than Prague.
Tuesday’s terrorist attack in Turkey is a fresh reminder of the dangers of terrorism, which cannot be underestimated or forgotten about in the shadow of debates surrounding Brexit, says the Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. Speaking in Brussels where he is attending EU meetings focused on the UK’s decision to quit the bloc, Mr. Sobotka said the European Union needed to intensify cooperation among member states in the battle against terrorism. A suicide and gun attack on Istanbul’s airport left at least 36 dead and more than 140 injured.
Large retail outlets in the Czech Republic will have to close on seven state holidays every year after the Chamber of Deputies approved a Senate bill implementing the change. The lower house was voting for the second time on the matter; it had originally voted that big shops be closed only on three state holidays but the Senate insisted that it reconsider its original wording. It must now be signed by the president. The ban – which applies to stores with floor space of 200 m2 or more – has been condemned by the Chamber of Commerce and was rejected by the right-wing parties in the lower house.
The Czech Republic does not need to accelerate adoption of the euro because of the UK’s decision last week to quit the European Union, prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka said in Brussels on Tuesday. Older EU members have been pushing for increased integration in a 27-member bloc, including closer ties within a currency union. Mr. Sobotka told journalists that nobody would be pressured into anything, adding that it was in Czech interests for contact to be maintained between eurozone states and those that have not adopted the common European currency.
The Visegrad Four states issued a joint statement in Brussels on Tuesday expressing deep regret for the UK’s decision to leave the European Union and saying that the EU must emerge stronger from the challenges that poses. The Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary said talks on a way forward should focus on protecting the bloc’s interests. They also outlined a need to renew credibility in an EU that better reflects the concerns of citizens.