News Parliamentary Committee urges prime minister to fall in line with other EU countries over sanctions

04-09-2014 18:29 | Ruth Fraňková

The parliamentary committee for European Affairs on Thursday called on Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka to act in accordance with the majority of EU countries when negotiating the planned extension of new EU sanctions against Russia. The Czech government on Wednesday authorised the Prime Minister to voice objections to some of the planned sanctions against Russia. The government is planning to table reservations to the sanctions’ extension to goods with both civil and military applications in order to protect Czech machinery producers.

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Lucie Šafářová saves three match points to progress at Wimbledon

28-06-2016 06:45 | Chris Johnstone

In tennis, Lucie Šafářová is through to the second round of Wimbledon after saving three match balls against US doubles partner Bethany Mattek-Sands. Šafářová converted her first match ball to win the tie 6:7, 7:6, 7:5. She faces another US opponent, Samantha Crawford, in the next round. 

ČEZ seeks to claw back billions from Dukovany closure

28-06-2016 06:44 | Chris Johnstone

Czech electricity producer ČEZ has began proceedings to reclaim billions of crowns lost after the prolonged closure of three out of four of its nuclear reactors at the Dukovany plant following faulty safety checks on pipes. Czech Radio reported that proceedings have begun against engineering company Škoda JS to reclaim around 3.5 billion crowns. Škoda JS recruited a sub-contracted to carry out X-ray checks on pipes at the plant which were later found to be flawed. Much of the reactor was closed in late 2015 and into 2016 as a result. Škoda JS has denied being guilty. 

Government leaders pay homage to victims of Communism

27-06-2016 18:32 | Chris Johnstone

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and deputy prime minister Pavel Bělobradek have paid homage on behalf of the government to the victims of Communism. Bělobradek, the leader of the Christian Democrats, laid a wreath at a memorial in Prague 5 district. Monday is the 66th anniversary of the execution of Milada Horáková, the woman member of parliament found guilty in a show trial in 1950 staged by the Communist regime. The death penalty was carried out in spite of last minutes pleas for clemency from the likes of Albert Einstein and the Pope. A series of commemorative events were scheduled in the Czech capital and across the country. 

Pavel Vrba cleared to talk with Russian club Makhachkala

27-06-2016 16:47 | Chris Johnstone

In football, the future of Czech national manager Pavel Vrba is in the balance. The web pages of the football association reported Monday that it has been approached by officials of the Russian club Makhachkala. The club is interested in the possibility of using an escape clause in Vrba’s current contract and has been cleared to start preliminary talks. Vrba’s Czech squad finished early in the Euro 2016 championships with just one point from a draw with Croatia in the group stage. Makhachkala was 12th in the Russia league last season. 

Ztohoven to cut up and dispatch presidential standard taken in underpants stunt

27-06-2016 15:31 | Chris Johnstone

The guerrilla arts group Ztohoven has said it has cut up a presidential standard into 1152 pieces that will be sent ad hoc to people across the Czech Republic. The group took down the presidential banner and replaced it with a giant pair of red underpants in a stunt in September last year. The group had gained access to Prague castle after dressing up as chimney sweeps. The court trial of the three, who could face prison terms of up to three years, starts on Wednesday. The fate of the presidential standard was for many months the subject of mystery to the outside world. 

Spending watchdog says publicity campaigns fail to boost awareness of EU programmes

27-06-2016 13:02 | Chris Johnstone

The Czech state’s spending watchdog, the National Audit Office, has concluded in a report that awareness among most Czechs of how EU funds were spent and the existence of various operational programmes has not increased in spite of the hundreds of millions of crowns spent by ministries to publicize them. The office said around 250 million crowns was spent between 2008 and 2015. Around half that total was spent on a series of tv spots which the office said offered hardly any basic information. The ministries of labour and social affairs, regional development, and education were the biggest spenders on publicity material. 

Finance ministry cuts funds earmarked for servicing national debt

27-06-2016 13:02 | Chris Johnstone

The Czech Ministry of Finance has cut the estimated cash set aside this year for servicing the state debt. The total has been reduced to 337.4 billion crowns from 342 billion crowns. Last year the total was 311.2 billion crowns. The cut is the result of the latest mid-term economic outlook and April’s macro-economic estimate. The expected public deficit for this year has been set at 70 billion crowns. 

Government moves to relax qualification rules for nursing sisters

27-06-2016 12:17 | Chris Johnstone

The government has moved to relax the rules for nursing sisters to qualify in the future in a move that is being described as a step towards the stabilisation of the health sector. In what has been described as the four plus one formula, sisters will in future have to undergo one year of special training after four years of high school. In the past they were expected to undergo the equivalent of three years of bachelor studies. 

Czech PM says EU best way to avoid mistakes of 20th century

27-06-2016 12:17 | Chris Johnstone

The Czech prime minister said that he fears that there will be a new wave of separatism following the British Brexit vote. Speaking in an interview with Austrian paper, Der Standard, Bohuslav Sobotka said the British vote would probably encourage nationalism and separatism. He maintained that the European project is still the best guarantee that the horrors of the 20th century are not repeated. The Czech prime minister warned thought that the EU should reform itself so that it can be more effective, more flexible, and less bureaucratic. Foreign minister Lubomír Zaorálek said after a meeting of foreign ministers from the Visegrad Four as well as France and Germany that Britain’s exist should not stop the EU’s evolution. He said new relations with Britain should be on friendly terms. Zaorálek added that rapid further EU steps towards integration would be the wrong response to the British referendum result. 

Special Czech working group to deal with Brexit

27-06-2016 12:16 | Chris Johnstone

The Czech government has decided to create a special working group to deal with the possible implications of ‘Brexit,’ the result of last week’s British referendum decision to leave the EU. The group will be headed by the Secretary of State for European Affairs, Tomáš Prouza. It will mainly focus on determining the Czech priorities in the upcoming negotiations with Britain. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka announced the step on his Twitter account. 


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