News Supreme Audit Office: Czech Republic might lose up to 62 billion in EU subsidies
The Czech Republic could lose up to 65 billion crowns in EU subsidies earmarked for the country in the financial period 2007-2013, according to a report by the country’s Supreme Audit Office released on Friday. The office said that by the end of last year, funds had been released to finance projects worth 395 billion crowns, which represents only some 54 percent of all available funds. The share increased to 57 percent by the end of the first quarter of 2014; however, the country could lose the funds due to slow processing of the projects as well as errors made in choosing projects to get EU funding, the head of the office said.
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The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, supports a decision by Germany’s cabinet to provide military support in the fight against Islamic State militants in Syria. The Berlin government wants to send a force of 1,200 soldiers to the region. Speaking via his spokesman, Mr. Zeman said it was only a good thing if countries decided to fight Islamic State. Mr. Zeman called for joint international action against Islamic State in a speech to UN General Assembly in September.
The singer Karel Gott returned to hospital on Sunday to continue treatment for cancer, a spokesperson said. On Saturday the 76-year-old appeared at the Czech Nightingale music awards, where he took the top prize for the 40th time. The tabloid Blesk reported that the veteran star was set to undergo a second course of chemotherapy for cancer of the lymph nodes. Mr. Gott has sold more than 50 million records, with his biggest success coming in the German-speaking countries.
State officials would be required to make their CVs public under a new government anti-corruption strategy presented by the minister for human rights and legislation, Jiří Dienstbier, on Tuesday. The plan is aimed at increasing transparency in the state administration, the minister told reporters. Officials from the level of head of department up would be required to make their work and educational backgrounds public. Mr. Dienstbier said the cabinet would also work on other anti-corruption measures that had got stuck in the legislative process, including a registry of contracts and laws on political parties and public tenders.
Prague has begun plans for a provisional budget for 2016. Councillors rejected a planned budget due to instability caused by the recent collapse of the city government. The provisional budget will be agreed monthly and correspond to a 12th of the budget for this year. The city also began 2015 with a provisional budget. Talks are continuing between parties with seats on the council after a coalition of ANO, the Social Democrats and the Three Coalition split last month.
Viktoria Plzeň have entered the winter break in Czech soccer’s top flight as league leaders after beating Jablonec 1:0 on Monday night. That result meant they could not be overtaken by reigning champions Sparta Prague, who came from behind to overcome Brno 2:1. The top two still have one Europa League game each before Christmas; Sparta have already reached the next stage but Plzeň cannot advance in the competition.
The president of South Korea, Park Geun-Hye, is beginning a four-day visit to the Czech Republic on Tuesday. During her stay she will attend a joint summit with the Visegrad Four states as well as meeting the Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, and president, Miloš Zeman. South Korean companies are expected to announce fresh investments in the Czech Republic totalling around CZK 1 billion in the course of Park Geun-Hye’s visit.
Police revealed on Monday that 51 people died in traffic accidents in the Czech Republic in the month of November, bringing the total number of road deaths over 11 months to 604. The number of people who lost their lives on Czech roads this year is higher by 28 compared to the first 11 months of 2014.
Heavy rainfall throughout Monday night led to a rise in water levels on parts of the Otava and Labe rivers. Flood warnings are in effect in Šumava. Levels are still rising in areas, nevertheless the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute expects the situation to improve over the course of Tuesday and for the risk of flooding to diminish.
Many Czech cultural, academic and professional institutions will mark the 700th anniversary of the birth of the famous Czech monarch and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV next year. Details of the programme were unveiled on Monday. The National Gallery will present a unique series of exhibits in the sphere of culture and arts focussing on Charles IV's day, the gallery’s director Jiří Fajt said. The government is likely to sponsor projects by providing funding of around 90 million crowns. A final sum has not yet been approved, but will in any case be lower than the originally proposed limit of 250 million. On Monday, organisers also revealed the official logo.
Czech singer Daniel Landa has cancelled a tour which had been scheduled in major cities across the Czech Republic next year, citing security reasons. He made the announcement at a press conference on Monday, suggesting he could not justify bringing together large groups of people at concerts as details about his involvement in a secret project emerged. The singer claimed he had worked for the last seven years with members of the international Afghan community which is fighting Islamic State. He said he was due to consult details with Czech politicians and the intelligence services. As a performer Daniel Landa has sold 1.2 million records in the Czech Republic; in the late 1980s he co-founded a now long-defunkt skinhead band which was accused of racial overtones. The band denied the accusations and claimed that their music was misunderstood.