News Website: Jourová a step closer to being nominated as European commissioner

19-07-2014 14:43 | Jan Velinger

The ANO movement's Minister for Regional Development, Věra Jourová, appears to be a step closer to being nominated by the ruling coalition for post of Czech EU commissioner, according to news website iDNES. Social Democrat Interior Minister Michal Chovanec told the daily the Social Democrats would put the interests of the country ahead of their own; the party had been pushing for the nomination of former finance minister Pavel Mertlík. But there was speculation that a female candidate would more likely gain traction within a new commission headed by new head Jean-Claude Juncker. The heads of the three parties in government was to finalise the name before the regular cabinet meeting on Monday.

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Leader of nationalist party questioned by police

29-04-2016 12:04 | Daniela Lazarová

Adam Bartoš, the leader of a fringe far-right National Democracy party has been questioned by the police in connection with statements he made at a Prague rally against Islam. Bartoš slammed the Czech government for its “soft” policy on the migrant issue saying the politicians in office were traitors who deserved the ultimate punishment. The head of the National Democracy party spent the night in detention while the police searched his home and office confiscating documents and computers. 

German police say more migrants being smuggled through Czech Republic

29-04-2016 11:49 | Daniela Lazarová

Following the closure of the Balkans route German police have noted a rise in the number of refugees being smuggled across the Czech-German border, the German daily Passauer Neue Presse reported. Since Monday German police are reported to have detained 14 groups of refugees who had been smuggled to Bavaria. In one case a group of 16 people had been left standing on the road just inside German territory while the people smugglers quickly turned back to escape being arrested. A German expert on migration told the Focus Online news site that in connection with Austria’s tightened migrant policy the Czech Republic should prepare for increased pressure as migrants seek alternative routes to get to Germany. 

Czech police officers leaving for Lesbos to help with migrant crisis

29-04-2016 11:34 | Daniela Lazarová

Twenty-nine Czech police officers are leaving for the Greek island of Lesbos on Friday where they will join an international team serving under the European agency Frontex. The group is to help escort refugees from Greece back to Turkey under the conditions of an agreement between the EU and Turkey. Eleven other Czech officers are already there and are helping to register migrants. There are currently some 4,000 refugees on the island. 

Czech confidence in EU drops to new post 2003 low

29-04-2016 08:25 | Chris Johnstone

Czech confidence in the European Union has fallen to its lowest level since the country voted to join the political and economic grouping in a referendum in 2003, according to a survey. The survey by the CVVM company shows that now around just over a third of Czechs, 38 percent to be precise, say they now have confidence in the EU. A year earlier the confidence percentage was 52 percent. The rapid fall since then is largely due to the EU’s perceived handling of the immigration crisis. The Czech Republic joined the EU in 2004. 

President Zeman clouds Czech foreign policy: Association for International Affairs

29-04-2016 08:24 | Chris Johnstone

The Prague-based Association for International Affairs has identified President Miloš Zeman as one of the most problematic factors in the country’s foreign affairs. In its annual assessment of the past year and pointers for the current one, the association highlighted how Zeman put himself out on a limb by attending end of WWII ceremonies in Moscow and Beijing. Some of his statements conflicted clearly with government policy. The prime minister and foreign minister should clearly distance themselves from Zeman’s stances otherwise Czech foreign policy would be unreadable for outsiders, the assessment added. The assessment said attempts to build a strategic dialogue with Germany and South Korea were pluses. On the immigrant crisis though, the Czech Republic was too often reactive, isolationist, and short on positive proposals to strengthen the Schengen area or tackle the crisis, it added. 

ČEZ seeks to bolster safety checks following Dukovany problems

28-04-2016 17:53 | Chris Johnstone

Czech electricity giant ČEZ says it is has relocated and cut pay of some workers responsible for failures at its Dukovany nuclear plant last year which resulted in drawn out outages at reactors. The state-controlled company also said that it changing safety check procedures after a sub-contractor was found to have carried out flawed X-ray checks on pipe welds at reactors. ČEZ says around 100 new specialists will be hired at the reactors, a lot more work will be handed to daughter company ÚJV Řež, and steps will be taken to limit sub-contractors from re-sub-contracting work. 

Chinese company signs 1.0 billion crown investment deal for Sokolov

28-04-2016 16:44 | Chris Johnstone

The Chinese auto and farm machinery producer Shijiazhuang Zhogxing group has signed an agreement with Czech company Czech Industry Group which includes the investment of 1.0 billion crowns in a new plant near the West Bohemian town of Sokolov to make car discs. The Chinese company is one biggest producers of such discs in the world. The new factory is expected to employ 100 initially, eventually rising to 200 people. There is an above average unemployment rate of around 8.6 percent around Sokolov. 

Czech president visits scandal linked Stork’s Nest farm

28-04-2016 13:53 | Chris Johnstone

President Miloš Zeman has visited the notorious Stork’s Nest farm linked to ANO leader and minister of finance, Andrej Babiš. The farm was at the centre earlier this year of a scandal over whether Babiš, the owner of the massive agro-chemical group Agrofert, wrongly claimed European funds for the conversion of the complex. Babiš eventually told a special session of the lower house that the farm was owned by his daughters and son-in-law. The president’s visit is being taken as a sign of close links between Babiš and Zeman and their possible mutual support in upcoming election battles. The use of funds for the farm is still being investigated by a European fraud squad. 

Javelin medal hope Barbora Špotáková’s comeback delayed

28-04-2016 13:04 | Chris Johnstone

The comeback of one of the biggest Czech hopes for a gold medal in the Summer Olympics is encountering some problems. Javelin record holder Barbora Špotáková is still unable to train regularly after a bone fracture suffered in March. The athlete had been hoping to take part in her first major Diamond League appearance of the season at Qatar next week but that has now been cancelled. She now expects to compete at the earliest in June. 

Record seizure of drug for Pervitin production made at Polish border

28-04-2016 13:02 | Chris Johnstone

Customs officers in the Liberec region in the north of the country say they have made a major swoop on Polish exports of drugs used to manufacture the illegal drug Pervitin. The stopped a vehicle crossing the border from Poland with a consignment of 50,000 tablets of the anti-cold drug Cirrus. The drug, only on available on prescription in the Czech Republic but on open sale in Poland, is popular to make the illegal drug. The single seizure exceeds the entire haul of Cirrus in the Liberec region for 2015. It’s estimated around 4 million Cirrus tablets are imported from Poland into the Czech Republic every year. Much of the pervitin produced is then sold in Germany. 


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