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European Commission to launch proceedings against Czechs for rejection of refugee quotas


The European Commission has decided to launch proceedings against the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary for refusing to accept migrants allocated to them under a compulsory EU quota system. The news was announced by the commissioner for migration, home affairs and citizenship, Dimitris Avramopulos, in Strasbourg on Tuesday. The Czech Republic is adamant that it will not take part in the quota system, the country’s prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, told reporters. He said the Prague government had already prepared arguments with which to defend its position before the European Commission. Mr. Sobotka said the Czech Republic did not face any fines at present.

Government to sign investment contract with General Electric on plane engine plant


The Czech government will next Thursday sign an investment contract with the US company General Electric relating to a plant to develop, test and produce turboprop aircraft engines, the Czech News Agency reported on Friday. The investment was previously reported at CZK 9.5 billion. The deal will make the Czech Republic one of only five countries around the globe where aircraft engines are designed and manufactured.

V4 heads of government meeting in Poland


The heads of government of the Visegrad Four states are holding talks in Krynica, Poland to harmonize their stands on key issues ahead of next week’s informal EU summit in Bratislava, Slovakia. The summit, hosted by the presiding EU country Slovakia, is expected to focus on the future of the EU after Brexit. The heads of government of the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia will also be debating security issues, border protection and the idea of a joint European army. Within the framework of the 26th Economic Forum in Krynica, the heads of the V4 will meet with Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman.

Škoda Auto seen rolling out four new models in 2017

05-09-2016 updated

The Czech Republic’s biggest car producer Škoda Auto will roll out four new models next year, including a new version of the Yeti, according to various sources within the company cited by the agency ČTK on Monday. Other new models should be updates of the small Citigo, Rapid, and mid-range Octavia. Škoda Auto should also unveil its first plug-in hybrid car in 2019, according to the report.

Two bus drivers fight over passengers


The drivers of two rival bus firms ended up in court after getting into a fist fight in front of shocked passengers, the news site reported. The drivers each tried to reach the bus stop in the town of Janovice first in an attempt to take more passengers on board and the incident ended in a fist fight in which one of the drivers beat up the other so badly he had to be taken to hospital with broken ribs and head injuries. The aggressor was given 220 hours of community work as punishment.

Czech PM to visit Austria


Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka is to pay a two-day working visit to Austria on June 23-24th, his office announced on Friday. The prime minister will hold talks with Austrian President Heinz Fischer and Chancellor Christian Kern. The talks are expected to focus on European issues, the migrant crisis, transport infrastructure and energy security.

Court quashes ruling opening up way to Capuchin restitution claim


The Capuchin order has received a setback in its claims to reclaim a monastery at Opočno, The Supreme Court has instructed the local court to deal again with the case about the building in Eastern Bohemia. The court also quashed an earlier ruling transferring ownership from the region to the state. That move opened the way for the religious order to claim back the property under the restitution agreement between churches and the state. The Hradec Králové region has described the latest decision as a breakthrough saying that it could pave the way for the region to remain the owner.

Respekt claims Komorous’ office was behind Tibetan flag incident at FAMU


According to the weekly Respekt, the Office for Protection of Public Officials headed by Jiri Komorous was behind a highly publicized incident at Prague’s Film Faculty FAMU when two police officers allegedly asked the dean of the faculty to remove a Tibetan flag hoisted during a recent visit to Prague by the Chinese president. The weekly claims that the order came from a hi-placed officer at the Office for Protection of Public Officials. Komorous has denied the allegations saying the office would shortly make a statement. The incident has aroused fierce criticism and there have been demands for a thorough investigation.

Reuters: EPH to acquire Vattenfall's German lignite coal assets


Czech investor EPH is set to acquire Vattenfall's loss-making German lignite coal mines and associated power plants in Germany, the Reuters news agency reported on Friday citing three people familiar with the matter. The deal is expected to be signed next week, while Vattenfall's supervisory board is expected to give a final nod in about 10 days. Vattenfall and EPH both declined to comment.

Prime Minister Sobotka dismisses idea of Czech Republic leaving EU


Any proposals for the Czech Republic to potentially leave the EU were described by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka as "senseless, harmful and dangerous" on Wednesday. The prime minister and Social Democrat chairman also said EU membership was a "guarantee" of national prosperity and security, which had aided improvement of Czech society in the post-communist period. The prime minister was reacting to the debate surrounding the Brexit – a possible departure of Great Britain from the EU - if the British vote to leave in a referendum on June 23. Mr Sobotka said current debate on the Brexit would sooner or later be seized upon by extremist groups in the Czech Republic and other EU member states.