Speaking in Brussels, the Czech minister of finance, Miroslav Kalousek, said on Tuesday that the Czech Republic would only agree to the creation of a European Union banking supervisory body if the bloc granted extra powers to national regulators. Mr. Kalousek said Prague wanted a commitment that the Czech National Bank would have the final authority in the case that a daughter company of an international bank was transformed into a branch, as branches do not come under national regulators. He pointed out that over 90 of the Czech banking sector was owned by the daughter companies of banks based in the eurozone.
According to official figures released on Tuesday, the average salary in the Czech Republic rose to CZK 24,514 in the third quarter of this year, representing an increase of 1.4 percent year-on-year. However, given that consumer prices grew by 3.3 percent in the third quarter, wage-earners were worse off than in the same period in 2011. Analysts said they had not expected such a marked fall in real incomes.
The Chamber of Deputies voted on Tuesday to lift the parliamentary immunity of the Civic Democrats’ Roman Pekárek. Mr. Pekárek had been in the process of appealing a six-year jail term for corruption when he gained a seat in the Chamber of Deputies due to the resignation of a party colleague. Some 158 of 161 deputies present in the lower house voted to strip him of his immunity, meaning that his appeal proceeding can now go ahead. Mr. Pekárek says he is innocent and has rejected calls for him to quit the lower house.
The consumption of marijuana among young Czechs fell last year, according to a new report by the National Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. Some 16.1 percent of those in the 16 to 34 age category told researchers they had consumed the country’s most commonly used illicit drug in 2011, down from 20 percent the year before. At the same time, the number of what are referred to as problem drug users grew slightly, the report found.
The Czech president Václav Klaus and his Hungarian counterpart János Áder said after a meeting in Budapest on Tuesday that their countries had a shared interest in expanding their nuclear power plants. Mr. Klaus said the two states would defend their nuclear policies in a Europe that was behaving irrationally. Austria has criticised both the Czech Republic and Hungary’s use of nuclear energy, and the Czech president said he was disquieted by any Austrian protests against plans to expand the Temelín plant in south Bohemia. He was in Hungary on the first day of a two-day state visit.
The minister of finance, Miroslav Kalousek, will on Wednesday present the cabinet with information on which international airlines have expressed interest in taking over Czech Airlines, or ČSA. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance said on Tuesday that the information would only concern possible interest in taking part in the privatisation of the Czech national carrier; price and other aspects would be addressed in a future phase of the process. A previous attempt to sell off ČSA in 2009 was not successful.
The Czech defence minister, Alexandr Vondra, says Sweden has offered the Czech Republic a new deal to lease 14 Gripen fighter planes that is 10 percent cheaper than an offer made in the summer. The Czech prime minister, Petr Nečas, had previously said that his government might launch a new tender process for fighter jets if the two sides could not agree a deal. Mr. Vondra is stepping down at the end of the week.
Fire officers were called out on Tuesday morning to put out a fire at the Czech National Library at Prague’s Clementinum. The small fire – which broke out in a kitchen in the administrative section of the library – did not cause any injuries. The damages are being assessed. A spokesperson for the Prague fire service said that the cause appeared to be an electrical fault. The National Library is currently undergoing renovations.
Archaeologists have found rare medieval artefacts in the courtyard of a building on Loretánská St. in the Prague Castle complex that should in future house the Václav Havel Library. The excavations have uncovered human bones, ceramics and coins from the era of Vratislaus II of Bohemia. The protected building was purchased for the Havel Library by the wealthy businessman Zdeněk Bakala. Some conservationists have objected to the project, which has yet to receive a construction permit.
The heavy metal musician Randy Blythe has been charged in Prague with causing bodily harm with lethal consequences. The frontman of the group Lamb of God is accused of pushing a fan from the stage during a concert in the city in 2010, resulting in his death. Blythe, who is currently in the US, spent five weeks on remand in Prague earlier this year before being released on bail. If found guilty, he could receive a five- to 10-year jail term.