The Czech Republic stands to lose the equivalent of 4-5 billion crowns due to problems in drawing money from EU funds, according to Education Minister Petr Fiala. Minister Fiala said it was now almost certain the available funds would not be drawn by the end of the year due to poorly prepared projects and delays on the Czech side. Efforts are now being made to minimize the impact of this fall out on the state budget. There are fears that the problems with drawing of EU funds could seriously impact the government’s consolidation strategy.
A military police investigation has concluded that a Czech soldier found dead at the military army base in Libava committed suicide. The 38-year-old soldier is believed to have shot himself in the head outside army barracks. A spokesman for the military police said an autopsy had confirmed the suicide theory. It is the second suicide at the Libava military base in the last 12 months.
An as yet unspecified pollutant contaminated a 20 kilometre stretch of the Hana river near the town of Nezamyslice in the early hours of Tuesday doing considerable damage to local water species. Dozens of fish are reported to have been killed despite the fact that fire brigades from three regions fought to contain the pollutant. Experts have taken samples of the dead fish to try and ascertain what killed them and who may have been responsible.
Twenty-seven German hospitals have announced they will take part in the fourth international job fair in Prague in November of this year. In addition to head hunters the hospitals are sending Czech specialists already working in Germany to provide references with regard to work conditions and pay. In 2011 over 500 highly qualified Czech specialists sought and found work abroad getting four times the salary they receive in the Czech Republic.
Czech tennis player Tomáš Berdych on Monday defeated 11th seed Nicolas Almagro of Spain 7:6, 6:4, 6:1 to reach the quarterfinals of the US Open where he will play world number one Roger Federer. The sixth seeded Czech said he would have to put in more than 100 percent performance to rout Federer in Wednesday's game.
The Czech Constitutional Court on Monday ruled that churches and religious
societies can pursue their property restitution demands at courts without
having to wait for specific legislation to be passed by Parliament. Former
church property, confiscated by the communist regime, was in 1991
by an act which said all demands would be dealt with in special
legislation. Reviewing a complaint by a Roman Catholic parish in Nový
Bydžov, in eastern Bohemia, however, the court said on Monday that since
no such law had been passed to date, churches can take the state to court
over individual demands.
The lower house of Parliament is later this week scheduled to vote on a controversial bill that would return the Roman Catholic Church and other groups some 135 billion crowns worth of property, partly in financial compensation. Some lawyers believe that Monday’s ruling by the Constitutional Court would pave the way for church property restitution even if the bill is rejected.
President Václav Klaus has appealed to MPs to reject government legislation raising the VAT rates. Speaking during his visit to a Prague elementary school on Monday, Mr Klaus said he hoped that “common sense will prevail” in Tuesday’s vote on the issue in the lower house, and that MPs would vote “responsibly” on the draft legislation. The centre-right Czech government is planning to raise the VAT rates by 1 percent to 15 and 21 percent respectively to narrow the gap in public finances. The plan has been criticized by the opposition, a number of economists including President Klaus who say the VAT hike will further deepen the recession of the Czech economy.
Health Minister Leoš Heger on Monday filed a criminal complaint over the failed project of electronic health records, or IZIP. Mr Heger said an audit of the project found that more than 450 million crowns, or nearly 23 million US dollars were lost due to irregularities in contracts between the country’s main health insurer, VZP, and the firm that managed the project. The IZIP project was launched in 2002 and cost 1.8 billion crowns. However, it was scrapped earlier this year for being ineffective and overpriced.
The real wage decreased by 1.1 percent in the second quarter of this year, according to figures by the Czech Statistical Office released on Monday. The average salary increased by 2.3 percent and reached just over 24,600 crowns; however, the real wage decreased after deducting inflation. Analysts say relatively high inflation of 3 percent along with unfavourable development on the labour market and uncertain economic outlook were the main causes of the decrease in the real wage which was higher than expected.
The makeover of Prague’s public transportation system has been reported
to have caused minor problems on Monday, the first weekday it was in force
after it was launched on Saturday. Some passengers complained about having
to transfer on previously direct lines while others said they needed
time to cover their daily routes. People also complained that some bus
stops were moved or cancelled.
As part of the biggest changes to Prague public transport in more than 30 years, some bus and tram lines have been cut while some of the major lines have been reinforced. The transport company also introduced new cross-city bus connections. The authorities hope to the makeover will cut up to 400 million crowns in costs.