The Civic Democrats want to include a proposal to provide scholarships for Czech students to attend top universities abroad in the new coalition agreement. The Hospodařské noviny daily reported that according to the proposal the scholarships would be given to high achievers who will be interested in studying subjects that are useful for public administration. Experts estimate that the government could send up to five students a year to study abroad, which would cost around ten million crowns from the annual budget.
Results of a poll by the PPF Factum agency that were released on Thursday show Miloš Zeman as the leading presidential candidate, for the first time since January. According to the poll Mr Zeman would receive 25.6 percent of the vote, with Jan Fischer trailing closely behind with 25 percent. Mr Fischer was ahead in all the previous polls, but also by a relatively small margin. According to the current Factum poll, vice-chairman of the Social Democratic Party Jiří Dienstbier is in third place with 10.6 percent.
The Václav Lídl gallery in Prague’s Vinohrady opened an exhibit of photographs of Czech presidents, from Tomáš G. Masaryk to the current presidential race. The exhibit includes photographs by famous photographers and some taken by amateurs. In total, some 11 thousand pictures are on display at the gallery .
The Czech Republic took 17th place among EU member countries in terms of its GDP per capita for last year, according to figures released by Eurostat. It improved by one place from the previous year, moving ahead of Greece. The Czech Republic has lower GDP per capita than three of the 12 newest EU member states – Cyprus, Malta and Slovenia.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has strongly condemned Wednesday’s launch of
a North Korean long-range missile. In a written statement, the ministry
said the launch was a “provocative act” which was contrary to North
Korea’s international obligations and which seriously violated a
resolution by the UN Security Council. The ministry urged the country to
immediately comply with all its international obligations and to implement
the relevant Security Council resolutions.
North Korea launched its Unha-3 rocket at around 10 AM local time with the state objective of carrying satellite to orbit. However, the country is banned by a UN resolution from conducting missile tests.
President Vaclav Klaus on Wednesday appointed three new ministers to office within a planned cabinet reshuffle. The head of the Civic Democrats’ deputies group in the lower house Zbynek Stanjura took up the post of transport minister, while Deputy Prime Minister Karolína Peake now heads the defense ministry. Her place at the head of the government’s legislative council was filled by her deputy Petr Mlsna. There are plans to eventually merge the transport ministry with that of trade and industry which would be run by a Civic Democrat.
The Czech Republic might no longer insist on vetoing the eurozone’s planned banking union, Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek said on Wednesday. The Czech government opposes the plan over concerns it could rid the Czech central bank of its authority over foreign banks’ Czech subsidiaries. But Mr Kalousek said that if new legislation proposed by the EU legal service is approved, these concerns would no longer be justified and the Czech Republic would no longer be opposed the planned banking union. EU leaders are set to discuss the issue at a meeting in Brussels at the end of the week.
Judges and prosecutors might not be receiving salaries as of next month due to a legislative snag. The lower house of Parliament on Wednesday failed to approve legislation which would, among other things, introduce new rules for the calculation of salaries. MPs voted down the bill because it would also tax their benefits. The Czech government is set to discuss the situation later on Wednesday. The current system of remunerating judges and prosecutors has been abolished by the Czech Constitutional Court as of the end of the year.
In a debate on the draft state budget for 2013 in the lower house of Parliament on Wednesday, MPs came up with proposals to move more than 10 billion crowns within the budget. If approved, the changes would raise teachers’ salaries and increase support for social services, sports, and other areas. Deputies also proposed to use some 500 million crowns, earmarked for the servicing of the state debt, for incentives for the film industry, an idea Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek said was unfortunate. The final vote on the budget is scheduled for next week.
The population of the Czech Republic increased slightly over the first nine months of this year, according to the Czech Statistical office. At the end of September, the country had 10,513.209 inhabitants which was some 7,800 more than last December. The growth in population is mainly owed to immigration; some 6,200 foreigners settled in the Czech Republic between January and September which was 7,700 people less than in the same period last year.