President Miloš Zeman met with the chairwoman of the European Trade Union Confederation Bernadette Ségol on Monday and voiced his support for the confederation’s proposal for a single EU-wide corporate tax of 25 percent. Prime Minister Petr Nečas strongly disagreed with the president’s position and said that his government is against the harmonization of direct taxation. President Zeman also agreed with the trade union confederation on progressive taxation, and the need to increase investment that could create jobs as well as the introduction of a guaranteed minimum wage across the European Union countries.
A former employee of the ABL security agency, formerly owned by Public Affairs leader Vít Bárta, was in possession of illegally acquired records of phone calls made by a manager at the company CEZ, Mladá fronta Dnes reported on Monday, referring to a report by the General Inspectorate of the Security Forces. The records originated with a police officer who is currently facing abuse of power charges, the newspaper said. Representatives of the security firm, which is now called Mark2 Corporation, deny the charge. Mr. Bárta, who founded the company and ran it when the alleged transgressions took place, served as a government minister before his party Public Affairs became involved in a number of scandals and was forced into the opposition.
Czech Radio’s Vltava station will place recordings of the first volume of The Good Soldier Švejk on their website. Responding to enormous interest from their listeners in the audio adaptation of Jaroslav Hašek’s classic, the station decided to make the recording by the famous Czech actor Oldřich Kaiser available for a longer period of time than the normal week. The Švejk readings, which first aired in May, will be on the station’s website from 10 June to 30 July.
Water levels on the Vltava and Labe rivers, which became swollen last week
after heavy rainfall, are continuing to fall. However, with storms and
persistent rain due until Tuesday, the risk of flooding remains in some
parts of Bohemia. Local authorities have been ordered to keep flood
defences in place and there have been warnings that some places already
inundated could be affected again, with the saturated terrain making flash
floods a possibility.
At the same time, thousands of people evacuated last week have been returning home. Ten deaths were recorded in connection with last week’s floods and material damages have been put at billions of crowns.
The Czech Army on Sunday doubled the number of troops deployed to help deal with the effects of flooding in several parts of Bohemia. Some 340 soldiers are now assisting in cleanup operations and other work, such as the building of a humanitarian centre to accommodate evacuees and rescue workers, a spokesperson for the General Staff said. Hundreds more troops will be deployed when water levels recede further in the Ústí nad Labem region, which has been one of the areas hardest hit by flooding.
Prague’s transport authority reopened all of the stations in the city’s metro system at 15:00 on Sunday. The metro’s operators had previously said they would open on Monday the remaining stations closed since the threat of flooding began last week. An official said the authority wished to accommodate people returning to the capital after the weekend. Flood-prevention barriers will remain in the vestibules of some stations.
Alongside CZK 4 billion already earmarked for dealing with the impact of the floods, the government will release more funding for that purpose, the Prime Minister Petr Nečas said on a TV debate show on Sunday. Mr. Nečas said that would not necessitate an increase in taxation, special budgetary measures or exceeding the state budget deficit set for this year. Alongside the CZK 4 billion mentioned, the government said last week it was setting aside CZK 1.3 billion from the State Fund for Transport Infrastructure for post-flood projects.
Prime Minister Nečas says he believes agreement will be reached between
President Miloš Zeman and Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg over the
appointment of ambassadors. Speaking on Sunday, Mr. Nečas said in the past
compromises had been reached between the head of state, the PM and the
foreign minister on naming envoys, adding that the dispute appeared trivial
in the light of the flood situation.
Mr. Zeman and Mr. Schwarzenberg (who the former defeated in presidential elections) have been at loggerheads for some time over the president’s wish to see Livia Klausová, the wife of his predecessor, named ambassador to Bratislava, and Communist MEP Vladimír Remek made ambassador to Russia.
Nearly 20,000 fans attended a charity testimonial game for former Czech soccer international Marek Jankulovski at Ostrava’s Bazaly stadium on Saturday. Members of the Czech squad that reached the semi-finals of Euro 2004, of which the left back/winger was a member, lined up against a selection that included some of his former teammates from AC Milan, including Gennaro Gattuso. Jankulovski, 36, won the 2007 Champions League and one Serie A title with Milan and scored 11 times in 77 games for the Czech national team.
The Czech Republic’s Central Flood Commission has warned that more flooding may occur around the country as storms are forecast for the coming days. Speaking after a commission meeting on Saturday, Prime Minister Petr Nečas said that land was still saturated in many areas and further flooding could occur very quickly, perhaps in places that have just been inundated. He also said there was a danger of landslides. Almost a week after flooding began in several parts of Bohemia, Mr. Nečas said the good news was the country was functioning well. Nearly 20,000 people were evacuated last week and 10 people died, while material damage has been estimated in the billions of crowns.