The government would have problems reducing the Czech Republic's structural deficit if it fully signed up to the European Union’s Fiscal Compact, the country’s prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, said on Wednesday. Mr. Sobotka said in order to meet its requirements the coalition would have to make cuts, which his Social Democrats would oppose, or raise taxes, which its partners ANO is against. The government approved accession to the stability treaty in March; however, it envisages taking on board the main planks of the compact only after the country adopts the euro.
The first unit of Czech soldiers taking part in an observer mission in the Sinai Peninsula is to be replaced by the end of the month, according to a spokesperson for the general staff of the Czech army. Eleven soldiers who left from Prague’s Kbely military airport on an army plane on Wednesday morning are to serve for six months with the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO), which oversees the terms of a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. The troops will use the CASA plane they flew out to carry out their mission.
The Ministry of Finance is to recommend that teachers get a 1 percent pay rise as part of next year’s budget. Finance Minister Andrej Babiš told journalists that teachers’ unions’ assertions that the government planned to freeze teachers’ salaries were untrue. Mr. Babiš said that teachers deserved a pay rise, but that the Ministry of Education would need to reduce operating costs. He and the education minister, Marcel Chládek, are due to hold talks. Representatives of teachers’ unions said on Tuesday that their members’ pay would be frozen next year, while other public servants would see higher salaries.
The prestigious 2014 Architecture Grand Prix has gone to the SIAL studio for its conversion of an early 20th century municipal spa in Liberec into a gallery and depository. An international jury selected the project from 69 entries in the competition, which is run by the Society of Czech Architects and the Czech Chamber of Architects. The jury said the conversion had succeeded in maintaining the “relationship between the historic and the new at the desired equilibrium”. Architect Zdeněk Edel, who designed the Parkhotel in Prague, received a lifetime achievement award at Tuesday evening’s prize giving ceremony in the city.
A first edition of the poem Máj by Karel Hynek Mácha is to go on sale at the Book World Prague trade fair, priced at CZK 120,000. The edition was published in 1836, the same year Mácha wrote the poem, which is considered one of the most important in the Czech language. It is the property of the owner of an antiquarian bookshop. The annual book fair gets underway at the Czech capital’s Výstaviště on Thursday.
The minister of defence, Martin Stropnický, has denied suggesting that the Czech Republic would not support the stationing of NATO troops on its territory. Mr. Stropnický made the statement in the lower house on Tuesday, a day after an interview carried by the Reuters news agency in which he said the permanent presence of NATO units on Czech soil would be a problem for a significant part of the population in view of the occupation by Soviet troops in the past. The interview was conducted in connection with the increased presence of NATO troops in member states because of the Ukraine crisis. The coalition partners blocked opposition efforts to force a debate on Mr. Stropnický’s comments
The Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, may meet US President Barack Obama later this year, Lidové noviny reported on Tuesday. Mr. Sobotka could speak to Mr. Obama at an event in Washington celebrating the legacy of Václav Havel, the newspaper said. A bust of the late president is to be unveiled at Congress in November in connection with the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, which Mr. Havel led. The US vice president, Joe Biden, will receive Mr. Sobotka after the ceremony, with Mr. Obama also due to join the meeting, Lidové noviny said, quoting its own sources.
Czech soccer team manager Pavel Vrba has called up three uncapped players for a friendly against Finland in Helsinki on May 21. Goalkeeper Marek Štěch and Sparta Prague’s Lukáš Vácha and Pavel Kadeřábek are in the squad for the first time. Captain Tomáš Rosický is also among the 18 names, though goalkeeper Petr Čech will be missing after recently undergoing surgery. Half of the squad are from the Czech league.
Teachers’ unions have criticised a government plan to freeze their salaries next year while increasing the pay of other public sector workers. Union representatives called for an increase in the overall amount allocated for teachers’ wages and said they wished to discuss their demands with the minister of finance, Andrej Babiš, and the prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka. The programme for government had promised an increase in teachers’ salaries, which last year reached an average of just under CZK 26,000 a month. The unions also want other employees working in the education sector to get a pay rise.
A court in České Budějovice has sentenced a woman to 12 years in jail for the attempted murder of her three-year-old daughter. The woman, who is 23, tried to poison the child in January this year by putting anti-freeze into her food and drink. Doctors saved the girl’s life after being called by the woman’s husband. The case is not without precedent in the Czech Republic; a woman in Karlovy Vary received a 17-year sentence for the attempted poisoning of her daughter in 2010.