Possible conflict of interest involving the Czech prime minister, Andrej
Babiš, will be discussed at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on
Wednesday evening. MEPs are due to vote on a resolution on the matter on
Thursday. The motion was submitted by the European Greens with the support
of the European People’s Party.
A leaked European Commission report found that the Czech PM was in conflict of interest over EU moneys handed out to his Agrofert conglomerate.
Critics say that although Mr. Babiš placed Agrofert in a trust fund he remains the beneficial owner, in breach of Czech and EU law. He denies any wrongdoing.
Czech car makers expect to make over 1.4 million vehicles in 2018 and to
equal or slightly surpass last year’s record output, the head of the
Automotive Industry Association, Bohdan Wojnar, said on Tuesday.
Manufacturers produced 1.3 million cars between January and November this
Mr. Wojnar said the country’s auto industry had expanded this year but the tempo of growth had slowed. He said manufacturers needed to work on a long-term vision to be able to respond to changes in electro-mobility, digitalisation and new business models.
Government leaders ANO would have won elections around the turn of the
month with 29.5 percent of the vote, suggests a new opinion poll from the
Median agency. That figure is very close to what ANO received in elections
in October 2017. The Civic Democrats figured second in the poll with 13.5
percent backing and the Pirate Party placed third on 13.0 percent.
The poll suggests Freedom and Direct Democracy would receive 10 percent of the vote, ahead of the Social Democrats on 7.5 percent and the Communists on 7.0 percent.
The Mayors and Independents enjoy 6.0 percent backing, compared to the Christian Democrats on 5.5 percent and TOP 09 are hovering around the 5.0 percent threshold needed to enter Parliament, the survey indicates.
Only around half of Czech fathers have made use of the opportunity to take
a one-week break with financial assistance following the birth of a child,
Czech Television reported on Tuesday. The information from the country’s
social welfare service is for the first three-quarters of 2018. Legislation
providing for such assistance was brought in at the start of the year.
The group League of Open Men say the benefit received is not attractive for men on higher salaries or the self-employed. Such fathers were more likely to just take a week off work, a representative said.
The Czech Republic and France are holding breakfasts with human rights and
democracy campaigners at their embassies around the world on Tuesday. The
meetings commemorate a famous breakfast at Prague’s French Embassy on
December 9, 1988, when then French president Francois Mitterrand held talks
with Czechoslovak dissidents that were seen as a significant gesture of
The Czech minister of foreign affairs, Tomáš Petříček, said the aim was to support today’s dissidents in repressive states.
Mr. Petříček attended a breakfast at the French Embassy in Prague with dissidents from Belarus, Azerbaijan, Burma, Vietnam and Cuba.
Similar events have been taking place at Czech and French embassies in Armenia, Burma, Moldova, Russia and Cuba.
The European Court of Human Rights has rejected a petition taken by Czech
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš against Slovakia in a dispute centred on the
files of the StB, the Communist-era secret police. Mr. Babiš says he is
wrongfully listed as an agent of the StB in records held by Slovakia’s
Nation’s Memory Institute, which administers such materials.
The Bratislava-born politician took legal action against the institute six years ago and Slovak courts initially found in his favour. However, the country’s Constitutional Court subsequently ruled against him and he then took the matter to Strasbourg.
Mr. Babiš said on Tuesday that he would continue to fight the allegation in Slovakia. He told reporters he would win in the end as he had never signed on to collaborate with the StB.
The number of British nationals filing requests for Czech citizenship has
been steadily rising since the Brexit vote, Czech Television reported.
While in 2015 the Czech Interior Ministry registered five requests for Czech citizenship from British nationals, in 2016 it had 42 such requests.
The interest is mainly from British citizens with Czech roots and British citizens residing in the Czech Republic who fear that after Brexit they would lose the right to travel and work in the EU.
The number of requests from British nationals for long-term residence in the Czech Republic has also risen by a thousand as compared to 2015.
MEP Jan Zahradil is to lead the centre-right Civic Democratic Party in the
European elections in May of 2019. The party leadership confirmed the
nomination on Monday.
Zahradil, who defines himself as "pro-EU, but anti-federalist“ will be contesting a seat in the fourth successive European elections.
At a press briefing in Prague on Monday Zahradil outlined his vision of a multi-speed Europe in which member states are free to pursue the measure of integration that best suits their interests. Zahradil has served as an MEP since 2004.
The Senate’s Committee for Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security is to
meet in a closed session to debate President Zeman’s recent criticism of
the Czech counterintelligence service, the BIS. The meeting was called by
the committee’s chairman Pavel Fisher, who said the president’s words
were damaging the country’s reputation and public trust in its
In response to the counterintelligence service’s annual report in which it warns of heightened activities on the part of Russian and Chinese agents, the president made derogatory remarks about its performance, saying the report failed to present any evidence to back its claims and described it as “blather”.
Michal Koudelka, head of the national counterintelligence service BIS, sharply rejected the president’s claim that the BIS was “sleeping on the job”, saying that this year the service had helped expose and dismantle a Russian intelligence service operating in the country.
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