The European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, has opened an inquiry into
whether the EU authorities are withholding or delaying the release of
information as regards a case involving Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš
The investigation, which concerns important European Commission documents, was opened following an initiative by Czech senator Lukáš Wagenknecht (Pirate Party), the news site neovlivni.cz reports.
The site refers to correspondence between EU Budget Commissioner Günther Oettinger and Mr Babiš and a request to audit on how the conglomerate Agrofert, which the billionaire Czech politician founded and placed in a trust after taking office, received European subsidies.
This inquiry, opened a few days ago, aims to determine whether the EC is refusing or delaying important information in this regard, and if so, why.
The Pirate Party said last week they plans to sue the EC for failing to decide on complaints over the alleged conflict of interests of Mr Babiš regarding EU subsidies to Agrofert.
Over half of Czechs boys and girls finishing secondary school this year say
they are not interested in politics but will vote in the upcoming European
This is according to a poll of 548 students of voting-age conducted by the Tutor agency in April and released on Wednesday.
Nearly six in ten students (58 percent) said they were not interested in politics, yet the same percentage of those eligible to vote said they would do so. Some 39 percent said they did not plan to vote and 3 percent said they were not sure if they would.
The EU elections take place in the Czech Republic this coming Friday and Saturday (May 24-25). The results will be made public on Sunday evening. In the previous elections five years ago, turnout was only 18.2 percent.
The Constitutional Court has rejected a complaint from 2017 by a group of
57 MPs over sections of laws relating to retention of traffic and location
data by telecommunications groups.
Currently, operators must store such data for at least six months and turn it over to police or secret services upon request.
Using the data investigators can determine whether certain people have communicated with each other by phone and e-mail. The obligation does not concern the content of calls and text messages.
Critics say current Czech law violates people’s rights to privacy and provides inadequate guarantees against their data being misused.
Football clubs Slavia Prague and Baník Ostrava face each other on
Wednesday evening in the Czech Cup soccer final, known as the MOL Cup, in
the Moravian city of Olomouc.
Slavia, this year’s First League champions, have won the cup four times. Baník Ostrava have won the competition only once before – in Olomouc, in the year 2005.
A Baník victory would also see the Moravian-Silesian club qualify for the preliminary round of next season’s Europa League.
The latest OECD forecast predicts the Czech economy will grow 2.6 percent
this year, down from 2.9 percent in 2018. The Paris-based organisation
expects Czech GDP growth of 2.5 percent next year.
The main drivers for growth include household consumption, buoyed by rising average salaries, and a positive foreign trade balance. On the downside are chronic labour shortages and weaker demand for Czech exports.
The OECD again called on the Czech government to invest more especiallly in transport infrastructure, to better link the country with important trading partners, and in education.
Although Czech tertiary educated adults are highly skilled, tertiary attainment rates in the Czech Republic rank in the lowest 20 percent of OECD countries.
Czech authorities have discovered tonnes more salmonella-contaminated
chicken meat was imported from Poland over the past two months.
The Polish chicken meat was first shipped to about a dozen distributors in Germany, the State Veterinary Office said on Wednesday. Most likely, all of it has already been consumed, it said.
Earlier this year bad Polish beef ended up in 11 countries, including the Czech Republic. In response, authorities here implemented blanket checks on imported Polish beef.
The mandatory controls ended in late March, after Warsaw guaranteed no cattle meat unfit for human consumption would reach the market.
The former Czech international goalkeeper Petr Čech will become sporting
director of Chelsea following his retirement next week, the UK TV station
Sky Sports reported on Tuesday. Čech enjoyed enormous success with Chelsea
before joining Arsenal, for whom he will make his last appearance in the
final of the Europa League – against Chelsea – next week.
Čech tweeted after the Sky Sports report was published that he would be making a decision about his future after the game. He is the most capped Czech international ever and has won four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups and, in international competition, one Champions League and one Europa League title.
The fourth in a weekly series of protests against Prime Minister Andrej
Babiš and his appointment of Marie Benešová as justice minister took
place in Prague on Tuesday evening. Whereas previous demonstrations were
focused on Old Town Square the latest took place on the larger Wenceslas
Square. Organisers Million Moments for Democracy said around 50,000 people
had taken part.
As well as demanding the removal of Mrs. Benešová and the safeguarding of an independent judiciary, the protests’ organisers have called on Mr. Babiš to take part in a TV debate. He has refused to do so.
Million Moments for Democracy say unless their demands are met they will hold further demonstrations around the country next Tuesday and another one in Prague in a fortnight’s time.
Mr. Babiš appointed Mrs. Benešová as minister of justice days after police recommended he face trial for the alleged abuse of EU subsidies.
The Czech Republic have beaten Switzerland 5:4 in their final group game at
the World Ice Hockey Championships in Slovakia. The Swiss opened the
scoring but the Czechs pulled ahead. However, Switzerland then evened the
scoring at 4:4 before a goal by Jan Rutta gave the Czechs victory.
The Czech Republic now go forward to the knock-out phase of the competition. Tuesday’s result means that they have a chance of remaining in Bratislava for the quarter-finals instead of having to travel to the second city hosting the competition, Košice.