Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček presented the opening address at a
three-day international conference titled Prague European Summit that began
in the Czech capital on Monday.
This year’s conference is subtitled Europe at a Crossroads and the panel debates will afford an opportunity to analyze the outcome of the European elections and consider where the EU is heading.
Other areas of debate will focus on European competitiveness, artificial intelligence, rule of law, the Eurozone and Brexit.
The Prague European Summit, which has been an annual event since 2015, will also hear an address by the Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš.
Russian crude oil deliveries to the Czech Republic, via the Druzba
pipeline, were renewed at mid-day on Monday, according to the pipeline’s
state management. The month-long fall out, which affected a number of
countries, was caused due to contamination of the oil with high levels of
The oil refinery in Litvinov which processes Russian crude oil was forced to request two loans from the Administration of State Material Reserves. The price of petrol on the market was not affected.
Social Democrat leader Jan Hamáček, whose party suffered a humiliating
defeat in the European elections, has said he would not be stepping down
over the debacle, nor making any changes in the party leadership.
Hamáček said the new leadership had not had time to shift course since the party’s relatively recent election conference and that it would analyze and address the reasons behind the party’s defeat.
Losing four seats in the European Parliament is a bad blow and the party clearly needs to make a strong restart, Hamáček said. He said the party would now focus on preparing for the regional elections in the fall of next year.
In the European elections the Social Democrats only gained 3.9 percent of the vote, meaning they will not be represented in the EU Parliament.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has confirmed that his party would support
Věra Jourová for the post of EU commissioner. However he said his party
would prefer for the Czech Republic to get a different portfolio,
preferably that of commissioner for internal market and services.
Mr. Babiš said he would discuss the matter with his coalition partner, the Social Democrats, and was ready to consider any candidate they would put forward.
Věra Jourová has served as EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš from the ANO Party which won the elections to
the European Parliament with 21.18 percent of the vote, told reporters on
Monday that the Social Democrats debacle in the European elections would
have no influence on the work of the coalition government.
He said he considered his party’s victory a great success in view of the fact that it had been the target of an intense and vulgar smear campaign from the media and political rivals.
The prime minister refused to comment on the Social Democrats's poor showing in the European elections
The Czech Republic’s total debt amounted to CZK 2.34 trillion at the end
of the first quarter of 2019, up by CZK 161.5 billion in annual terms,
according to the Czech Credit Bureau (CRIF) database.
The volume of non-performing debt fell by CZK 4.1 billion to CZK 32.4 billion. The number of people who had problems making consumer debt payments fell 17 percent year on year. The number of people who failed to pay their housing loans fell by 16 percent.
The average amount of short-term debt “at risk” stood at almost CZK 98,000 at the end of the first quarter of 2019. This concerns debts in which three consecutive monthly instalments were not paid or were declared due by the creditor.
Czech state-controlled power utility ČEZ reportedly plans to sell its
assets in Romania and Turkey, in addition to a previously reported plans to
divest from Bulgaria.
ČEZ chief Daniel Beneš said in an interview with the business daily Hospodářské noviny that the group is also considering selling some assets in Poland. In total, the Prague-listed company hopes to get tens of billions of crowns from the sales.
Shareholders in ČEZ, which is 70 percent owned by the state, would vote on the new strategy at the annual general meeting on June 26, he told the daily.
Proceeds would be used to construct renewable energy assets and new nuclear units as well as to the modernize ČEZ’s distribution network, he said.
The centre-right ANO party of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, as expected,
won the European Parliament elections.
ANO got 21.2% of the vote (6 seats), the Civic Democrats 14.5% (4 seats), the Pirates 13.95% (3 seats), the alliance between TOP 09 and Mayors and Independents 11.6% (3 seats), and the Christian Democrats 7.2% (2 seats).
The far-right Freedom and Direct Democracy got 9.1% (2 seats) and the largely unreformed Communists 6.9% (1 seat).
ANO's coalition partner, the left-leaning Social Democrats, failed to gain a mandate.
Competing for the 21 mandates were a record 40 parties and movements fielded in total 841 candidates in the Czech Republic. According to the Czech Statistical Office, turnout was 28.7 percent, up from 18.2 percent five years ago.
In the EU as a whole, turnout was above 50 percent, preliminary results show.
The Czech ice hockey team lost to arch-rivals Russia on Sunday night by a
score of 3-2 in sudden death, missing out on a bronze in the IIHF World
Championship in Bratislava.
Both the third period of regulation play and overtime period were scoreless. In the sudden death shootout, no Czech managed to score.
The Czechs scored two goals in the first period – Michal Řepík at 13:41 and Dominik Kubalík at 18:34. The Russians scored one goal in each of the first regulation periods – Mikhail Grigorenko at 13:00 and Artem Anisimov just 00:39 into the second period.
Canada and Finland are competing for the gold in a match later on Sunday night.
The Czech Republic won gold medals at the IIHF hockey Worlds in 1996, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, and 2010. When part of Czechoslovakia, the team won another six gold medals.