The Social Democrats cannot support the proposed draft state-budget for
2020, party leader Jan Hamáček told reporters on Wednesday. According to
Mr. Hamáček, the five Social Democrat-led ministries, including the
Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Social Affairs, would fall short of 20
Mr Hamáček says the proposed state budget would not allow the government to fulfil its promises, as stated in its policy program. While the Social Democrats don’t want to increase the proposed 40 billion crown deficit, they argue that the state budget income is undervalued.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said the budget negotiations, led by Finance Minister Alena Schillerová, would continue until the end of September
Deputy minister René Schreier is to be named as interim minister of
culture. His appointment was announced by outgoing department head Antonín
Staněk and Prime Minister Andrej Babiš on Wednesday, Mr. Staněk’s last
day in office.
Mr. Babiš said Mr. Schreier will hold the reins at the ministry until President Miloš Zeman decides on whether to appoint the Social Democrats’ nominee Michal Šmarda. The party have threatened to quit the government if Mr. Zeman rejects their candidate.
Legal expert Jan Kysela told Novinky.cz that the absence of a minister was in contravention of the constitution and the Competence Act. Though deputy ministers have taken over at government departments in the past it is still wrong, Mr. Kysela said.
Viktoria Plzeň have been knocked out in the second qualifying round of
football’s Champions League by Olympiakos. After a 0:0 draw in the first
leg in West Bohemia last week Plzeň lost 4:0 away to the Greek side on
Coach Pavel Vrba’s charges will now face Antwerp in the second-tier Europa League. The first leg of their third qualifying round tie takes place in Belgium on Thursday next week.
Plzeň last season reached the Champions League group stage for the third time.
The Czech government has approved CZK 2.5 billion for the non-state owners
of forestry affected by a major bark beetle infestation in recent years,
the Ministry of Agriculture said on Tuesday. The money is intended to
compensate for the lower price of wood caused by the bark beetle crisis and
will be available this and next year.
The minister of agriculture, Miroslav Toman, said the price of coniferous wood had fallen sharply in the last two years. For this reason forestry owners do not currently possess funding for renewal and cultivation. The funding is not intended to fund the felling of damaged trees, he said.
The Roads and Motorways Directorate has launched a tender process for a
contract to remove almost 200 billboards from the side of Czech motorways.
Around 1,000 roadside billboards have already been taken down since a ban
on them came in almost two years ago, but several hundred remain.
Directorate spokesperson Jan Studecký said the new tender was the biggest yet. There were around 1,500 billboards by Czech motorways when they were prohibited in September 2017. Of that number, 845 have been removed by their owners. However, owners continue to erect new ones or to bring back old ones and move still others, Mr. Studecký said.
The outgoing minister of culture, Antonín Staněk, has blamed his own
party the Social Democrats for the protracted way in which he is being
replaced. Mr. Staněk, whose last day in office is Wednesday, said the
party should not insist on a candidate to whom President Miloš Zeman is
opposed. The soon to be ex minister first offered his resignation to the
head of state in May, but it was only accepted on Monday.
The Social Democrats insist that the post of arts minister go to their candidate Michal Šmarda and have threatened to exit the government if their wish is not respected.
However, Mr. Zeman is opposed to Mr. Šmarda’s appointment. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš says the president will decide on the matter by mid-August.
The Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, has signalled a change of attitude
toward a European Union plan to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by the
year 2050. Speaking in Brussels on Monday, Mr. Babiš said that bringing
about carbon neutrality in the Czech Republic would require billions of
crowns in investment. He said his government had ideas about how to acquire
supplementary funds to achieve the EU target.
At an EU summit last month the Czech leader described carbon neutrality as nonsense and asked why a decision should be made 31 years in advance on what would happen in 2050.
On Monday Mr. Babiš said the Czech Republic needed the freedom to base its energy production mix on nuclear power. He said he wanted to start a broader debate so that China, India, Russia and the US respected the Paris Agreement.
Czech police have charged a second person for expressing approval of the
terrorist attack on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand in March, the
Czech News Agency reported. Martin Bílý from the Supreme State
Attorney’s Office in Prague said both cases were in the preparatory stage
so no further information would be released.
The accused could face up to 15 years in prison and the seizure of their property if found guilty of the online support and promotion of terrorism.
Newspaper Deník N. reported on the first such criminal charges in May. It said at the time that police were investigating another four internet postings linked to the Christchurch attacks, in which an Australian right-wing terrorist killed 51 people.
The Prague 2 District Court has rejected a compensation claim made by
Russian anarchist Igor Shevcov, who was cleared of an arson attack on the
home of then foreign minister Martin Stropnický, Aktuálně.cz reported.
Mr. Shevcov faced additional charges of involvement in the spray painting a
prison wall but was also found innocent on that count.
He was seeking 1.4 million in compensation but the claim was rejected on statute of limitation grounds.
Mr. Shevcov was held in custody for three months after his arrest in 2015. Following his release the Ministry of Justice awarded him CZK 360,000 over the unlawful handling of his case.