Czech Foregin Minister Tomáš Petříček and his German counterpart Heiko
Maas met in Prague on Monday, where they signed a joint Czech-German
Strategic Dialog statement to be followed for the next two years. Strategic
co-operation is to be followed in the areas of research, education,
transport, climate issues and security.
Mr. Petříček said that the Czech Republic is also looking to involve Germany more in Visegrad Four negotiations.
Věra Jourová, the European Commission Vice-President nominee, will be
asked how she can independently supervise the observance of rule of law in
the Czech Republic during her hearing in the European Parliament next
Monday, the Czech News Agency reports. Ms. Jourová, who was chosen as
European Commission Vice-President for values and transparency by the
future commission president Ursula von Der Leyen, was proposed as the Czech
candidate by the government of Andrej Babiš, who was found to be in a
conflict of interests by a preliminary EU audit in May.
Damian Boeselager, a German MEP on the Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO), told the Czech News Agency that unlike some Czech MEPs, Ms. Jourová has never opposed Mr Babiš and so it must be clear that she will not disregard any criticism regarding the rule of law in the Czech Republic.
Just as for other EU Commission candidates, Ms. Jourova’s hearing will take three hours, during which MEPs will have the opportunity to ask a total of 25 questions.
Children’s‘ rights and their treatment in Czechia have not improved
much in the past eight years, according to a new report by the Czech
Helsinki Committee, whose details were discussed at a press conference on
Monday. The document will be examined later this week by the UN’s
Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
The analysis states that care for endangered Czech children is still splintered across multiple ministries, the amount of boys and girls in foster homes, while down since 2011, is still high and children’s opinions are not always taken into account at court.
According to the Miroslav Prokeš from the Alliance for Children’s’ Rights, Czech society still sees children more as objects rather than partners.
Teaching trade unions have asked for a meeting with Prime Minister Andrej
Babiš about their planned January salary increase and remain on strike
alert, the Czech News Agency reported on Monday.
The unions originally wanted a 15 percent increase to their salaries as opposed to the government’s planned 10 percent pay rise, but have since agreed to the percentage proposed by the latter. The issue now revolves around how the extra pay should be handed out.
The unions have so far not commented on a new proposal by Education Minister Robert Plaga from the ANO party, which would see a flat pay increase of CZK 2,700 with a further CZK 900 available in bonuses.
The government previously promised to increase teachers’ salaries by 150 percent of their 2017 wages by the end of the current election term.
More than a quarter of Czechs developed their computer skills last year,
with self-study being the most popular method, according to an analysis by
the Czech Statistics Office released on Monday. The country ranks sixth in
the EU28, eight points ahead of the average score, which lies at 20
percent. Finland dominates the ranking with 64 percent of its population
between the ages of 16 to 74 improving their computer skills.
In the Czech Republic the percentage of those cultivating their information and communication technology skills depends on the age group. Among16 to 24-year-olds it is every second individual.
Czech households' debt to banks and credit unions rose by CZK 9.24
billion to almost CZK 1.713 trillion in August when compared with July
data, this according to statistics released by the Czech National Bank on
Monday. In year-on-year terms the rise was higher than CZK 101.9 billion.
The debt of non-financial corporations rose by CZK 16 billion compared to
July and currently amounted to 1.145 trillion crowns. In year-on-year
terms, this was a CZK 42 billion increase.
Household debt has been rising continuously since February 2016, with mortgages making up roughly three-quarters of the entire debt, according to the Czech National Bank.
The ANO party rose slightly in the polls in September and would receive 31
percent of the vote according to a September MEDIAN agency poll released on
Monday. At 13.5 percent the Pirates retain their position as the second
strongest party the Median survey shows, despite receiving 0.5 percent less
than in August. They are closely trailed by the Civic Democrats at 12.5
percent, whose preferences have gone down by 1 percent compared to August.
The anti-migrant Freedom and Direct Democracy party would receive 7.5 percent of the vote followed by the Social Democrats who are polling at 7 percent. The bottom three parties that are polling above the minimum level needed to enter the chamber of deputies are the Communist Party at 6.5 percent, TOP 09 and the Mayors and Independents who would both receive 5.5 percent according to the poll, meaning that all of the parties currently in the lower house would retain their representation.
The Czech police have begun the criminal prosecution of ten individuals
connected to dubious public contracts issued by the government agency
CzechTourism, which were worth an estimated CZK 27.3 million. A former
manager of one of the agency’s departments has been charged with
manipulating public tenders, while the other nine suspects with bribery.
The information was provided by the spokesman of the National Centre for
Combating Organised Crime.
The news site SeznamZprávy reported on Friday that the name of the manager is Aleš Pangrác and the charges relate to propagation contracts. He has since confirmed that charges have been brought against him, but refused to comment further.
A police raid was conducted at the Ministry for Regional Development to which CzechTourism is subordinated last November.
Over 20,000 homes, predominantly in Central Bohemia, have been left without
power due to strong winds that battered the Czech Republic in the night
Emergency crews have been working around the clock to clear roads and railway lines from fallen trees. A number of rail links have had to be scrapped and Czech Railways has arranged for a bus replacement service.
A high wind warning remains in place throughout the day. No injuries have so far been reported.