All of the Czech Republic’s Roman Catholic bishops, the country’s
foreign minister, Tomáš Petříček, a group of senators and over 2,000
pilgrims are set to take part in a three-day pilgrimage to Rome that will
culminate on Tuesday. The pilgrims will be marking the 30th anniversary of
the canonisation of Saint Agnes of Bohemia by Pope John Paul II on 12
November 1989; it was also attended by many Czechs and is considered a
significant moment in the final days of the Communist regime.
During an audience on St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican on Wednesday the pilgrims will present a gift to Pope Francis in the form of the Crown of St. Agnes of Bohemia, a piece by sculptor Daniel Ignác Trubač.
The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, was among a number of international
leaders to visit Berlin on Saturday for events marking the 30th anniversary
of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Mr. Zeman and the heads of the three other
Visegrad Four states attended a gathering in the city held at a monument to
the contribution that the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary made
to the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Their German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said that without the courage of the Poles, Hungarians, Czechs and Slovaks peaceful revolutions in Eastern Europe, or the reunification of Germany, would not have been possible.
In her address Chancellor Angela Merkel quoted Václav Havel and said that no wall that divided people was high enough or long enough not to be destroyed in the end.
Mr. Zeman then returned to the Czech Republic. The country’s minister of foreign affairs, Tomáš Petříček, was due to attend celebrations in the German capital in the evening.
The first snow of this winter in the Czech Republic fell around the village
of Kvilda in the Šumava mountain range in the southwest of the country on
Friday night, iDnes.cz reported.
Forecasters said that snow showers could fall in areas higher than 900 metres above sea level, especially in Bohemia, on Saturday. They said there was also a danger of glaze on roads in some upland places, with temperatures set to fall below freezing point at night.
Most GPs in the Czech Republic have run out of flu vaccines, despite this
being the best time of year to get inoculated, Czech Television reported on
Saturday. One pharmacist told the station that the first wave of vaccines,
which had arrived in mid-October, had been sold out and finding more was
proving impossible at present. Suppliers say more vaccines should be
available from November 15.
Last winter around a million people caught influenza in the Czech Republic. Almost 200 died from complications linked to the illness.
The World Council of Subcarpathian Ruthenians have apologised to President
Miloš Zeman and the Czech public over a false claim that the head of state
had said that the Ukrainian territory of Crimea was part of Russia. The
comment was meant to have been made to the group’s delegation at an event
at Prague Castle on October 28 marking the anniversary of the independence
However, the group’s deputy leader said that “an unfortunate statement causing speculation about such a comment” had been made by a person whose membership of other associations had nothing to do with the World Council of Subcarpathian Ruthenians.
The president’s spokesman said recently that Mr. Zeman continued to regard the annexation of Crimea as unlawful.
The Prague authorities have decided to extend an experiment under which the
city centre embankment Smetanovo nábřeží, which is near Charles Bridge
on the Old Town side of the river, has been closed to traffic. The
restrictions will remain in place for another week while more data is
collected on their impact. This will be used to help weigh up long-term
closures on both banks of the Vltava.
Smetanovo nábřeží has been closed since October 29. Last Monday City Hall also closed the road between Valdštejnská St. and Újezd on the opposite side of the river to traffic.
The EU has given final approval to a proposal that will allow member states
that have a problem with carousel tax fraud to apply a generalized reversal
of VAT liability.
This is something Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has fought for for four and a half years on the argument that use of reverse charge could save the country around 80 billion crowns lost every year in unpaid VAT.
However Finance Minister Alena Schillerová said on Friday that it will take almost a year to get the respective legislation in place so that the ministry can introduce a generalized reversal of VAT liability in this country.
The EU member states who choose to do so will be able to use the generalized reverse charge mechanism only for domestic supplies of goods and services above a threshold of 17, 500 euros (around 450,000 crowns) per transaction and only up until June 30, 2022, when the outcome of the exemption will be reviewed.
Fifty-four percent of Czech households say they have no trouble meeting
their needs on their present income, according to the results of a poll
conducted by the CVVM agency. That is the highest number in 17 years when
polling on the subject first started.
Twenty-four percent of households consider themselves poor, which is two percent more than last year. Sixty-six percent of households do not consider themselves either rich or poor, but claim that they can meet their basic needs.
However only half of households have enough left at the end of the month to put money aside and a third say they cannot afford to support their elderly parents or go on foreign holidays.