One of the companies belonging to the Agrofert group, a holding founded by
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš before he entered politics, will no longer be
receiving funding from the country’s State Environmental Fund, the daily
Hospodářské Noviny reported on Wednesday, citing the fund’s Director
of the National Programmes’ Management Section Leo Steiner.
The decision to suspend the funding was made following the recent allegations of the prime minister being in a conflict of interests. Agrofert says that it made all of the necessary procedures that Czech law requests in the application process and expects to eventually receive the funds.
Social Democrat leader Jan Hamáček has criticized Prime Minister Andrej
Babiš for the way he is handling the government crisis revolving around
the culture minister.
In an interview for Czech Radio Mr. Hamáček said he would have expected more emphatic action from the prime minister in defending not only the coalition agreement but the constitutional order. “The prime minister is trying to resolve the controversy at no cost to himself, which is simply not possible,” Hamáček said, referring to Babiš’ unwillingness to enter into an open conflict with the president and use legal means to force him to do his constitutional duty.
The president’s reluctance to effect a change-of-guard at the Culture Ministry and appoint the nominee of their choice has angered the Social Democrats to the point where they have threatened to walk out of the government if their conditions are not met.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has welcomed the election of Ursula von
der Leyen as the new president of the European Commission.
In a congratulatory message on Twitter, Mr. Babiš said he was glad that a woman, and a very competent one, would take up the European Commission leadership. He said he looked forward to meeting with her in person to discuss the future of the EU.
Czech MEPs were divided in the vote with MEP’s elected for the prime minister’s ANO party, who are part of the liberal group Renew Europe, the Christian Democrats, Mayors and Independents and TOP 09, associated in the European People’s Party, supporting her, while Czech MEPs elected for other factions voting against.
A June study conducted by the Public Opinion Research Centre (CVVM) shows
that around three fifths of respondents believe they are being paid less
than they deserve at their current job, while only a third believes it
receives a sufficient salary. Furthermore, nearly 80 percent say they are
not worried of losing their job.
However, the majority of respondents said that they are happy with their current positions, despite being underpaid. Around three quarters said that they have good relations at work - a factor which CVVM says is closely related to job satisfaction.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and Social Democrat leader Jan Hamáček have
requested a meeting with President Miloš Zeman to try to resolve the
protracted crisis surrounding the change-of-guard at the Culture
Ministry.The date proposed is next week, despite the fact that the
president will still be holidaying at his country cottage at the time.
The Social Democrat leadership on Monday confirmed Michal Šmarda as the party’s nominee for culture minister and gave party leader Hamáček a stronger mandate in talks with the president and prime minister.
The party has been threatening to quit the government if the president refuses to accept its nominee for culture minister and has urged the prime minister to put pressure on the president to do his constitutional duty and appoint the man of their choice.
The ČEZ power utility, which is 70% owned by the state, will explore the
possibilities of lithium mining at Cínovec in the Ore Mountains.
The company will give European Metals Holdings (EMH), which has a prospecting license to mine lithium in the area, a loan of two million euros (51.2 million CZK) and by the end of the year, decide whether to enter the company or have the loan returned.
The Czech Republic has the biggest lithium reserves in Europe and many politicians have pushed for lithium mining in the country to be in the hands of a state-run company.
Observatories in the Czech Republic will remain open in the night hours on
Tuesday night to enable the public to view the expected partial lunar
eclipse due to start at 11.30pm.
If observation conditions are good people would also be able to glimpse the planets Jupiter and Saturn and a trace of the Milky Way. The partial eclipse should be visible from across Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa and the US.
The next partial lunar eclipse is due to take place early next year.
The police have started a criminal investigation into the financial
management of the Stork’s Nest Farm and Hotel Complex, which is part of
the Agrofert conglomerate established by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, the
news site Neovlivni.cz reported on Tuesday citing police spokeswoman Eva
According to Neovlivni, the police suspect the firm of extensive tax evasion. Agrofert spokesman Karel Hazelka said the management of the conglomerate had received no information on the case, but ruled out any financial irregularities at the firm.
Police earlier concluded an investigation into the Stork’s Nest Farm in connection with suspected EU subsidy fraud and proposed that Prime Minister Andrej Babiš be charged. The state attorney’s office dealing with the case has not yet reached any conclusion.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš who established the multi-billion crown agro-chemical empire put it into trust funds two years ago in order to meet a strict new conflict of interest law.
There are now 12,400 Czech companies based in tax havens, the fewest since
2011, after a record 405 moved operations this year, the consultancy
Many tax havens have largely ceased to perform their core functions, namely securing their owners’ anonymity and tax optimization, accord to the consultancy.
A total of 157 Czech firms left the Netherlands this year and 147 left the United States. Dozens also moved their headquarters from Cyprus (36 companies), Luxembourg (32) and the British Virgin Islands (22).
Bisnode estimates that only 2.47 percent of Czech firms are now controlled from tax havens. It says destinations such as Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates are increasingly popular.
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