Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš says he does not expect this week’s
exceptional EU summit, set to begin on Thursday, to lead to a mutual
agreement between the 27 states on the union’s budget for 2021 to 2027.
The positions of individual member states are simply too different,
according to the Czech prime minister who has described the proposed
framework as favouring wealthier states.
European Council President Charles Michel called the summit in January, hoping member states will reach an agreement on the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework, stressing that failure to do so would jeopardise the continuation of current programs and policies as well as the launch of new ones.
The Chairman of the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia Vojtěch Filip
was taken to the General University Hospital in Prague due to a suspected
heart attack on Wednesday morning. After undergoing cardiological surgery,
he reamins in the hospital's intensive care unit, but says that he is
feeling fine and is looking forward to going to work on Friday.
As Deputy Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies he was set to swear in the newly elected Czech Ombudsman Stanislav Křeček, but had to be substituted by deputy speaker Tomio Okamura of the Freedom and Direct Democracy Party.
Mr Filip has been a member of the Czech lower-house since 1996 and was elected Communist Party leader in 2005, a post he has held ever since.
Climate change will be the focus of this year’s One World Film Festival,
the largest human rights film festival in the world which is held annually
in Prague and 36 other cities across the Czech Republic.
Festival director Ondřej Kamenický said on Wednesday that some 133 documentaries from 60 countries will be screened at the festival. He explained that this year’s festival slogan “Not till a hot January” (Až naprší a uschne) encapsulates two sides of the climate change problem – that of retaining water in the earth and the seeming indifference of current leaders to the issue.
Nearly all of the 15,000 seats for screenings in Prague have already been sold out.
The City of Prague Museum is hoping to build a new building dedicated to
archaeology exhibitions in Prague 8’s Těšnov, museum director Zuzana
Strnadová told the Tyden.cz website.
She said the institution is also having problems finding space for its modern history exhibitions and is hoping to secure the City Hall owned Desfours Palace located near Prague’s Masaryk Train Station sometime during this summer for the purpose.
The museum’s collection, which is largely made up of archaeological finds, currently numbers more than a million objects. However, the number could rise to 8 million due to the museum’s role as safe keeper of all archaeological finds in Prague, Ms Strnadová said. It is also why she believes that a museum specifically dedicated to archaeology would be useful and should go ahead even if the Desfours Palace spaces are secured.
The freshly appointed leader of the Czech upper house Miloš Vystrčil says
that he is not opposed to a visit to Taiwan, but stressed that such a trip
would first have to be discussed with experts. Answering questions ahead of
his election, Mr Vystrčil said that as the leader of the Civic
Democrats’ senate club and chair of the upper house, his priority will
always be to defend the status of the Czech Republic as a country that
defends human rights and freedoms, news site Aktuálně.cz reports.
The question was put to the candidates after Aktuálně.cz published excerpts of a letter sent by the Chinese Embassy to the previous senate chair, Jaroslav Kubera, ahead of his planned trip to Taiwan. In it, China warns that leading Czech companies’ business interests would suffer if the visit went ahead.
If his ANO party does not win the next general elections, Prime Minister
Andrej Babiš will leave politics. Mr. Babiš made the statement in an
interview with news site Blesk.cz on Wednesday. The next general elections
are to take place in October 2021.
Mr Babiš’s party is currently firmly in the lead, poling regularly around 30 percent, with the opposition Pirate Party and Civic Democrats vying for second place at around 16 percent.
Czech Defence Minister Lubomír Metnar has reaffirmed his country’s
promise to reach the 2 percent of GDP defence spending threshold agreed
during the 2014 NATO Summit in Wales.
The ability of the Czech Republic to stay true to the pledge was recently questioned by Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Jan Hamáček, who said the country would either have to enact major changes to its budget or a serious debate on the state’s sources of income would have to take place.
In an interview with Czech Television on Tuesday evening, Mr Metnar said that he had no idea how the deputy premier came to this conclusion and stressed that no other government ministers had brought up the point. He said he is counting on the Czech Republic to reach the 2 percent threshold by 2024.
However, in a recent Facebook post, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš the Czech Republic could contribute 2 percent of GDP to defence by 2024 “if all goes according to plan” and there is “stable economic growth”
Miloš Vystrčil of the Civic Democratic Party was voted in as the new
Speaker of the Senate of the Czech Republic on Wednesday, after receiving
52 of the 76 votes. He ran against Jiří Růžička of the TOP 09 party,
who took over the position as acting leader of the upper-house following
the death of the previous senate chair Jaroslav Kubera, who died of a heart
attack in January.
Mr Vystrčil, who has been a senator since 2010, was the favourite ahead of the election after ANO party and Christian Democrat senators promised to support him during the vote. Before becoming a member of the upper house he served as the governor of the Vysočina region and mayor of Telč.
China’s Embassy in Prague had threatened to retaliate against leading
Czech companies if a prominent senator went ahead as planned to visit
Taiwan, according to a letter dated 10 January reviewed by Reuters.
The letter, written in Czech and sent to President Miloš Zeman’s office, suggested that Škoda Auto, PPF’s consumer lending arm Home Credit Group, and instrument maker Petrof Pianos would all suffer.
The debate was made moot when Czech senate chairman and speaker Jaroslav Kubera, died on 20 January of heart failure ahead of the planned trip.
“Czech companies whose representatives visit Taiwan with Chairman Kubera will not be welcome in China or with the Chinese people,” the letter says, according to Reuters.