City councillors on Thursday approved a draft partnership agreement between
Prague and Vienna. The cooperation with the Austrian capital will concern
mainly the areas of transport, culture, IT and security. The partnership is
being agreed on for a period of five years.
At the end of last year, Prague City Hall signed a so-called Free Cities Pact with Bratislava, Budapest and Warsaw aimed at strengthening cooperation between the Visagrad Four Capitals.
In January, Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib also signed a partnership agreement with the mayor of Taiwan’s capital Taipei on economic, trade and cultural cooperation, while the sister city agreement with Beijing was dissolved.
Poet, novelist, essayist, former diplomat and translator from French,
Václav Jamek, will be presented the Karel Čapek Award by the Czech PEN
Mr. Jamek, who is 70, has received numerous awards for his works in both
the Czech Republic and France, including the Tom Stoppard Prize as well as
the Josef Jungmann Award for translation. In 1999 he was named Officer of
France’s Order of Arts and Letters. He writes both in Czech and French.
The Karel Čapek Award was established by the PEN Club’s Czech branch in 1994 and is presented to outstanding writers every two years. Among its previous holders are the former president and writer Václav Havel, Arnošt Lustig and Ivan Klíma.
The award will be presented at the Mayor’s seat in Prague on Thursday evening.
The European Commission has predicted a slowdown in the Czech economy. The Commission’s winter forecast sees GDP growth falling to 2.1 percent this year, compared to 2.6 percent last year. Next year it is expected to accelerate to 2.2 percent. According to the European Commission, last year’s growth was driven mainly by domestic demand, with household consumption fuelled by growing salaries. Industrial production significantly dropped in the second half of 2019, which had a negative effect on company investments.
Czech MPs have elected Stanislav Křeček as the country’s next
ombudsman. A former Social Democratic Party MP and deputy ombudsman, Mr.
Křeček, who is 81, will replace Anna Šabatová when her six-year term
ends next week. The new public advocate was elected by 91 of 175 deputies
in a secret ballot in the 200-seat lower house.
Mr. Křeček says he will defend the rights of the majority population and has said for instance that Romanies should take care of their own rights. Opposition parties have criticised his election, with the leader of TOP 09, Markéta Pekarová-Adamová saying he would debase the office of ombudsman.
Supporters of Mr. Křeček, who was nominated by President Miloš Zeman, say he is familiar with the institution, having previously worked there, and will help return it to its original mission.
Prague saw the largest amount of new housing construction projects per
person in 2019, with 4.39 flats being built for every 1000 residents, newly
released data released by the Czech Statistics Office shows.
Meanwhile the region with the lowest construction level was Ustí nad Labem, where just 1.11 new flats began construction last year. However, that same region had the highest number of new family houses, which made up 96 percent of all new construction. Overall, the amount of new flats begun last year was the highest since 2008.
Reconstructions and annexes were not taken into account during the statistic.
Czech MPs are electing a new ombudsman this Wednesday. From the original
pool of three candidates for the post of public advocate, two have advanced
through the first stage of voting: Stanislav Křeček, a former MP and
deputy ombudsman and Vít Alexander Schorm, who is Czech government
commissioner at the European Court of Human Rights. The winner, who is
likely to be announced after a second round of voting during the evening
hours will replace Anna Šabatová, who has been ombudswoman since 2014.
The anti-government protest movement Million Moments for Democracy wrote on on its website on Wednesday morning that it will organise a demonstration if Mr Křeček is given the job.
Czech car manufacturer Škoda Auto has announced the name of its first
all-electric car – Enyaq – which is currently in development and should
be put on the market by the end of 2022. According to Škoda’s press
release the word is a combination of the Irish word Enya, which means
“source of life”, and the typical last letter of its SUV models – Q.
The company’s sales and marketing lead Alain Favey says that Škoda is aiming for the most popular segment – SUV’s – in order to extend eMobility among the largest possible group of consumers.
The global real estate investment fund of the Italian insurer Generali will
purchase Prague’s iconic brutalist shopping centre Kotva for more than
CZK 3.5 billion, the daily Hospodářské Noviny reported on Wednesday.
According to the paper it is the largest transaction on the Czech real
estate market this year.
The current owner PSN bought the property in 2016 for CZK 2 billion.
Leading representatives of the Czech and Slovak pop music scene will come
together to honour the deceased “Sinatra of the East” Karel Gott
through a special concert in Prague’s O2 Arena on December 15. The form
of the concert was determined by Karel Gott himself before he died,
according to his wife Ivana.
Aside from featuring performances of Gott’s most famous hits, the concert will also include a check donation for the support of lymphoma and leukaemia disease research at the Faculty of Medicine of Charles University and the General Faculty Hospital in Prague. Ticket sales are set to begin on February 15.
Karel Gott died of acute leukaemia in October 2019. During his career his albums sold in the tens of millions across countries including Russia and Germany.