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06-07-2015

Czech PM: The Greeks chose the worse option

Greeks chose the worse option in Sunday’s referendum, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said in response to the news that Greece had overwhelmingly rejected the conditions of a rescue package with creditors. The prime minister said the Greeks had chosen the more difficult road not just for themselves but for the whole EU and noted that, despite the valiant efforts of Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande, it would be near impossible to keep the Greeks in the Eurozone against their will.

On the other hand, Finance Minister Andrej Babiš, who recently noted that Greece should go bankrupt in order to „clear the space“ said that Greece should never have been admitted to the Eurozone in the first place since it is not just a monetary but an economic alliance.

Opposition TOP 09 deputy chair Miroslav Kalousek said that Greece had bought its ticket out of the Eurozone, while Civic Democratic party deputy chair Jan Zahradil said this should serve as an impetus for the EU to create a legislative framework which would allow Eurozone members to leave the alliance.

Czech economists say Greek “No” will worsen country’s negotiating position

The Greek "No" in Sunday’s referendum will not improve the negotiating position of the government of Alexis Tsipras, according to Czech economists. David Marek, from Deloitte, said the "No" vote was a sad result. The Greek government and citizens are mistaken if they believe that by rejecting the bailout terms they will achieve softer conditions, Marek said, adding that the opposite is true. Marek said there is only one alternative to the rescue plan - the Argentinian path, the state declaring itself bankrupt, high inflation and lowering of the living standard. Lukáš Kovanda, from the Roklen financial group, said the position of the European Central Bank in providing cash for Greece would most likely worsen due to the "no" vote, which considerably increased the possibility of Greece leaving the euro zone. If the ECB decides that the guarantees that Greek banks provide in exchange for the loans are not sufficient, a banking collapse is likely to come and Greece will have to issue its own currency, even if only as a temporary alternative to the euro, Kovanda said.

Crown strengthens briefly on Greek NO vote

The Czech crown strengthened to the euro briefly on the Greek “No” vote breaking through the 27 crown margin set by the central bank and selling at 26.80 to the euro. Within an hour it returned to its former level at 27.12 crowns per euro. The ctk news agency says it is not clear if the central bank intervened on foreign markets. The bank has been keeping the crown in check with forex interventions since 2013 and says the interventions will continue until 2016.

Jan Hus celebrations highlight reformer priest’s legacy

The Czech Republic is marking the 600th anniversary of the burning at stake of reformer priest Jan Hus with numerous events highlighting his legacy. Masses have been celebrated around the country, among others in Jan Hus’ birthplace Husinec and at Bethlehem chapel in Prague, where the reformer priest preached. The chapel had a new bell cast in Hus’ memory which will first rang on the 600th anniversary of his martyr’s death at the stake and a special installation was unveiled on the side wall of the chapel –a sign reading For the Truth which can only be seen in sunny weather –a reminder of the fact that the truth is sometimes hidden. Over the past two days people have been able to attend theatre performances, debates, concerts and film screenings dedicated to the reformer priest and on Monday night a candlelit procession from Old Town Square to the Vltava River will pay tribute to his memory.

PM says government committed to improving conditions for Czech filmmakers

Meeting with Czech filmmakers at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka reaffirmed his government’s commitment to securing stable financial support for Czech cinematography as of next year. A proposed amendment to the audiovisual law approved by the government last week should bring the State Cinematography Fund annual state subsidies of up to 390 million crowns as of 2016. The money should enable Czech filmmakers to launch more ambitious projects and co-productions and make better use of the potential of the Czech film industry. Another fundamental change concerns the provision of film incentives for foreign crews, part of a long-term effort to bring Prague back on the list of Europe’s most attractive film destinations alongside London, Berlin and Budapest. The bill has yet to be debated in Parliament but the coalition’s comfortable majority in the lower house should ensure its smooth passage.

Havel’s Place unveiled in Karlovy Vary

An outdoor seating arrangement known as Havel’s Place was unveiled in the west Bohemian spa town of Karlovy Vary on Sunday as a tribute to the late Czech president. The event took place within the framework of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival and was attended by Vaclav Havel’s widow Dagmar. The seating arrangement – made up two garden seats with a round table and a linden tree to cast shade -was designed by Bořek Šípek, a celebrated Czech artist and architect who was a close friend of Havel's and has already been set up in memory of the president in nine countries around the world. The very first was unveiled in Washington D.C.

Six people drowned, many collapsed in tropical heatwave

Six people drowned in the course of the three-day weekend, a police spokeswoman told the ctk news agency. The tragic statistics are believed to be the result of a combination of alcohol and the tropical heatwave that hit the Czech Republic several days ago. The health authorities also reported an increased number of emergency calls to people who collapsed in the heat. People have been advised to increase their intake of liquids and restrict physical activities until the heat abates. Temperatures are expected to drop by about ten degrees on Wednesday.

06-07-2015