President Miloš Zeman will meet with ANO party nominee for the post of finance minister Ivan Pilný at Prague Castle on Tuesday afternoon, the president’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček confirmed. Mr Pilný is due to replace embattled ANO head Andrej Babiš in the post, quelling a government crisis which has continued for weeks. The prime minister sought Mr Babiš’ resignation after the finance minister failed to satisfactorily explain questionable financial dealings.
Higher pensions, wages for state officials, increased spending on health and social payments as well as boosted defence spending will take the proposed budget deficit for 2018 to 50 billion crowns, finance minister and ANO leader Andrej Babiš said on Monday. The figure represents a 10 billion crown cut in the budget deficit already agreed for 2017. Babiš complained that exact calculations are difficult because many ministries announce targets for revenues from European funds but these turn out often to be exaggerated.
Around two-thirds of Czechs believe the country’s public debt is too high and just over 70 percent believe that individual indebtedness is a major problem, according to a survey by the CCVM agency. The figure for concern about public debt continues its slide from 2013, the agency commented. Czech public debt to the end of March stood at 1.79 trillion crowns, or around 75 billion US dollars. The total debt burden of Czech citizens comes 1.45 trillion crowns. Despite the fears, the Czech public debt to GDP ratio is one of the lowest in Europe.
The City of Prague will not raise the fee for the annual transport pass from the current 3,650 crowns. The decision is to be confirmed by Prague councilors on Tuesday. The city’s transport authority lowered the price of the annual coupon in 2015 from 4750 crowns – since, the number of those paying for yearly passes has grown. Revenues from the card last year amounted to 2.21 billion crowns and 2.2 the year before.
In ice hockey, Liberec defender Radim Šimek has signed a one-year contract with San Jose Sharks. According to the website isport.cz, his NHL salary will amount to 830 thousand US dollars. Šimek got offers from other teams, including New York Rangers, but according to his agent Petr Hemský, the Sharks had offered the most flexible contract. Another Czech who currently plays for the San Jose Sharks is forward Tomáš Hertl.
A work by the Czech surrealist painter Jindřich Štyrský has sold for a 19 million crowns (over 800,000 dollars), setting a new auction record for the author. The 1925 painting, entitled "A chimney sweep and a snowman", was auctioned off at an art auction in Prague on Sunday. Another three art objects sold at the auction exceeded the price of 10 million crowns.
Tuesday should see sunny periods but also the possibility of thunderstorms; daytime highs of around 23 degrees Celsius are expected.