Daily news summary Daily news summary

29-09-2017

EU leaders: block needs to speed up decision-making

The EU needs to speed up its decision-making and improve communication in many areas, EU leaders agreed at an informal diner in Tallinn ahead of Friday’s EU summit.

Prime Minister Sobotka said that while none of the leaders present expressed a desire to change the basic treaties of the EU, there was criticism regarding communication and how long it took to reach agreement on issues such as security, migration or salaries across the EU.

It was agreed that the President of the European Council Donald Tusk should address the matter and suggest changes which are to be discussed at October’s EU summit in Brussels, Sobotka said. EU leaders are meeting in Tallinn to discuss Europe's digital future.

Police launch criminal proceedings in Stork’s Nest case

Police have launched criminal proceedings in the case of the Stork’s Nest farm and hotel complex which was investigated on suspicion of EU subsidy fraud. The case is linked to ANO leader Andrej Babiš who is suspected of having orchestrated a plan for his Stork’s Nest farm to acquire a 50 million crown EU subsidy which should technically have been out of his reach.

Earlier this month the lower house stripped both Andrej Babiš and his deputy Jaroslav Faltýnek of their parliamentary immunity opening the way for prosecution.

The police have not released information on the number of people charged in the case.

President’s spokesman under fire after likening EU to Third Reich

President Zeman’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček has come under fire from all sides for comparing the EU to Hitler’s Third Reich. Czech politicians labelled the comment outrageous and shameful, questioning Ovčáček ’s competence for the post.

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said Ovčáček was the president’s tool to keep him in the news, insult his opponents and divide society.

Ovčáček lashed out at the EU on Facebook over the fact that the Czech potato-based alcohol locally known as “rum” that cannot be labelled as such due to an EU regulation which says the term must be reserved for cane-based spirits. When asked about the comment, Ovčáček said his words were warranted because such actions by some in the EU damaged its reputation.

Police rule out terror in blast at Masaryk University

Police are investigating the cause of an explosion outside the main building of Masaryk University in Brno that injured two people on Thursday.

A pressure bottle reportedly exploded in a van parked on the premises. The police have ruled out terrorism. The damage is expected to exceed one million crowns.

EU commissioner cancels Facebook account over hate speech

The EU’s commissioner for gender equality and consumer rights, Vera Jourova told journalists she had deleted her Facebook account in protest against hate speech.

Jourova described the social network as "a highway for hatred“ and said she had herself been targeted by trolls.

Despite her harsh characterization of Facebook, Jourova said the EU was giving the social media companies a chance to prove that they can regulate their own conduct.

She said living behind the Iron Curtain in what was then Czechoslovakia made her loth to bring forward cross-EU legislation and introduce fines.

Prague airport warns passengers about likely traffic problems on Monday

Prague’s international airport has warned passengers to give themselves extra time to reach the airport for Monday’s flights in view of the taxi drivers’ protest planned for that day.

On its web page the Vaclav Havel Airport administration predicts traffic problems and advises tourists to use city transport instead.

The Czech Association of Taxi Drivers has announced a protest action against the Uber taxi service on Monday in which taxi drivers are expected to slow-down traffic on the main route to the airport.

Weather forecast:

Saturday should bring partly cloudy to clear skies with day temperatures between 16 and 20 degrees Celsius.

29-09-2017