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Day of mourning to be declared when singer Karel Gott receives state funeral

The great Czech singer Karel Gott, who has died at the age of 80, will receive a state funeral at Prague’s St. Vitus Cathedral. A day of national mourning, with Czech flags flying at half-mast around the country, will be declared when the funeral takes place.

The honour was proposed by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and approved by the cabinet during a specially convened meeting on Wednesday afternoon. Mr. Babiš said such a tribute was appropriate in view of the late star’s eminence.

Karel Gott passed away on Tuesday at the age of 80 after suffering from acute leukaemia. He sold tens of millions of albums in a career spanning almost six decades.

Czech leaders pay tribute to late Karel Gott

Tributes have been paid to the Czech pop singer Karel Gott, who has died at the age of 80. President Miloš Zeman said that his death was extremely said news for the entire country. He said the singer had devoted his life to generations and was an artist with a capital A.

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said Karel Gott had accompanied him from his youth on and done the same for the nation. Referring to the pop star as “master”, he said Gott was one of the greatest of Czechs.

The country’s foreign minister, Tomáš Petříček, said few had done as much as the singer for the good name of the Czech Republic internationally.

Babiš rejects call for tax on banking sector

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has rejected the idea of a special tax on banks. The ANO leader told reporters on Wednesday that it would cause disquiet in the business community and harm all of the country’s citizens. The minister of labour and social affairs, Jana Maláčová of the Social Democrats, has been advocating for a tax on banks in recent days.

Ms. Maláčová says that if it is not possible to agree on legislation introducing such taxation with ANO she will submit a bill herself, adding that Czech banks are making record profits.

Mr. Babiš says the matter will be discussed at a coalition meeting.

The Czech Banking Association says 15 EU states have a bank sector tax.

Babiš and Schillerová to discuss 2020 budget in visit to Communists

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and Finance Minister Alena Schillerová are due to discuss next year’s state budget with representatives of the Communists on Friday, iDnes.cz reported. The party’s executive committee will be holding an extraordinary meeting that day and the government officials hope to persuade them to back a CZK 40 billion deficit when the 2020 budget is voted on.

Communist MP Miloslava Vostrá, who is chair of the lower house’s budget committee, said at the end of August that she would recommend her party leadership support the budget, despite the CZK 40 billion deficit. The party had previously demanded that the deficit not exceed CZK 30 billion.

Under an agreement, the Communists support the minority government of ANO and the Social Democrats on key votes.

V4 heads of state discussing cooperation at summit at Czech presidential residence

The heads of state of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary have gathered at the Czech president’s residence at Lány near Prague. The Visegrad Four leaders are due to discuss cooperation within the European Union following the UK’s departure at the summit, which will run until Thursday, when the four will be joined by the presidents of Slovenia and Serbia.

The gathering is taking place within the Czech Republic’s current presidency of the Visegrad Four.

British ambassador to Prague: Czech-British relations must remain strong

Relations between the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom must remain strong after Brexit, British ambassador to the Czech Republic Nick Archer said in an interview for the CTK news agency.

Mr. Archer said the British government was striving hard to agree on an acceptable Brexit deal with the European Union, but stressed that, even if the country left the EU with no deal, Czechs living in Britain would not be restricted in their present rights.

He said the UK had offered very generous provisions in the “Lex Brexit” law protecting the rights of Czechs and the citizens of other EU member states living in the UK.

Those offered by the Czech government to British nationals are slightly less generous, mainly as far as health care is concerned, and talks with the Czech government about this continue, Mr. Archer said.

The British ambassador to the Czech Republic said the embassy organizes regular meetings with British nationals living in the Czech Republic to inform them about the possible impacts of a no-deal Brexit.

The last one took place in mid-September and the next should be held in October.

Weather forecast

It should be overcast and wet in the Czech Republic on Thursday, with temperatures of up to 11 degrees Celsius. Similar weather is forecast for the following days.