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Lower house debating 2020 budget in first reading

The lower house of Parliament is debating the 2020 state budget in its first reading.The session opened with an address by President Zeman who said he was ready to sign the budget in its present form, but pointed out possible reserves in the area of tax exemptions and state employees which he said could both do with a significant reduction. The prime minister was absent from the first reading due to a working visit to Japan where he attended the enthronement of Emperor Naruhito.

The proposed draft, which envisages a 40 billion crown deficit, is expected to get support from the ruling ANO and the Social Democrats, as well as the Communist Party which is backing the government from the opposition. The right-wing opposition parties and the Freedom and Direct Democracy Party have said they will vote against it, criticizing the size of its deficit at a time of economic growth.

President’s medical records to be released on Thursday

The Central Military Hospital in Prague will release President Zeman’s complete medical records on Thursday, the president himself told reporters as he left the lower house of Parliament on Wednesday morning.

In reaction to intense speculation regarding his state of health President Zeman said he was only troubled by his “ailing feet” and had no intention of resigning because of his health problems.

According to Denik N the hospital may only release a comprehensive report on the president’s health rather than the full documentation.

The president has appeared very tired in recent weeks and was in hospital twice in the space of a month for what his spokesman described as “reconditioning” stays. Zeman, 75, has low blood pressure, diabetes and polyfunctional neuropathy that makes walking difficult.

Foreign Minister Petříček: Tureky’s membership in EU “inconceivable“

Turkey’s membership in the EU is inconceivable following its military offensive in Syria, Czech Foreign Minister Tomas Petříček said in an interview for the news site Novinky.cz.

Minister Petříček said Turkey fell short of fulfilling the basic requirements for membership such as rule of law, democracy and protection of human rights.

He said the EU should make the situation clear to Ankara and focus on expanding to the Western Balkans instead.

In an interview for Czech Radio on Tuesday Petříček made it clear he would support tougher European Union action against Turkey over its incursions into northern Syria.

Czech president, PM to visit Slovakia on anniversary of Velvet Revolution

President Miloš Zeman is to attend the opening of a Czech House in Bratislava together with Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová on November 16, the ctk news agency reported, citing the Office of the President.

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš will visit Bratislava on November 17th where he will attend the freedom celebrations on the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution.

Prague Castle said earlier that President Zeman would not be attending any public events on the occasion and would mark the anniversary in private.

Energy experts say construction of new electric power plants is vital

The Czech Republic needs to build new electric power plants if it wants to maintain its self-sufficiency in the field of energy, according to leading experts in the field polled by the ctk news agency.

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš recently stressed that the question of future energy sources has become a major government priority, saying that it was vital for the Czech Republic to build new nuclear units even if they were to be in breach of European law. He defended the country’s right to decide on its energy mix.

According to the results of a recent study the country would become increasingly dependent on electricity imports from abroad by 2030, raising the commodity’s price, if no further construction takes place.

Temperature records broken around country

Temperature records were broken in many parts of the Czech Republic on Tuesday. Forty-five of the 150 weather stations in the country keeping records for at least 30 years had not seen such a warm October 22.

The east of the country was especially balmy and the highest temperature, 23.9 degrees Celsius, was registered in Strání in the Zlín Region.

Weather forecast

Thursday should be clear to partly cloudy with afternoon highs reaching 19 degrees Celsius.