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31-10-2019

EU legal adviser says Czech stance on refugee quotas violated EU law

A top European Union legal adviser Eleanor Sharpston says the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary have been breaking EU law by refusing to comply with the EU’s migrant quota scheme.

In a legal opinion issued on Thursday, Advocate General Eleanor Sharpston said the three nations ‘failed to fulfil their obligations under EU law’ by not complying with the ‘provisional and time-limited mechanism for the mandatory relocation’ of people seeking international protection.

The European Commission in 2017 took the three nations to court for their refusal to take in asylum-seekers in line with the EC’s mandatory redistribution mechanism.

Although Mrs Sharpston’s opinion is not legally binding, such recommendations are usually followed by the European Court of Justice.

Criticism after pro-Russian activists invited to Zeman event

The Office of the President invited pro-Russian activists from the Crimean Tatar group Kyrym birligi (Crimean Unity) to an event at Prague Castle on Monday marking the anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia, news site DeníkN reported. The activists later wrote on Facebook that President Miloš Zeman had recognised the Russian-occupied Ukrainian territory of Crimea as being part of Russia.

Mr. Zeman’s spokesman did not deny the activists had been asked to the event but said the president continued to regard the annexation of Crimea as unlawful.

The Ukrainian Embassy in Prague criticised the invitation of the activists to Prague Castle. The Czech minister of foreign affairs, Tomáš Petříček, told DeníkN he would not invite them to events organised by his office.

USAID: Czech NGO sector’s public image deteriorates

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has ranked the Czech Republic second among the post-communist nations in the sustainability of the civil society sector for 2018, along with Poland, Latvia and Lithuania, the Czech News Agency reported on Thursday.

The USAID annual report, which compares the situation in 24 former Eastern Bloc countries, suggests that Czech NGOs have improved the offer and the quality of their services over the past year, but the sector’s public image has deteriorated for the second consecutive year.

The growing distrust in NGOs is caused by the activist approach of some NGOs in face of the migrant crisis as well as fake news, which portray the sector as unreliable and incompetent, says Marek Šedivý, president of the Association of public benefit organisation in the Czech Republic.

Activists continue to protest against sale of Počerady power plant

Environmental activists continue to occupy a giant excavator at the Vršany brown coal mine in protest against the planned sale of the coal-burning Počerady electric power plant to the group Se.ven Energy, belonging to Czech billionaire Pavel Tykač. The activists, who forced their way to the mine on Tuesday morning, are also calling on the Ministry of Environment to reject an exemption from EU emission norms for the Chvaletice coal power plant, which also belongs to Sev.en Energy.

Academics and former politicians have been petitioning the power utility ČEZ against the sale of Počerady on the ground that the plant’s continued operation would be in violation of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.

Legendary U.S. saxophonist Charles Lloyd to perform in Prague

The legendary US saxophonist Charles Lloyd is set to perform at Prague’s Rudolfinum concert hall on Thursday night as part of the annual Strings of Autumn festival. The concert, featuring Lloyd’s current quintet, marks 52 years since his first performance in the capital and eight years since he last appeared at the Strings of Autumn festival.

The jazz-rock musician, who turned 81 this year, started his career playing in famous blues bands such as Howlin’ Wolf and BB.King, before forming a succession of his own groups. He also played for the legendary bands The Doors and The Beach Boys.

Kelarová and Roma children’s choir to play UK show on Thursday

The Roma singing star Ida Kelarová will perform a concert with Romani children from the Čhavorenge Children’s Choir accompanied by musicians from the Czech Philarmonic at the Phoenix Concert Hall in Croydon, southern England on Thursday evening.

The programme will feature the international Romani anthem Gelem, Gelem, which the ensemble sang on October 8 at Prague’s Rudolfinum concert hall at a special concert marking International Romani Day.

Weather

Friday is expected to be mostly overcast, with occasional rain showers and daytime highs ranging between 5 and 9 degrees Celsius.

31-10-2019