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PM insists he has fully adhered to Czech conflict of interest law

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš insists that he has fully adhered to the country’s conflict of interest law, by placing the multi-billion crown conglomerate he owns into trust funds.

The prime minister made the statement on Czech Television in reaction to an EC audit into the matter which has now arrived in Prague.

Its content remains confidential and the prime minister said he had no means of affecting that.

Transparency International and opposition politicians have called for the audit to be made public.

The EC’s preliminary audit concluded that the Czech prime minister has a conflict of interest and the Czech Republic may subsequently have to return some 450 million crowns in EU subsidies paid to the Agrofert business conglomerate.

New tolling system in force in Czech Republic

A new tolling system has come in force in the Czech Republic as of midnight, December 1st. The system, operated by the consortium CzechToll/SkyToll, requires hauliers to register and have their vehicles fitted with a new on-board unit by that date. Around 313,000 vehicles have registered so far, another 145,000 are still expected to do so.

CzechToll/SkyToll has increase the number of registration places in the coming days and is offering mobile registration units at border crossings in order to avoid traffic problems due to unregistered vehicles.

No problems have been reported so far, but the operator has warned Monday could see long lines of unregistered vehicles at border crossings.

Government council urges PM to open way for Romany compensation

The government’s council for Roma-related issues has proposed the setting up of a special commission which would map the pre-war property of the Romany minority and its confiscation by the Nazi and Communist regimes in 1938 and 1945 in order to open the way for compensation.

The commission has asked the prime minister to release money for the endeavour. The Nazis deported 5,500 Romanies from the Czech lands during the war. Around 500 of them returned after the war.

Central bank: price of flats in Czechia overinflated

The price of flats in the Czech Republic is overinflated by 15 to 20 percent, according to the Czech National Bank. However, the bank board has not changed its recommendations for mortgage lending. The forecast is that the growth in real estate prices will slow in the coming months.

According to Deloitte, the price of an apartment in the Czech Republic rose to CZK 60,700 per square meter this year. An apartment with an area of 70 meters is selling for 4.2 million on average. In the large cities, especially Prague and Brno, prices are significantly higher.

Health Ministry moves to combat drug incompatibility

The Health Ministry has launched an electronic information system pertaining to the drugs prescribed to individual patients. The aim is to avoid patients getting incompatible or similar medicine from different specialists. Patients will be able to decide who is eligible to view the list. The Health Ministry says that in particular older people have a problem providing their doctor with vital information regarding the various drugs they are taking and often suffer health problems as a result.

Majority of parents claim state support inadequate

Fifty-four percent of Czechs say the government is not doing enough to support families with children, according to the results of a poll conducted by NMS Market Research.

Thirty-three percent of parents with one child said they were not planning a second because of financial reasons.

Seventeen percent said they could not have a second child because of housing problems and 10% cited work reasons.

Only 15 percent of Czech parents said they were planning a third child.

Weather forecast

Monday should be partly cloudy to overcast with day time highs reaching 2 degrees Celsius.