Daily news summary News of Radio Prague

24-04-2003

Spidla, Rasmussen reject proposal for EU president

The Czech Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla and his Danish counterpart Anders Fogh Rasmussen say they oppose a plan to create the post of President of the European Union. Mr Rasmussen, visiting Prague, said he was sceptical towards the idea, proposed by the chairman of the EU Convention on the future of Europe, Valery Giscard D'Estaing. The Danish prime minister said a full-time EU president - who would represent the EU internationally and chair meetings of the EU Council of Ministers - would lead to big member states having greater power over smaller ones. Prime Minister Spidla said Czech and Danish attitudes to the future of the EU were extremely close.

Klaus-Svoboda dispute over EU continues unabated

Meanwhile a dispute over the EU between Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda and President Vaclav Klaus continued on Thursday, with Mr Svoboda again distancing himself from recent remarks made by the president. President Klaus said during last week's EU signing ceremony in Athens that his country would lose some of its sovereignty when it joins the Union, comments which were harshly criticised by Mr Svoboda. The Foreign Minister said in parliament on Thursday that equating EU membership with loss of sovereignty was the same as encouraging people not to vote in the forthcoming EU referendum. President Klaus has often been criticised for his negative comments about the European Union, which his country will join in May 2004.

City Council votes to make Havel honorary citizen of Prague

Members of Prague's City Council have approved a proposal to make former President Vaclav Havel an honorary citizen of the city. The mayor of Prague, Pavel Bem, told council members that the gesture would be a good way of honouring Mr Havel for his unique contribution to the history of the Czech Republic. Councillors from the Communist Party apparently voted against the motion.

Havel opens new office in centre of Prague

An assistant to Mr Havel said on Thursday that the former president had opened his new office in Prague's Vorsilska street. Mr Havel's office - where he will concentrate on reviving his writing career - is seated on the ground floor of a house belonging to Karel Schwarzenberg, his former chancellor. Mr Havel will have to finance the running of the office by himself until parliament passes a bill defining state pensions for ex- presidents.

Armed couple rob bank in Prague 10

A man and a woman armed with pistols have robbed a branch of Komercni Banka in Prague 10, making off with more than a million crowns. No-one was injured in the robbery.

Grim discovery in woods near Tachov

Police say they are trying to identify a body found by forest workers on Wednesday near the west Bohemian town of Tachov. The body was badly burned and so far police have been unable to give any information except that the victim was a man in his 60s. He was apparently murdered.

Weather

Friday will be another fine and sunny day, with temperatures reaching 20 degrees Celsius in the daytime.

24-04-2003