Zdeněk Hřib of the Pirate Party has been the mayor of Prague for only 10 months but has already garnered the attention of international media, particularly over his attempts to remove an article recognising the One China policy from the city’s partnership agreement with Beijing. I met with Mr. Hřib at City Hall to discuss his view of the situation, as well as his fondness for Taiwan. The mayor is actually a physician by training and I began by asking him for a diagnosis of tourism in Prague and the city’s plans in this area.
The European Commission has agreed to postpone the deadline by which the
Czech Republic must respond to the Commission’s first draft audit on
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš’ suspected conflict of interest until
September 2, Czech Radio reported.
The European Commission originally set the deadline for the beginning of August, but the Regional Development Ministry requested a month-long extension, arguing that the audit was complex. According to the EC’s preliminary findings 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 he founded.
The Czech state has put CZK 927 million into a system of locks on the Labe
(Elbe) River that has not yet been built, the Supreme Audit Office says.
The auditors say that water transport has in the long term played a very
small role in the expedition of goods in the Czech Republic.
The Supreme Audit Authority was looking into a Ministry of Regional Development project launched in 2014 to foster water transport in the Czech Republic.
Only about 1 percent of all cargo in the Czech Republic is transported by water. The main reason for this is the unreliability of the Labe and Vltava rivers, which are not always navigable.
The project examined by the auditors conceives of the construction of a lock system at Děčín.
Prague councillors have elected the city’s first nightlife mayor. The
post has gone to Jan Štern, whose task it will be to deal with complaints
about noise pollution from bars, pubs and restaurants and promote a safe
and vibrant nightlife scene that benefits businesses and residents alike.
According to councillor Hana Třeštíková the nightlife mayor’s task will be to gradually change the image of Prague from that of a city offering cheap alcohol and numerous nightclubs.
In electing a nightlife mayor Prague councillors were inspired by cities such as New York or Paris.
The Czech government will later this month weigh up changing the title of
the Ministry of Regional Development, Czech Television reported. Prime
Minister Andrej Babis of ANO wants to have the government department –
which was set up 22 years ago – renamed the Ministry of Public
Investment, a move that would be accompanied by a rearrangement of the
purviews of government offices, Czech Television said.
The minister of regional development, ANO nominee Klára Dostálová, is in favour of the change. However, other cabinet members have said they need time to consider the matter.
According to newspaper Lidové noviny, the Czech police have suspended
their investigation of a 2013 computer system tender at the Ministry of
Regional Development, which Ministry of Finance auditors had judged to be
in violation of government guidelines.
The investigation was launched three-and-a-half-years ago after a Ministry of Finance audit pointed out a lack of transparency in the evaluation of proposals. A spokesperson for the ministry told Lidové noviny that the three-and-a-half-year investigation had cost the state CZK 820 million in potential funding, because the European Union had refused to cover the costs until case was finished.
Even before the police have concluded an investigation into the Stork’s Nest Affair, in which the prime minister is suspected of EU subsidy fraud, another member of his cabinet has been hit by scandal. The minister for regional development, Klára Dostálová, from the prime minister’s ANO party, appears to be a key suspect in a police investigation into the state agency CzechTourism.
Anti-corruption police officers staged raids on Wednesday morning at the
headquarters of both the Ministry for Regional Development and the state
The Prague Public Prosecutor's Office said the officers were collecting evidence related to CzechTourism contracts but declined to elaborate.
Two years ago, police investigated the agency after the Supreme Audit Office filed a criminal complaint over spending discrepancies.
The Ano party of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has won the municipal elections in all regional capitals except Prague – where the opposition Civic Democrats and Pirates took first and second, respectively – and Liberec. The big losers of the day, in both the municipal and Senate races, were the Social Democrats and Communists.
New foreigners’ law to change conditions for non-EU nationals
Czech rock climber Adam Ondra knocked out of World Cup in Japan
Czech foreign ministry reports record number of visa applications
New index shows locations with best quality of life in Czech Republic
Archaeologists unearth rare Renaissance-Baroque brew house in ‘Czech Paradise’