Junior coalition partners the Social Democrats have come out against a plan
by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš of ANO for the creation of a government
district in Prague’s Letňany district, Novinky.cz reported on Friday.
The idea would involve moving state officials out of city centre buildings.
The Social Democrats have joined opposition parties in opposing the plan,
with senior members saying it could threaten the historical locations
currently housing ministries and needed to be analysed in more depth.
The idea’s chances were recently boosted after a meeting between the prime minister and Prague Mayor Zdeňek Hřib, where the latter said he would be willing to give such a project the green light if the government paid for some crucial investments in the city’s infrastructure. While no agreement has yet been reached, Mr. Babiš has said that he wants to continue with the negotiations.
Some two dozen people gathered outside Prague Castle on Sunday to protest
against the security checks at the gates to the Prague Castle compound,
which were introduced in 2016 and have remained in place since.
The security checks, which every tourist or local must undergo if they wish to enter the compound, have brought protests from travel agencies and members of the public who were used to visiting the seat of the head of state freely.
The president’s spokesman has repeatedly defended the security checks saying they were made following recommendations to the Office of the President by security experts.
The Czech capital has agreed in principle to provide the state with land
towards creating a special government district in the Letňany area, Prime
Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) said.
Some 10,000 civil servants at the Ministry for Regional Development and dozens of other state bodies could be relocated there. A new hospital and apartment buildings would also be built in the area.
In return, Prague wants 60 billion crowns to complete the city ring road, to build apartments at the current Na Bulovce Hospital, and transfer ownership in dozens of buildings, including many now vacant.
PM Babiš said his government will send a specific offer to the city within 14 days. It is not yet clear how specifically the proposed exchanges should take place.
Earlier, the Prague City Councillor asked the prime minister for an unused state building that could serve the city instead of the Škoda Palace, which it now rents.
After an absence of nearly 40 years, trams are set to again run up and down Prague’s Wenceslas Square. The city council have just approved a plan for a tram connection between existing tracks on Vinohradská Street and those crossing the lower half of the city’s main boulevard. If everything goes according to plan, trams could return to Wenceslas Square as soon as 2022.
The 18th century Villa Bertramka in Prague, notable for its connection to
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, has been declared a national cultural monument,
the Ministry of Culture announced on Monday.
The villa, which was turned into a museum dedicated to the famous composer several years ago, has been closed for over two years for reconstruction. The Mozart Society running the museum has had problems revitalizing the property and making it attractive for visitors.
According to the ministry, the status of a national cultural monument would help the society in its endeavour.
Mozart stayed in this villa on his visits to Prague in 1787 and 1791. The museum has acquired some of the composer’s valuable manuscripts, his harpsichord and a lock of his hair.
The Prague City Council has started delivering on its promise to close down
dishonest exchange offices that rip off foreign visitors to Prague.
A number of them still offer high commissions with some selling the euro for 16 crowns compared to the official exchange rate of just over 25 crowns per euro. Or else the offer „zero commission” and favourable exchange rates that only apply to large transactions.
Two such Chequepoint outlets have been closed since November of last year and councillors are looking at around two dozen others which may follow suit.
Last year MPs approved an amendment to the Exchange Act that will allow customers up to three hours to cancel a currency exchange transaction that they find to be highly disadvantageous and get their money back, but the law will only come into force in April of this year.
Exchange offices set their rates independently of the official exchange rates announced by the Czech National Bank.
A special role has been created to regulate the excesses of Prague’s nightlife. Councillors of the Czech capital’s City Hall elected Jan Štern as “night mayor” on Monday. A special commission made up of district and police representatives will help him out. The man in charge says that he first wants to analyse the situation in detail and meet with his counterpart in Amsterdam for inspiration.
The Prague authorities will begin repairs of the city’s Libeň Bridge
this year, deputy mayor Adam Scheinherr said on Tuesday. Initial work will
focus on parts of the road bridge that are not directly connected to
The renovation work will be carried out according to a plan due for publication by the Czech Technical University by the end of March.
Libeň Bridge, which was built in the late 1920s, is in a hazardous state. There was talk in the past of demolishing it completely.
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