The Social Democratic Party leadership is meeting to decide whether the party should negotiate a place in the country's future coalition government or remain in the opposition. Outlooks for a rainbow coalition of four parliamentary parties have dimmed in recent days as an increasing number of Social but also Civic Democrats have spoken out against it. The Civic Democratic Party has openly stated it would prefer a three party deal with the Christian Democrats and the Greens and would then seek support for a confidence vote among individual Social Democratic Party deputies.
The enlargement of the Schengen border-free zone to the EU newcomer states, including the Czech Republic, has been set for December 31 2007. The decision was made at a summit of EU interior and justice ministers in Brussels on Tuesday following months of controversy over a proposed delay of more than a year. The compromise solution approved on Tuesday was put forward by Portugal and would mean a delay of only a few months. The Czech Republic was one of the countries which fought hard against the proposal delay and Czech Interior Minister Ivan Langer praised the outcome of the summit, describing it as "a historic decision". The original expansion date cannot be met due to technical difficulties involving the process of setting up a new police data base for the expanded region.
A planned conference on Iraq which sparked controversy among Czech lower house deputies has been postponed and will not be taking place on the grounds of the lower house as planned. The conference sparked controversy after Czech public television aired a report claiming that it would be attended by supporters of the toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. The organizers say this is nonsense and have filed charges of scaremongering against Czech television.
A Czech serial killer who has confessed to murdering seven patients in a Czech hospital says he wanted to test doctors' skills. The thirty year old male nurse, who injected 17 patients with excessive doses of a blood-thinning drug over a period of six months has told the police he wanted to see if doctors were able to detect the problem. The head physician in the hospital where the killings occurred called an investigation when it recorded a higher than usual death-rate as a result of unexplained internal hemorrhaging. The hospital's director Josef Pejchl was dismissed on Tuesday.
The Czech Republic's public budget deficit will be equal to 4.1 percent of GDP next year, the European Commission says in a report assessing the progress of individual countries on their path to the euro single currency. To be able to join the euro, the country's public budget deficit must be reduced to below 3 percent of GDP.
The great granddaughter of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose assassination sparked World War I, has launched a legal claim for the return of her family's possessions in what is now the Czech Republic, the Czech daily Mlada Fronta Dnes reported on Tuesday. Princess Sophie of Hohenberg wants Konopiste Castle, one of her great grandfather's favourite estates, returned and has lodged an action through her lawyer at the local Benesov court. Konopiste Castle, located around 30 kilometers from Prague, includes 6,000 hectares of land and its own brewery. The castle is now in state hands.
The Foreign Ministry has expressed concern over the Sunday blockade of the Czech-Austrian border crossing Wullowitz/Dolni Dvoriste in connection with the Temelin nuclear power plant. Deputy Foreign Minister Tomas Pojar met the Austrian Ambassador to the country, Margot Klestil-Loeffler, to discuss the issue on Monday. Austrian anti-nuclear activists blocked the border using tractors for six hours. This has been the longest blockade in the last six years. Protesters also sealed the Gmuend/Ceske Velenice border crossing for an hour. The Czech ministry is against the blockades as it says that they violate fundamental European freedoms of free movement of people and goods.
Foreign Minister Alexandr Vondra has said a misunderstanding was the
reason why a Czech plane was grounded in Turkmenistan's capital
Ashgabat for 14 hours during the weekend. Mr Vondra made the statement
after meeting the head of the Turkmen delegation to the Organization
for Security and Co-operation in Europe in Brussels, adding the Turkmen
representative had emphasised his country's interest in friendly
relations with the Czech Republic. Minister Vondra pointed out Czechs
had officially taken over command at the international airport in the
Afghan capital Kabul and friendly relations with Turkmenistan are in
the Czech Republic's interest as well.
The Czech aircraft carried a delegation, including chief-of-staff General Pavel Stefka and deputy defence minister Martin Bartak. The President of Turkmenistan allowed the plane to return to Prague on Sunday morning.
President Vaclav Klaus has said he will not comply with the government's request to grant pardons to managers investigated in connection with the case of the Czech bank IPB part owned by the Japanese investment bank Nomura. As part of the agreement with Nomura signed last week, the government of Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek authorised Finance Minister Vlastimil Tlusty to ask President Klaus on its behalf to grant pardons to the people who are being investigated in connection with the IPB case. In the agreement signed on Thursday Nomura has pledged to give up all claims to the Czech Republic and halt all the disputes led against the Czech state. The Czech Republic will in turn withdraw a lawsuit over protection of investment and put an end to all disputes with Nomura.
The Prague Stock exchange's key PX index set a record closing high of 1585.9 points on Monday, bettering its previous record of 1,584.4 set on February 27 this year. Most shares rose on Monday, with the property group Orco one of the biggest climbers with an advance of 3.57 percent during the day. Only Komercni Banka bucked the trend among major blue chips.