The president of the European Commission, Jose Barroso, has said the Czech
Republic should set a target date for adoption of the common European
currency. He made the comments in an interview for the Czech newspaper
Deník. The Czech government has refused to fix a date for adopting the
euro, saying it is first necessary to implement reforms and stabilise the
public finances. If Poland meets its freshly announced target of joining
the eurozone in 2011, all of the Czech Republic’s neighbours will be
using the currency in less than two and a half years’ time.
Meanwhile, Czech business leaders, concerned by the continuing strength of the Czech crown, have called on the government to speed up the euro adoption process. The crown has risen by nearly 20-percent year-on-year towards the euro, meaning smaller profits for companies who export to eurozone states.
The Czech Republic’s footballers drew 0:0 with Northern Ireland in Belfast on Wednesday night, in the first game of their campaign to reach the next World Cup. Goalkeeper Petr Čech was judged the Czechs’ best player in what was a game of few chances. Their next World Cup qualifier is away to Poland on October 11.
Two giants of Czech culture, playwright Václav Havel and film director
Miloš Forman, are working together on a film about the Munich Agreement of
1938, under which the United Kingdom and France allowed Germany to annex
parts of Czechoslovakia. Mladá fronta Dnes reported that the film is based
on a novel by Georges-Marc Benamou entitled The Ghost of Munich; it
describes the Munich conference from the point of view of former French
prime minister Edouard Daladier. A Czech translation of the book with a
foreword by Mr Havel is being released next week.
After leading the Velvet Revolution of 1989, Václav Havel became president of Czechoslovakia and later the Czech Republic. Miloš Forman is perhaps the most successful Czech film director, with best director Academy Awards for One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Amadeus.
A new feature film about Czechoslovak soldiers who fought in the desert near the Libyan port of Tobruk in World War II goes on release in the Czech Republic on Thursday. Entitled Tobruk, it was produced and directed by Václav Marhoul and was made with support from the Czech Ministry of Defence. Mr Marhoul visited Czech troops at bases in Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan in preparation for the movie, which focuses on the everyday lives of soldiers and features just one battle scene.
President Václav Klaus says a blackmail and entrapment affair that has
rocked his party the Civic Democrats reflects a failure of the Czech
political system rather than a failure of individuals. MP Jan Morava
resigned this week after it emerged he had bought what appeared to be
compromising photos of a Civic Democrat colleague, Vlastimil Tlustý. The
latter has refused calls to resign for taking part in a tabloid TV sting.
Mr Klaus said that contemporary Czech politics was bereft of ideology and
had become a fight for power using all possible means; he said if politics
had more content there would be no need for various kinds of dirty tricks.
On Thursday the Civic Democrats senators group called on Mr Tlustý, who has a thorn in the side of the party leadership since being passed over for a cabinet post, to resign as an MP. Several senior party members have already urged him to quit.
Czech athletes have won two more medals at the Paralympics in Beijing. Eva Berná, who is 22, came third in the F37-38 category shot put, while Martin Zvolánek, 42, took bronze in the discus F32-51 category. The Czech team have so far taken 14 medals at the Paralympics and stand at 18th in the overall medals ranking.
Around 800 police officers will be deployed when Spartak Moscow play a UEFA Cup game against Baník Ostrava in the north Moravian city next Thursday. Both Spartak and Baník have hooligan elements among their supporters and other trouble-makers are expected to come from across the border in Poland for the match. The Czech News Agency reported that Baník hooligans had refused an internet challenge from their Russian counterparts to a 200 against 200 fight at a set location away from Ostrava’s Bazaly stadium. Polish officers will also take part in a police operation aimed at preventing trouble.
The head of the Czech National Library, Vlastimil Ježek, has been sacked. Culture Minister Václav Jehlička dismissed Mr Ježek on Tuesday, amidst an ongoing feud surrounding plans to build a new National Library building. Mr Ježek has responded to the move by saying he doesn’t understand on which grounds he was dismissed. The former library head is a fervent supporter of architect Jan Kaplický’s winning design for a new National Library building, to which the Culture Ministry is opposed. The construction of Mr Kaplický’s design has been put on hold while politicians argue over the competition rules that allowed the design to win.
Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek said on Tuesday that he would step down as leader of the Civic Democratic Party unless it pushes through an internal clean-up and reforms. Mr Topolánek’s comments come in the midst of a blackmailing scandal which has sent shock waves throughout the right-wing party, exposing bitter divisions and already causing one MP to resign. The scandal erupted when one party deputy agreed to buy compromising photos of a rebel party colleague, which it turned out had been staged and were part of a media sting.
In related news, Defence Minister Vlasta Parkanova has said that the Czech Lower House should start debating next month whether to station a US anti-missile defence shield on Czech soil. Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg has already signed an agreement with American Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice approving the project, but this agreement needs to be ratified by the Czech parliament before construction can actually start. Plans to build a US radar base in the Czech Republic are controversial, with over 50 percent of Czechs against the idea. In parliament, the government can expect a hard time pushing the treaty through, with some of its own coalition MPs adamantly opposed to the base, and other still unsure which way they are going to vote.