Caretaker Prime Minister Jan Fischer said on Monday that the Czech Republic would hand over the EU presidency to Sweden after fulfilling its agenda. Mr Fischer drew attention to the success of the EU summit this month which lined up leaders behind current EU Commission president José Barroso for another term and thrashed out assurances for Ireland ahead of another referendum of the Lisbon treaty. The Prime Minister also highlighted Czech moves to put relations with non-EU countries in Eastern Europe on a new footing, prioritise energy security and curb the impact of the world economic crisis. Sweden takes over at the helm of the EU from the start of July.
Water levels of swollen rivers began falling across the country on Monday. The highest level flood warnings were in force at two sites in southern Bohemia on Monday afternoon. Just under 700 soldiers are helping with the clean-up operations. But forecasters have warned of more heavy rain and storms especially in the south and east of the country. Prague began erecting flood barriers on Sunday. South Bohemia was the latest region to be hit by floods which have claimed at least 13 lives. Floods hit the region on Sunday with over 800 people evacuated, power cut and transport disrupted.
The newly-installed chairman of the Czech and Moravian Football
Association, Ivan Hašek, said on Monday that he would immediately launch
talks with Slavia Prague about recruiting manager Karel Jarolím as manager
of the national team.
Hašek said he would like the manager of the league champions to take up
the post full-time but added that this would be difficult to achieve.
Jarolím has in the past expressed interest in juggling both club and
national jobs. Slavia Prague later said it was willing to talk about
Jarolím becoming part-time national manager.
The contract with current manager František Straka expires at the end of June. Straka was bought in by previous football association bosses after Petr Rada was sacked in April following a string of poor results which have endangered Czech qualification for the next World Cup.
The Czech competition watchdog has imposed a fine on the country’s biggest importer and distributor of natural gas. RWE Transgas was fined 10 billion crowns for abusing its dominant market position. The office said that the company overcharged around 80,000 customers. The company admitted the fault and said it would not appeal. RWE Transgas is currently contesting a previous record fine of 240 million crowns imposed by the competition office in 2007 for abusing its dominant position.
Farmers across the country blocked motorways with tractors on Monday to protest against low prices they are being paid for milk. One of the biggest protests was in the central Vysočina region where around 400 tractors and lorries blocked the central D1 motorway. Farmers are currently being paid around six crowns for a litre of milk which is sold in shops for three times as much. A year ago they were paid nine crowns. The agricultural chamber has warned that up to 20,000 cows might have to be slaughtered because dairy farmers can not make ends meet.
A Czech film producer who has been detained by Indian authorities for allegedly organising human trafficking to Europe is the innocent victim of a fraud, the local Czech embassy has said. The Czech has been imprisoned in connection with a local investigation into an Indian company that used film making as a cover for illegal immigration. The Czech producer was sent to open negotiations about cooperation with the company. An Indian court is now waiting to decide if the Czech is an innocent victim or was involved in human trafficking.
Prague airport’s second terminal was closed temporarily on Monday morning after unauthorised individuals were detected in a secure area. Police were called in to check passengers and some flights were reportedly delayed by several hours. The problem was cause by human error when some passengers from outside the European passport-free Schengen area were mixed up with passengers from the zone. Terminal two is only used for Schengen zone flights.
Costs for flood damage in southern Bohemia and central and northern Moravia have been estimated at more than 5.6 billion crowns. The figure has been calculated by staff of the Central Flood Commission. Staff did not fix a precise figure for the latest damage but reckoned it would exceed the bill for floods in 2006. The Spring floods that year affected seven regions and caused nine deaths.
Less than four out of 10 Czechs trust trade unions according to a poll carried out by the STEM agency. The survey showed 37 percent of Czechs trusted unions, the lowest level since 2003. The agency said the fall in trust was partly caused by the economic crisis and high unemployment and the overall distrust of political institutions. Faith in trades unions peaked in the second half of the 1990’s when around half of population said they had confidence in them. The latest poll was carried out in June with 1,282 people questioned.
President Václav Klaus told the daily Právo on Saturday that he might return to Czech politics after his presidential term expires in 2013. Mr Klaus said that he was considering coming back “under some new banner”. Political analysts believe that President Klaus might attempt to set up a new party and run in the general elections after having stepped down as the honorary chairman of the Civic Democrats in 2008 over ideological differences with current party leadership.
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