The supersonic Jas-39 Gripens, leased from Sweden, should stay in the Czech military's armament even after 2015 when the contract expires, Deputy Defence Minister Frantisek Padělek told journalists in Prague on Tuesday. The minister said the fighter jets had proved their worth during the military’s participation in a NATO operation protecting Baltic air space from May to September of this year. In 2004 the Czech Republic leased 14 Gripens from Sweden for some 20 billion crowns, replacing the outdated Soviet-made MiG-21s.
Even twenty years after the fall of communism, communist thinking still presents a threat to Czech society, Civic Democrat leader Mirek Topolánek said at the opening of an international conference on the communist legacy in Prague. Mr. Topolánek said that remnants of the communist ideology remained buried deep in people’s minds and influenced decisions made in the present day. The Civic Democrat leader said he saw daily proof of this in politics, in the media and also in the judiciary. He said the country’s hope lay in the new generation which was not burdened by the past.
Prague City Hall has said it is planning to file a criminal complaint over the collapse of a three-storey building in the centre of Prague last Friday. The building was under reconstruction at the time and there are indications that safety norms were badly neglected. Several people have come forward to give evidence. Four construction workers were killed in the accident.
A total of 969 firms were declared bankrupt in the first three quarters of this year, which is more than 54 percent against the same period last year, according to figures published by the Czech Credit Bureau. Between January and September a total of 3,516 firms and entrepreneurs filed for bankruptcy, up by almost 80 percent against the same period in 2008. In Q3 this year, a total of 343 firms were declared bankrupt, an increase of nearly 77 percent on the year.
Jiří Obelfalzer, the author of both complaints against the Lisbon treaty, has described the Constitutional Court’s ruling as a blow to the country’s sovereignty. He said the petition against the amendment had been reasonable and had been aimed at safeguarding the country’s rights and interests. He refused to speculate as to the possible outcome of the second complaint against the treaty.
The Senate’s media commission is to propose the scrapping of radio and TV license fees as of 2011. The proposal, which is to be put to the Senate this week, envisages a system under which public radio and TV broadcasters would be funded from the state budget. The respective media are against the proposal saying it could threaten their independence.
Caretaker Prime Minister Jan Fischer has invited party leaders to a meeting on Friday to debate the government’s mandate for the next six months. It is not clear how many parties will send their representatives. A separate meeting on the same subject was held on Monday night at the instigation of Civic Democrat leader Mirek Topolánek and only attended by Civic Democrat, Christian Democrat and TOP09 representatives. There is controversy over the caretaker government’s mandate with the Civic Democrats expressing concern that it could be hijacked by left-wing parties in Parliament.
The Constitutional Court has rejected a complaint regarding the validity
of an amendment which prevents the government from transferring national
powers to the EU without the consent of Parliament. The amendment broadened
support for the Lisbon treaty in the Czech lowers house and its abrogation
would have placed another hurdle in the way of the treaty’s ratification.
The court is still expected to rule on a complaint by 17 right-wing
senators who have asked it to asses the treaty’s compatibility with Czech
Prime Minister Jan Fisher and the Minister for EU affairs Stefan Fulle have welcomed Tuesday’s verdict as another important step on the road to the treaty’s ratification. Mr. Fischer is expected to meet with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and EC chief Jose Manuel Barroso on Wednesday to discuss the way forward on Lisbon.
The outcome of a September poll conducted by the stem agency suggests that people’s trust in the lower house and the Senate has plummeted, while President Vaclav Klaus continues to enjoy an unusually high rate of support. Only 25 percent of respondents said they now trust Parliament while 70 percent of respondents said they trusted President Klaus.
A meeting tabled by the head of the Civic Democrats Mirek Topolánek to discuss Prime Minister Jan Fischer’s mandate will not be attended by leaders of the Social Democrats, the Greens, and Prime Minister Jan Fischer himself, Novinky.cz reported on Monday. Mr Topolánek wanted to discuss making possible changes to the interim cabinet, which was originally decided upon by the Social Democrats and Civic Democrats in spring, but the idea met with little enthusiasm from Jiří Paroubek’s Social Democrats. It is now unclear whether Monday evening’s meeting will go ahead at all, Novinky.cz says. On Monday morning, head of the Greens Ondřej Liška said that there was no point in going if Jiří Paroubek and Mr Fischer himself would not be there. It is now thought that representatives of the Civic Democrats, the Christian Democrats and TOP 09 will be the only politicians to attend the discussion, should it go ahead.