Prime Minister and ANO leader Andrej Babiš is scheduled to visit Slovakia
on January 5, ahead of the confidence vote on his minority cabinet in the
Chamber of Deputies, the Czech News Agency reported on Friday.
Later in January, the Prime Minister will visit Bulgaria, which is going to preside over the European Union as of January next year.
Mr Babiš is also negotiating with the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and wants to meet with the political leaders from Austria, which will take over the EU presidency in July next year.
The government has replaced most of the members of the Czech Railways’
Steering Committee and one of the seven members of the Board of Directors
of the Railway Infrastructure Administration, according to a press release
from the Ministry of Transport released on Friday.
Deputy Transport Minister Ladislav Němec has been newly appointed to both of the bodies. The Board of Directors of the Railway Infrastructure Administration, among other things, appoints the members of the organisation, including its Chief Executive Officer.
In football, Slavia Prague have announced the appointment of Jindřich Trpišovský as its new manager. Trpišovský, who will replace the previous manager Jaroslav Šilhavý, has been the manager of Slovan Liberec. Under his leadership, the north Bohemian club twice qualified for the preliminary group stage of the Europa League
The European Commission is assessing the report of the European Anti-Fraud
Office (OLAF) concerning the case of an alleged EU sibsidy fraud in the
Stork’s Nest farm and hotel complex, owned by Prime Minister and ANO
leader Andrej Babiš.
Babiš is suspected of having orchestrated a plan for his farm to acquire a 50 million crown EU subsidy which should technically have been out of his reach. The spokeswoman of the European Commission told the Czech News Agency on Friday that the Czech authorities have removed the Stork’s Nest farm and hotel complex from the list of projects co-financed by EU subsidies. Police have requested the lower house of Parliament to strip Babiš and his deputy Jaroslav Faltýnek of their parliamentary immunity opening the way for criminal prosecution.
The two politicians were earlier charged with EU subsidy fraud but their prosecution was halted when their regained their immunity in October’s general elections.
The Cabinet on Friday agreed to close down 14 departments at ministries and
the Government Office.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said on Friday that his government was getting rid of 73 posts as part of a reorganisation at ministries.
The changes will come into force at the beginning of 2018. Another shake-up is planned for March next year.
Some two fifths of Czechs are planning to visit a church over Christmas,
even if they don’t regard themselves as Christians, suggests a survey by
the STEM agency released on Thursday.
According to the poll, less than one tenth of Czechs attend a church at least once a month.
Around 33 percent of respondents said they believe in God, a six-percentage point drop compared to 1995, when the agency carried out the first such poll.
Czech biathlete Gabriela Koukalová, a double Olympic silver medallist at
Sochi and a two-time World Championship winner, was named Czech Sportswoman
of the Year at a gala event on Thursday night.
The 28-year old athlete has been suffering from leg pain this season and it is not yet clear whether she will take part at the Olympic Games in South Korea.
Javelin thrower Barbora Špotáková, who won a gold medal at the World Athletics Championships in London this year, finished second, followed by tennis player Karolína Plíšková, the first woman singles tennis player from the Czech Republic to become world number one.
The centre-right Civic Democratic Party wants the lower house to review the
2016 legislation which stipulates that stores over 200 square metres must
remain closed on given public holidays. The party wants to see the law
scrapped on the grounds that it restricts the rights of both salespeople
and the public.
The legislation was approved thanks to support from the Social Democrats, Christian Democrats and the Communist Party. The ANO government, whose deputies voted against it in 2016, has now taken a neutral stand to the proposal. Under the legislation shops will be closed on December 25th and 26, and shopping hours on December 24th will be restricted.
Bulgaria’s competition watchdog has fined the Czech utility ČEZ and
Austria’s EVN for breaching competition rules by discriminating against
independent traders. The Bulgarian authorities levied a combined fine of
2.3 million dollars on the two electricity distributors.
ČEZ has denied any wrongdoing and said it would appeal the decision. The Czech energy company is gradually pulling out of the Bulgarian market due to long-standing disputes with local authorities.