Germany and France could participate in a future meeting of the Visegrad
Group, which includes the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. The
proposal was made by Bundestag speaker Wolfgang Schäuble to the chairman
of the lower house of Czech parliament, Radek Vondráček, during their
meeting in Berlin on Wednesday.
Mr Vondráček said after the meeting that he and Mr Schäuble both agreed on deepening cooperation of the countries` parliaments. He also said the Visegrad Four should invite Germany to one of their future meetings. Wolfgang Schäuble advanced the idea of inviting two countries, such as Germany and France, arguing that such a meeting would contribute to improving cooperation within the European Union.
The ANO prime minister in resignation, Andrej Babiš on Wednesday held
talks on forming a government with representatives of the Social Democratic
Party. The Social Democrats demanded a written guarantee from the ANO party
that the larger coalition partner will not overrule them in case they
participate in the government. According to the party's deputy
chairman Jiří Zimola, negotiations on a joint government with the ANO
party should be completed by the end of March.
ANO leaders also held talks with representatives of the Freedom and Direct Democracy Party, which has no ambition to enter the government. They also met with leaders of the Communist Party, who said they want to hald talks with the Social Democrats before offering their support to the government.
The bout of cold weather, with night time lows dropping below -20 degrees
Celsius, continues to break records in many part of the Czech Republic.
Several monitoring stations, especially in South Bohemia and in the Hradec Králové region registered record-low temperatures on Tuesday night. The lowest temperature for the day, -25.2 degrees Celsius, was recorded in Rolava in Krušné Hory mountains in the northeast of the country.
According to weather experts, the current cold spell is expected to last until Friday. Next week could see day-time highs of around five degrees Celsius.
Prague was the seventh richest region of all EU member states in 2017,
according to data released by Eurostat on Wednesday. According to the
figures, which measure per capita GDP adjusted for purchasing power parity,
Prague’s GDP stands at 182 percent of the EU average.
London ranks number one in Europe with 611 percent of the EU average, followed by Luxembourg and south-east Ireland. The entire Czech Republic is ranked at around 88 percent of the EU average.
The lower house of the Czech parliament on Wednesday supported the
Communist Party’s proposal for church restitutions to be taxed, despite
protests from the opposition Civic Democrats, Christian Democrats and TOP
09. The proposal will now be debated by the budget committee and the
committee on constitutional and legal affairs.
The settlement on compensating churches for property seized by the Communists was signed in 2012 after 20 years of negotiations. Under the settlement, the state is paying out 59 billion crowns adjusted for inflation over 30 years.
According to the Communist Party, the state could get back 380 million crowns a year in taxes from church restitutions and 11 billion crowns overall.
The prime minister in resignation, Andrej Babiš will call a special
meeting of the National Security Council to explain his criticism of the
head of the General Inspectorate of the Security Forces, Michal Murín.
Mr Babiš told journalists on Wednesday that he had lost faith in the official and doubted his moral and professional integrity, adding that his concerns were based on documents of the Supreme State Office in Olomouc, which cannot be made public.
The outgoing Prime Minister also plans to attend a meeting of the Security Committee of the lower house on Thursday and debate the case with the Highest State Attorney Pavel Zeman.
Evangelical priest Václav Čermák has been recognised in memoriam as
“Righteous among the Nations”, the highest Israeli tribute to non-Jews
who saved the lives of Jews during the Second World War. Israeli ambassador
Daniel Maron bestowed the award to Čermák’s daughter at a ceremony in
Prague's New Town Hall on Tuesday.
Mr Čermák helped two Jewish families in the wartime Nazi-controlled Slovak state, regardless of the risk it meant for him and his own family.
Altogether 117 Czechs have received the “Righteous among the Nations” tribute, sponsored by the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem.
A Czech journalist has been placed under police protection in connection
with the case of the Slovak investigative journalist Ján Kuciak, who was
assassinated late last week.
According to the weekly Respekt, Pavla Holcová of the Czech Centre for Investigative Journalists, had been cooperating with Ján Kuciak on his last article, which links the Italian mafia to high level political corruption in Slovakia.
Ján Kuciak and his fiancée, Martina Kušnírová were found shot dead in their home on Sunday. Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico has offered a one million euro reward for anyone who comes forward with information about their murder.
The ANO prime minister in resignation, Andrej Babiš, will on Wednesday
hold talks on forming a government with representatives of the Social
Democrats. ANO leaders will also meet leaders of the Communist Party, who
could offer their support to such a minority government. Last week Mr.
Babiš described such a set-up as “the only variant on the table”.
The Social Democrats say they want to focus on Wednesday on participation in a minority cabinet and its potential policy programme rather than on personnel issues. At the same time they continue to regard the fact that Mr. Babiš is facing criminal charges of abusing EU subsidies as problematic.