The Czech Republic is now ahead of Spain in terms of GDP per capita adjusted to purchasing power parity (PPP). At least according to the latest OECD data, which show the country ranked 27th among the organisation’s 36 member states, with Spain one place behind, news site Aktuálně reports. However, the country still ranks bellow the EU average.
In a speech at a Holocaust conference in 2015, President Miloš Zeman falsely claimed one of the nation’s most respected journalists had penned a pre-war article titled “Hitler is a gentleman”. Ferdinand Peroutka, he claimed, was an admirer of the Nazi dictator. On Monday, a Prague court ruled against his granddaughter, who had sued for an apology.
The EU has so far promised to provide CZK 100 billion in funding through
its Integrated Regional Operational Program between the years 2021 to 2027,
a decrease of around one-fifth compared to the previous term, the minister
of regional development, Klára Dostálová of ANO, told journalists on
Monday. Meanwhile, the rate of national co-financing will increase from the
current 15 percent to 30 percent. However, Ms. Dostálová said that
negotiations are still ongoing.
In terms of overall funding the Czech Republic is expected to receive CZK 520 billion crowns, which is a 100 CZK billion increase to the current funding budget. The European Commission is asking for three-quarters of the funding to be put into the union wide Intelligent Europe and Green Europe programmes, the minister said.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) said on Thursday that the Czech
government agrees with the European Union’s condemnation of Turkey’s
ongoing military offensive in northern Syria to create a refugee zone.
Turkish troops and their Syrian rebel allies attacked Kurdish militia on Wednesday, pounding them with air strikes and artillery before starting a ground operation. The assault began days after US President Donald Trump withdrew American troops from the area.
Following a meeting in early September with Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the United Nations, Mr Babiš had said that the Visegrad Group (the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland) supported Ankara’s intention to create a refugee zone in northern Syria.
Earlier this week, however, the Czech prime minister said that he was surprised by the situation and warned that military intervention could lead to another wave of refugees heading for Europe.
Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček (Social Democrats) had earlier warned in an official statement that the Turkish offensive would “only worsen the situation of civilians and refugees in the region”.
The designated Czech vice-president of the European Commission, Věra Jourová, has been approved for the European values and transparency portfolio in the new European Commission. In a three-hour hearing on Monday, Ms. Jourová was grilled by members of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committees on how she would secure rule of law and media freedom across the EU.
Věra Jourová, the European Commission Vice-President nominee, will be
asked how she can independently supervise the observance of rule of law in
the Czech Republic during her hearing in the European Parliament next
Monday, the Czech News Agency reports. Ms. Jourová, who was chosen as
European Commission Vice-President for values and transparency by the
future commission president Ursula von Der Leyen, was proposed as the Czech
candidate by the government of Andrej Babiš, who was found to be in a
conflict of interests by a preliminary EU audit in May.
Damian Boeselager, a German MEP on the Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO), told the Czech News Agency that unlike some Czech MEPs, Ms. Jourová has never opposed Mr Babiš and so it must be clear that she will not disregard any criticism regarding the rule of law in the Czech Republic.
Just as for other EU Commission candidates, Ms. Jourova’s hearing will take three hours, during which MEPs will have the opportunity to ask a total of 25 questions.
The Czech Republic’s Věra Jourová, responsible for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality in the outgoing European Commission, is likely to return to Brussels in a new role and with a higher status. If her candidacy is approved by MEPs in the coming weeks, Jourová will become this country’s first Vice President as of November, and likely split the “rule-of-law” portfolio with the next EU Commissioner for Justice.
The lower house of Parliament will debate a Senate proposal to file a
constitutional complaint against President Miloš Zeman on September 26,
without any specific recommendation from the chamber’s Committee for
Legal Matters, the ctk news agency reported. The committee’s only
recommendation is that the debate should be public.
The proposal was approved by the Senate in July. If it is passed by the lower house, it will reach the Constitutional Court.
However, this is unlikely, due to the ruling ANO-Social Democrat coalition, supported by the Communist Party, holding a majority in the Chamber of Deputies.
The complaint is based on the president’s recent procrastination tactics in sacking and naming a new culture minister and his frequent unwillingness to adhere to the government’s set foreign policy line.
Czech President Miloš Zeman has said he holds Jaroslav Šaroch, the state
attorney who halted the prosecution of PM Andrej Babiš over suspected EU
subsidy fraud, in high esteem, praising him for having the courage to defy
the "the media gang” hounding the prime minister and change his
position on the case. In an interview for commercial TV Barrandov, Mr.
Zeman said Šaroch's report on the case should be available to the
The Prague Municipal State Attorney's Office said on Monday that Šaroch had changed his legal opinion on the case and that his superior is now checking whether the change is substantiated and in accordance with law.
Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman and Jusice Minister Marie Benešová, have both criticized the approach of the Prague state attorney’s office toward the case. In an interview for Denik N, Mrs. Benešová said the prosecutors’ work was incomprehensible and sent a bad signal about the state of the system of state attorneys.
Czechs' trust in the EU and the European Parliament has seen a slow
but steady growth since 2016 when it was at its lowest since the
country’s admission to the EU in 2004, the STEM polling agency reported
According to the results of a June poll, trust in the EU in June was at 41 percent, up by 2 percent compared to the same month last year, and that in the European Parliament was up by 4 percent, reaching 34 percent.
Trust in EU institutions was at its highest at the start of the Czech EU presidency in 2009, when the EU was trusted by 60 percent and the EP by 51 percent of Czechs.
However it slid to a record low in 2016 declining to 29 and 24 percent, respectively, a phenomenon that was attributed, at least in part, to the migrant crisis.
STEM analysts say Czechs have been gradually feeling a stronger identity with Europe in the past few years. According to the latest poll some 71 percent of Czechs feel they are “Europeans”.