Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has gone back on a promise to implement a Code of Ethics for cabinet ministers, instructing the Ministry of Justice to stop work on draft guidelines and focus instead on a new lobbying law. Advocates for greater transparency in government see it as a blow to the fight against corruption.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has gone back on a plan to introduce a
government code of ethics, iRozhlas.cz reported on Friday. The ANO leader
told a number of news outlets in the summer that his cabinet would
introduce rules on the conduct of government members.
However, the Ministry of Justice has now abandoned the job of drafting a code of ethics for the government and will instead introduce a bill on lobbying.
Mr. Babiš says his ministers don’t require rules “on paper somewhere”. The government is open and transparent and already has values, he told Czech Radio.
The French president, Emmanuel Macron, will hold talks at Prague Castle
with the Czech head of state, Miloš Zeman, next Friday, a spokesperson for
the latter said. Mr. Macron had previously been reported as due in Prague
at the weekend, when events will be held marking the centenary of
The French president will also meet Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš during his visit.
Prime Minister Babiš has invited a number of international leaders to Prague for the ceremonial reopening of the Czech National Museum on Saturday, the day before the centenary, though their identities have not been revealed.
US Secretary of Defence James Mattis and Slovak President Andrej Kiska are due to attend a Czech Army display at Prague’s Vítkov on October 28.
The Czech government has increased the budget for transport infrastructure
next year to CZK 86.3 billion, its press office said on Wednesday morning.
The amount to be spent on construction and renovation of the country’s
road and rail networks will be CZK 14 billion higher than in 2018.
Cabinet members have also given the green light to Strategic Framework 2030, a plan whose objective is described as to improve the quality of life of all inhabitants of the Czech Republic while respecting natural limits.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has criticised the vulgar language used by
President Miloš Zeman in an interview on Czech Radio on Monday. Mr. Babiš
said he understood that the head of state became angry when referring to
the likes of Viktor Kožený, a 1990s financier wanted on an international
arrest warrant, and Zdeněk Bakala, the former owner of mining company OKD.
However, such language was inappropriate, the prime minister said.
The president used one of the strongest Czech expletives in the live interview. Mr. Babiš rarely questions the head of state in public.
Three and a half months after the official forming of Andrej Babiš’s cabinet, the Czech foreign ministry has received a full-time leader. Until now, Jan Hamáček, who is minister of the interior, had been in temporary charge. In a move that is widely understood as a political compromise, the new man in charge is Tomáš Petříček, the previous candidate’s assistant.
President Miloš Zeman and Prime Minister Andrej Babiš are to take part in
a special Czech Television discussion on the centenary of the foundation of
Czechoslovakia on 28 October, the news website lidovky.cz reported. The two
men will talk about key moments in Czechoslovak history, a spokesperson for
Czech Television said.
The programme will be pre-recorded without an audience at Prague Castle and will be presented by Czech TV journalist Světlana Witowská.
Czech Prime Minister and ANO party leader Andrej Babiš travelled to Warsaw
on Monday to visit the headquarters of the European Border and Coast Guard
Agency, Frontex, which he says should focus mainly on returning migrants to
the country of origin or to the transit states.
Babiš has recently criticized the European Commission’s plans to increase funding for Frontex, arguing that it amounts to duplicating European security structures and boosting an agency that has not proven very effective.
In Warsaw he also met his Polish counterpart, Mateusz Morawiecki. Among the topics on their agenda was the upcoming EU summit in Brussels and migration. They also agreed on the need to help source countries of migration improve conditions at home.
The Civic Democrats and the Mayors and Independents gained 10 and seven seats, respectively, in elections to one-third of seats in the Senate that concluded at the weekend. In stark contrast, governing parties ANO and the Social Democrats won only one mandate apiece. Though ANO’s poor showing has vexed leader Andrej Babiš, the outcome was not unexpected, says political scientist Petr Just.
The government has approved a proposal to allow patients’ medical records
to be shared among doctors, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals
treating or caring for them. Currently, healthcare professionals are not
always aware of what medications their patients have been prescribed.
Health Minister Adam Vojtěch (an independent, on the Ano ticket) said it was an important step towards an e-health system, meaning the digitisation of healthcare records.