After a night of negotiations in Brussels, EU leaders, with the exception of Poland, have agreed to the European Commission’s Green Deal plan, which aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. One of those who can celebrate is Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who succeeded in having a provision under which some countries can add nuclear power to their energy mix added to the treaty.
As the European Commission prepares to outline its Green Deal on Wednesday, the Czech branch of Greenpeace has staged a protest in Prague against Prime Minister Andrej Babiš who looks like he might be the only European leader to block the EU’s decision to become carbon neutral by 2050. On Monday evening, Greenpeace activists symbolically set the government building on fire, screening images of flames on its façade.
Prague City Hall councillors have agreed is conclude a Free Cities Pact
with the other Visegrad Four group capitals aimed at strengthening
The mayors of Prague, Budapest, Bratislava and Warsaw agreed to create the pact on the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The Free Cities Pact calls on signatories to work together to tackle problems such as climate change, housing and social policy, and to promote democratic ideals, human rights, and the rule of law.
Representatives of the V4 capitals are due to sign the pact on December 16 in Hungary. Prague also wants to sign a sister city pact with Vienna, concerning mainly transport, housing and ecological issues.
A European Commission audit has found Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš to be in a conflict of interest over EU subsidies paid to the Agrofert holding he founded and placed in a trust fund two years ago, the weekly magazine Respekt reported on Sunday. The European Commission has told Czech Radio this is the final version of the audit first leaked in preliminary form earlier this year. However, Mr. Babis and his regional development minister insist it is not.
The EU representative office in Prague has confirmed receiving the final EC
audit on Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš‘ alleged conflict of interest
stemming from the multi-billion crown agro-chemical empire Agrofert he
owned and later placed in trust funds and EU subsidies to the said holding.
The audit has been sent to the Ministry for Regional Development. According to EU representatives in Prague the document is confidential.
The EC’s preliminary audit concluded that the Czech prime minister has a conflict of interest and the Czech Republic may subsequently have to return some 450 million crowns in EU subsidies paid to the Agrofert business conglomerate.
Prime Minister Babiš has dismissed the claims, saying he had fully adhered to the Czech conflict of interest law.
Incoming European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen's new team of commissioners was confirmed in office by a vote of the European Parliament on Wednesday. The EC’s first female president promised a transformation that would touch “every part of the EU’s society and economy”, with the fight against climate change at the top of her list.
The spreading of disinformation by pro-Russian activists was the most
serious threat to the constitutionality of the Czech Republic last year,
the country’s BIS counterintelligence service says in an annual report
issued on Tuesday.
In recent years such players have been agitating in an increasingly intensive and systematic way against the political structure in the Czech Republic and the country’s membership of the EU and NATO, the report states.
The report says those circulating pro-Moscow disinformation tend to be from various nationalist and populist movements and include parties and individuals. Some of them were previously active in the domestic anti-immigrant movement.
BIS also said that China was intensifying its espionage activities in the Czech Republic, with all of it main intelligence services in operation here in 2018.
China has targeted its activities at the academic community, the security forces and the state administration and has sought to recruit Czechs as agents, the report says.
Government delegations from 17 EU member states, known as the “Friends of Cohesion”, are meeting in Prague on Tuesday to discuss a united position on the EU’s budget for 2021–2027. They have issued a joint declaration which states that the future EU budget should include the same level of cohesion funding, but states should be given more flexibility in how they use it.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš is under fire from the opposition for the way
his cabinet is handling preparations for the country’s next EU presidency
The opposition Civic Democrats claim the prime minister is underestimating the opportunities the EU presidency affords and has failed to consult his cabinet’s plans and priorities with the opposition.
They are also critical of the fact that the government slashed the budget for the country’s EU presidency from the proposed 2.6 billion to 1.2 billion crowns. The country’s last EU presidency, ten years ago, cost 3.7 billion.
In an interview for Czech Television, Prime Minister Babiš countered that the institutions involved in preparations have hidden reserves and said he would make known his plans in due time. The prime minister said the presidency’s priorities would most likely be energy and the single market.
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.