An art work sponsored by the Czech EU presidency which has stirred controversy in Brussels may be shown in Prague in the future. The piece by sculptor David Černý and two other artists resembles a large Airfix kit with 27 parts representing the states of the EU, in some cases rather crudely. The artist had claimed to have worked with collaborators in other EU countries, before admitting to being behind the whole thing himself. Mr Černý later apologised to senior Czech politicians for the international embarrassment caused by the piece, entitled Entropa. One of the art work’s co-creators, Kryštof Kintera, said they were in negotiations with the National Theatre to hang it on the institution’s New Stage theatre. Entropa is due to be lit up for the first time at the Council building in the Belgian capital on Thursday.
Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek has outlined the Czech Republic’s plans for its six-month presidency of the European Union in an address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg. He reiterated the motto of the Czech presidency – Europe without Barriers – and the three “Es” Czech officials have made the centre of its programme: economy, energy and external relations. Mr Topolánek told MEPs he wanted to be like the 14th century Czech king and emperor Charles IV, who had to represent the whole of the Holy Roman Empire. In Wednesday morning’s speech, he also strongly rejected criticism of Czech President Václav Klaus over the latter’s Eurosceptic views; he said an EU which had lost the ability to hold a public debate would not be his EU.
The minister of finance, Miroslav Kalousek, says a threatened transport strike has been averted. It would have affected all train and intercity bus services. At a meeting with trade union leaders on Wednesday, Mr Kalousek temporarily withdrew a government decision to tax certain benefits received by transport workers. However, he said he had not given up on a plan to do away with a number of tax exemptions in a new legal code, a proposal strongly opposed by the unions.
Senator Daniela Filipiová is to become the country’s new health minister. A senator for the Civic Democratic Party, Ms Filipiová said she intended to continue with the health reform set in motion by her predecessor, the outgoing health minister Tomas Julínek. A long-serving member on the Senate’s health care committee, Ms Filipiová is said to have a good understanding of the problems involved. She said she would search for compromises that would make the health reform more-widely acceptable.
Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek has not ruled out a bailout for the group Bohemia Crystalex Trading, which is in bankruptcy proceedings. The minister made the statement in response to an appeal for help from the glass manufacturer’s managers and trade unions who have sought to find a means of keeping the group afloat. Mr. Kalousek said that a financial injection from the state would have to be based on guarantees that the companies’ losses would not deepen and that renewed production would gradually start making a profit. Analysts have put the down-turn in the Czech glass-making business to a lack of inventiveness and new design, saying that thanks to its skilled glass masters the business still has a chance to recover.
The former Czech president Václav Havel is reported to have undergone minor surgery at Prague’s Motol hospital and is said to be in a stable condition. Hospital spokeswoman Eva Jurinová declined to give any details regarding the operation. Mr. Havel’s website said he had been hospitalized in connection with an "inflammatory disease" and would remain in medical care for a few more days.
Bulgaria has said it is deeply offended by its representation in the EU mosaic in Brussels made by the controversial Czech artist David Černý. The massive temporary art installation uses stereotypes to depict EU member states in a highly provocative way, with Bulgaria depicted as a Turkish toilet. Bulgaria’s spokesperson at the European Council Bettina Yotevova said the work was extremely insulting. The artwork, which was put up on Monday and is expected to be unveiled on Thursday, has sparked enormous controversy. Moreover it has come to light that the group of 26 international artists who were said to have cooperated on the project with the controversial young artist David Černý do not exist and the work is Černý’s alone. After issuing a denial, the artist allegedly admitted the fact to the Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Alexander Vondra. Mr. Vondra said he was deeply shocked by the revelation. The artist has apologized for misleading government officials. He tried to defend his action by explaining that mystification was part of modern art.
Lenka Pavlová, head of the Czech Office for International Legal Protection of Children, has announced that she is leaving her post for personal reasons. Deputy Labour and Social Affairs Minister Marian Hošek is to take over her agenda on a temporary basis. Ms. Pavlová has been in the post for just over a year.
Health Minister Tomas Julínek has criticized Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek’s decision to replace him, calling it shortsighted. Mr. Julínek is leaving the post after two years in office, with Mr Topolánek saying he had failed to explain his health care reform to the public and gain the coalition parties' support for it. The health fees which he introduced at the beginning of last year were believed to be one of the main reasons for the coalition’s poor showing in October’s regional and Senate elections. Mr. Julínek said on Tuesday that the decision to replace him had come at the worst possible moment, in view of the global economic crisis. He said that the Czech health sector would most likely be in the red this year and predicted that next year could be even worse, arguing that he was the most competent person to deal with such an emergency.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has blamed the poor gas flow to
Europe on weak pressure, the Czech EU presidency said on Tuesday. In a
phone conversation with Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek, who brokered the
agreement on the resumption of gas supplies to Europe, Prime Minister
Tymoshenko blamed technical difficulties, specifically the pressure of gas
arriving from the Russian Federation being too low. According to the Czech
presidency she "promised to act" on a recommendation from Mr.
Topolánek that Ukrainian authorities seek assistance from European gas
Earlier a spokesman for Ukraine's state gas company Naftogaz said that
Kiev had blocked the transit of gas to Europe because of "unacceptable
transit conditions" imposed by Russian energy giant Gazprom.
The six day halt in deliveries has hit Europe hard, with some states, such as Slovakia and Bulgaria, declaring an energy emergency. The Czech EU presidency on Monday stressed the need for the EU to speed up work on a common energy policy.
Czech Ambassador to Ethiopia Pavel Mikeš: ‘If you wait long enough, an egg will walk on two legs’
New debate erupts over use of -ová suffix in Czech female surnames
Archaeologists find unique grave of Roman era warlord in Uherský Brod
The Czechoslovak occultist plot to kill Hitler by magic
Czech companies struggling with labour shortage