According to the outcome of an October survey conducted by the STEM agency, caretaker Prime Minister Jan Fischer is by far and away the most popular politician in the country, trusted by 79 percent of Czechs. Mr. Fisher has surged ahead of President Klaus who has topped the popularity ladder for years and who now has a 61 percent credit rating. Other Czech politicians have a credit ratings between 20 and 40 percent.
Czech President Václav Klaus said on Friday he was pleased with the wording agreed by European Union leaders on an opt-out clause in the bloc's reform treaty and would raise no further conditions for ratification. Under Czech law the president must now wait for a Czech Constitutional Court ruling on a challenge against the treaty raised by a group of right-wing senators. The verdict is expected on Tuesday, and most lawyers expect the court to say the charter does not conflict with the Czech Constitution. It threw out a similar challenge by the same group of senators last year.
The Czech government has issued a statement saying that the opt-out from
the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights granted to the Czech Republic by EU
leaders on Thursday will not put Czech citizens at a disadvantage or in any
way put their rights at risk. The statement comes in response to
suggestions that the opt-out from the Charter of Fundamental Rights
demanded by President Vaclav Klaus would in future prevent Czech citizens
from defending their rights in European courts of law.
The opt-out, similar to those granted to Britain and Poland, was approved as a last-minute concession to Czech President Václav Klaus who refused to sign the Lisbon treaty without guarantees that it would not allow ethnic Germans forced out of the former Czechoslovakia after World War II to reclaim their property. The president says he is satisfied with the arrangement but there have been mixed reactions from the country’s political parties.
Former Czech legendary football striker František Veselý died of heart failure on Friday at the age of 65. The famous right-winger was a member of the Czechoslovak team that won the European championship in 1976. Veselý played a big part in this success, scoring one goal and assisting another in the semifinal match against the Netherlands. Veselý has played as many as 920 matches in his career, including 34 for Czechoslovak national team. He played for Slavia Praha from 1953 to 1980.
Czech electricity giant ČEZ closed offers at midday on Friday for a massive contract to build two new nuclear reactors at its existing Temelín facility in the Czech Republic with the option of building a further three at other sites in Europe. The company is said to have received several dozen offers for what has been described by local media as the energy contract of the century. The offers will now be examined with those who make the grade to continue in the tender likely to be declared in January, he added. A contract winner could be declared in 2011 with construction estimated at around 10 years. ČEZ did not set out concrete specification for the reactors saying that would tilt the tender in favour of one company or another.
Thousands of dairy farmers across the Czech Republic poured milk down drains and onto fields on Thursday to protest the low prices they are being paid. The protest organised by the Agricultural Chamber aimed at disposing of around half a million litres of milk, or around 7.0 percent of daily production. Farmers say they are being paid just over five crowns a litre for milk, around half of the price they need to break even. Potato growers also joined some demonstrations. They say land devoted to potato cultivation has fallen by 20 percent over the last decade because of insufficient support.
EU leaders started a two-day summit meeting in Brussels on Thursday. One
of the major tasks facing them is to discuss a last minute demand for an
exemption from part of the EU’s reforming Lisbon treaty sought by Czech
President Václav Klaus. President Klaus wants firm guarantees that the
treaty can not be used by Germans expelled from Czechoslovakia after World
War II to reclaim property. Diplomatic sources told the Czech News Agency
that a deal on the exemption should be thrashed out on Thursday evening.
But Hungary, which has opposed the exemption, says it will decide on its
final stance during the summit.
The Czech Republic is the last of the EU’s 27 to ratify the Lisbon treaty which should take effect at the start of next year. Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer said on Wednesday that President Klaus had given guarantees he will not erect new barriers to ratification if his exemption is delivered and the country’s highest court gives it the all clear. The Czech Constitutional Court is expected to rule on Tuesday over a complaint about whether the Lisbon treaty is in conformity with Czech law.
In ice hockey, there have been some big managerial changes in the league. Sparta Prague have sacked the managing tandem of Pavel Hynek and František Výborný. Výborný is heading to České Budějovice where first team coach Jan Tlačil has been sacked from his coaching post. The two teams have had poor results since the start of the season. Sparta lies ninth and České Budějovice tenth in the 14-strong league.
Six more students studying at a high school in the south Bohemian town of České Budějovice have been confirmed with swine fever. This means that 14 students and two adults from the school have come down with swine flu. The school students are believed to have become infected on a school trip to Bavaria. The infected students have been quarantined at home. Swine flu claimed its first victim this month when a woman from Karlovy Vary died following infection.
The Czech ombudsman Otakar Motejl has slammed local and national authorities for allowing a landmark to fall into rack and ruin. Mr Motejl’s office has issued a damning report about how town, regional authorities and the Ministry of Culture failed to prevent the impressive Kyselka spa complex near Karlovy Vary in western Bohemia from falling into ruin over the last decade. It said the unique architectural complex built in the 19th century was a sad reminder of how a protected building could fall into disrepair if the owner and authorities did nothing.
Forgotten Czech net bag makes a comeback
Iconic Czech brands that survived competition from the West after the fall of communism
Czechs and Germans in 1930s Czechoslovakia: a complex picture
Cold War “king of Šumava” story brought to life in new film by Irish director
Unions: Strike Wednesday will hit most Czech schools