Interim Prime Minister Jan Fischer has expressed interest in the post of Czech EU commissioner, the daily Lidové noviny has reported. The newspaper cited unnamed sources on Friday saying that the former head of the Czech Statistical Office, leading the country’s caretaker government, was reassessing plans to return to his former post after the autumn election. The daily reported that Mr Fischer had now expressed interest in the post of commissioner instead. According to Lidové noviny, Mr Fischer’s chances are not high: members of the country’s two largest parties, the Civic and Social Democrats, have made clear their parties are eying other candidates.
Football club Sparta Prague will face Greek side Panathinaikos in the third qualifying round of the Champions League. It will be the third time the Czech team has faced Panathinaikos since 2002. The two times Sparta faced the Greek club, the Czech side came away defeated. In 2002, Sparta lost a chance at the quarterfinal after suffering back to back losses. Last year Sparta also lost in Athens and at home.
The head of Czech Radio, Václav Kasík, has told Lidové noviny he came under pressure from numerous lobbyists warning him to step down - or risk being recalled from his post. In an interview for the newspaper on Friday, Mr Kasík said that the pressure had political roots and vowed not to give up. Mr Kasík has headed Czech Radio - home to a number of stations including Radio Prague - since 1999. He began his second six year term in 2005. Lidové noviny wrote that Mr Kasík’s post was offered up as part of an alleged backroom deal initiated by top members of the Social and Civic Democrats: the post was supposedly to have been freed up for the head of Czech TV, Jiří Janeček, had he given up his bid to continue as general director of the public broadcaster. He did not and was re-elected as Czech TV head this week.
Airlines at Prague airport have been checking Canada-bound Czech passengers on Thursday to make sure that they had the required visas for entry into the country. Some of the Czechs flying out complained about last minute stress over Canada’s decision to re-impose restrictions, having had to seek visas at the Canadian embassy in Vienna. More than 300 visa applications were made by Friday with Canadian officials saying they had refused around 1.0 percent of applicants.
The Czech National Bank is following closely an offer to buy the producer of the country’s coins. A tender has been launched for the sale of the private company Česká mincovna with its Polish counterpart seen as a favourite for the purchase. The central bank is the main client of the only Czech mint and wants to see it in safe hands. As well as coins in circulation it also produces commemorative coins and medals.
The Czech National Bank has attacked the proposed reinforcement of
supervision of financial markets agreed by EU leaders at the start of
The proposal called for two entirely new Europe-wide bodies to improve
regulation and supervision of financial markets.
The Czech central bank said on its web page on Thursday that the proposals weakened national supervision whose independence should not be undermined. It added that proposals do not solve fragmented supervision in some countries and do not at all address the causes of the current financial crisis. It also complained that the proposals are still very vague. The national bank was asked to comment by the European Commission before EU leaders agreed on an outline of the new rules.
Airlines at Prague airport started checking Canada-bound Czech passengers on Thursday to make sure that they have the required visas for entry into the country. Canada announced the re-imposition of visas for Czechs on Tuesday but allowed visa demands at its frontiers for the first 48 hours. Some of the Czechs flying out on Thursday complained about the last minute stress they had been exposed to. Many have been forced to seek visas at the Canadian embassy in Vienna. Two applicants of the around 200 dealt with there during the first two days were refused visas according to official reports. The Canadian move has been sparked by the surge of Czech asylum applications, mostly from the Roma community.
A World Health Organisation report has highlighted the low level of HIV infection in the Czech Republic. The report says that 17 Czechs per 100,000 are infected with the virus that leads to AIDS. This compares with a European average of 336 per 100,000 and 4,735 per 100,000 in Africa. The figures also shows Czechs on average live to 77 compared with the European average of 74 and African average of 52.
Czech minister for human rights and minorities, Michael Kocáb, has cleared up some of the apparent surprise and confusion in Prague over the Canadian move. Mr Kocáb said that Ottawa notified at the end of June that visas would be introduced on July 7. However, when the move was postponed for a week this was taken as a victory for Czech and EU diplomacy. The explanation that this was only a temporary postponement somehow did not get through.
Former Czech president Václav Havel and former foreign minister Karel
Schwarzenberg are among the signatories of an open letter that has been
prepared for President Barack Obama. The letter – signed by other former
political heavyweights and intellectuals in Central and Eastern Europe –
calls for Washington not to ignore the region as the price for improved
relations with Moscow. Former European affairs minister Alexandr Vondra
told the Czech paper Lidové noviny that Obama is looking for quick
and improved relations with Russia and that could be at the expense of
former Soviet block countries.
The letter warns that a total renunciation of US plans for an anti-radar system in the Czech Republic and Poland - or Russian involvement in them - would undermine trust in the US. Mr Vondra is due to deliver the letter to US leaders in Washington.
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