Last weekend was the mostly deadly of the year on Czech roads, with eleven people losing their lives in traffic accidents since Friday. Three of the deadly accidents involved motorcycles. A 62-year-old man died on the spot while riding an unlit bicycle on the wrong side of the road. The second most deadly weekend this year was also in June, when eight people were killed on Czech roads on the weekend of the 10th.
TOP 09 chairman Karel Schwarzenberg expects a major coalition dispute over differing views on the depth of European integration. Foreign Minister Schwarzenberg wants the Czech Republic to remain within the core European mainstream, which he says is the only realistic possibility that would be beneficial to the Czech Republic. The prime minister, he said, was of a different opinion, one that reflects a certain wing of the Civic Democratic Party. Nonetheless, he says, the government can no longer zigzag on the Czech approach to the issue and must develop a unified stance, which he believes may result in a very difficult situation.
The Institute of State and Law says that no expert opinion was needed for the purchase of the CASA military aircraft in 2010. In a statement prepared for the Ministry of Finance, the institute of the Academy of Sciences writes that the Spanish transport planes qualified as “special technology” that did not at the time require an expert price analysis or a public tender. The police have asked Parliament to give up former defence minister Vlasta Parkanová for prosecution because she did not have an expert price analysis conducted prior to the 3.5 billion crown purchase.
The state budget deficit should not exceed the approved amount of 105 billion at the end of this year, according to Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek. Unless the situation in Europe worsens markedly, he said, there is no reason to believe the parameters of the state budget and public deficits for this year would not be met. The risk for the economy is negative developments in the euro zone, particularly with regards to Spain, and the payment of subsidies from EU funds, which are currently suspended. Unless the European Commission resumes the payment of subsidies to the Czech Republic by the end of this year, the country could lose around 22 billion in European funding, according to the Local Development Ministry.
The Supreme Audit Office has found irregularities in public orders while auditing EU funding for migration and asylum policies. The office told the Czech Press Agency on Monday that 6.7% of the funds audited were unqualified to receive money from EU funds or the state budget. Among other things, the auditors say that the Interior Ministry failed to cancel an order regarding refugee facilities despite the fact that none of the offers met all of the conditions of the tender. In another tender for personal vehicles, the ministry reportedly set technical conditions that only one model on the Czech market could meet.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas thanked Croatian rescue services for their professionalism in responding to the tragic crash of a Czech bus on Saturday. Mr Nečas called his Croatian counterpart Zoran Milanović on Monday morning to express his gratitude to all involved. Most of the injured passengers have already been released from hospital and many have returned the Czech Republic on a special government plane. Six people remain in hospital in Croatia, two of them – 13-year-old twins – in serious but improving condition. The bus, carrying 51 people, reportedly struck a pole on Saturday morning before ramming into the median and flipping over, killing eight people, including the driver. It is believed that the driver fell asleep at the wheel.
Overall confidence in the Czech economy decreased again in June, and the composite confidence indicator was 0.8 points lower compared with May. The Czech Statistical Office said Monday that confidence among entrepreneurs had once again only increased in trade, and only slightly; in construction, selected services and in industry it declined. Consumer confidence increased compared with the previous month, but remains lower year-on-year. A survey taken among consumers in June indicates that consumers are less afraid of a drop in the overall economic situation or their own financial standing in the next twelve months, compared to May.
The EC may ask for a preliminary court injunction to ban the cutting of bark-beetle-infested trees in the Šumava National Park. A spokesman for EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik told the Czech Press Agency on Monday that the EC has asked the Czech Republic to stop felling spruces in the park and addressed a letter with reservations and questions to Prague in mid-June, but has to receive a response. Brussels, he said, is monitoring the situation and will take legal steps if necessary. Lumberjacks began felling trees again on Monday in one of the infested localities.
The opposition Social Democrats and police have condemned Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek for saying that the charges against Vlasta Parkanová were an attack on democracy. Police president Petr Lessy said he was “very alarmed” by the comment, and suggested that Kalousek turn to the general inspectorate with his concerns. The Social Democratic Party called on the government to quickly comment on Mr Kalousek’s words or else be suspected of sympathising with them. Speaking on a Czech Television programme on Sunday, the Finance minister and deputy chairman of the TOP 09 party said by accusing Parkanová of corruption the police were attacking the state’s decision-making processes and the democratic system itself.
A policeman in the North Bohemia is being investigated for running his car into a tent full of sleeping children on Saturday while intoxicated, the news site iDnes.cz reports. An 11-year-old boy suffered a head injury in the incident and is in in hospital in intensive care. According to iDnes, the accident occurred in the middle of the night, when the 22-year-old police officer’s car swerved off the road and into a children’s fishing camp.
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