The Czech Republic and Slovakia are looking to tackle problems in the health sector together, the health ministers for both countries confirmed following talks on Monday. Outstanding issues in both countries include a shortage of doctors and nurses, many of whom seek better pay and conditions abroad. Health Minister Svatopluk Němeček and his Slovak counterpart Tomáš Drucker also discussed a joint approach in dealing for example with pharmaceutical companies to secure more advantage prices for medicine. On July 1, Slovakia will take up the EU presidency; Health Minister Drucker said that the availability of more expensive patented medicines, the issue of antimicrobial resistance and the lack of vaccination of contagious diseases would be issues focussed on during Slovakia’s tenure.
The average monthly wage increased by more than 4.4 percent in Q1 year-on-year, the Czech Statistics Office reported on Monday. The rise is the equivalent of just over 1,000 crowns. Minus inflation, the average rose by 3.9 percent. The national average for the monthly salary in the Czech Republic currently stands at 26,480; in the capital the number is the highest, just below 33,000 crowns.
Czech police are trying to trace alleged bank accounts belonging to imprisoned former politician David Rath in Israel, Qatar and four other countries, Czech Radio reported, citing documents linked to his case. Mr. Rath denies having accounts in other states and describes the police’s efforts as a waste of taxpayers’ money. Investigators suspect that the former health minister and regional governor accumulated CZK 675 million in bribes. Mr. Rath was sentenced to eight and a half years in prison and the forfeiture of CZK 20 million after being found guilty of bribe-taking last year. An appeal process is due to start in the autumn.
The Czech Republic was owed CZK 37 billion by other states at the end of last year with Cuba its biggest debtor, according to figures released by the Ministry of Finance quoted by the Czech News Agency. The figure was over CZK 2 billion higher than a year previously due to interest and fluctuations in the exchange rate between the crown and the US dollar, in which most of the debts are held. The Ministry of Finance said Cuba had requested to have some of its CZK 7 billion forgiven and offered to pay the rest back in instalments.
The Czech Republic’s footballers have lost their final warm-up game ahead of the European Championship in France, going down 2:1 to South Korea at Prague’s Eden stadium on Sunday afternoon. The visitors were 2:0 up by half-time before Czech defender Marek Suchý reduced the deficit with a deflected effort after the break. Pavel Vrba’s men will face Spain, Croatia and Turkey at Euro 2016 with their opening game against the defending champions in eight days’ time.
The domestic soccer first division is going to be sponsored by a Chinese company, the chairman of the Czech Football Association, Miroslav Pelta, said on Czech Television on Sunday. However, Mr. Pelta would not reveal the name of the firm, saying an official presentation would take place within two weeks. He said that thanks to President Miloš Zeman, who has cultivated ties with the world’s most populous state, companies from China have a great deal of goodwill towards the Czech Republic. The Chinese company CEFC owns Slavia Prague and is one of the biggest sponsors of the Czech national team.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has rejected President Miloš Zeman’s suggestion on Friday that fire officers could be sent to help guard the country’s borders if there were an increased influx of migrants. Speaking on Czech Television on Sunday, Mr. Sobotka said the head of state’s idea was “improvisation” that was some way removed from reality and would not resolve the migrant crisis. The PM said if there were any incidents at the border the army was available to help the police. He added that the Czech Republic was not a target destination for asylum seekers and that migrant transit across the country was minimal.
A Czech coach returning from Spain was shot at in the south of France on Saturday night, the Czech News Agency reported, citing the website FranceBleu. Six of the 70 passengers on board the bus were injured by flying shards of glass when two shots were fired at it, evidently from a bridge on a motorway near the town of Montelimar. The reasons for the incident are unclear but French police have investigated several cases of stones being thrown at vehicles from motorway bridges, the Czech News Agency said.
Coalition members ANO have submitted draft legislation to the lower house that would bar politicians from simultaneously serving as ministers and deputies, Czech Television reported on Sunday. ANO chief Andrej Babiš has previously said that the bill – which envisages substitutes standing in for MPs for the period they hold ministerial posts – would allow ministers to devote more time to their portfolios. The proposed amendment is seen as unlikely to succeed as it would require the backing of a constitutional majority of 120 MPs in the lower house and does not have the support of some government MPs or opposition parties.
The body that investigates violations by Czech police officers, the GIBS, has objected to the Constitutional Court’s claim that it is not independent, Lidovky.cz reported on Sunday. The court recently upheld a complaint from an environmental group which said inspectors from the GIBS had failed to investigate properly a police operation against ecologists taking part in a protest; the complaint also stated that the GIBS was not independent as most of its employees were formerly members of the Police Inspectorate, which it replaced. The head of the parliamentary committee overseeing the GIBS, Václav Klučka, said it was incredible that the court had asserted some connection between the agency’s staff’s previous employment and their independence.
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