Finance Minister Alena Schillerová will propose to exclude expenditures
from the controversial Stork’s Nest project from an EU programme for the
Central Bohemian region. The minister made the statement at a press
conference on Wednesday. The European Commission called on the Czech
Republic to do so already in December last year.
The case of an alleged EU subsidy fraud in the Stork’s Nest farm and hotel complex, owned by Prime Minister and ANO leader Andrej Babiš, was investigated by the European Anti-Fraud Office, known as OLAF. The report, which has not yet been made fully public, is currently being assessed by the European Commission.
Eleven people, including Babiš and his deputy Jaroslav Faltýnek, have been charged in connection with the affair. The pair have parliamentary immunity after being elected in October and the Czech lower house is to decide on whether to allow them to face trial in connection with the matter. They deny any wrongdoing.
The Czech Republic’s state budget ended 2017 with a deficit of 6.2
billion crowns (around 243 million euros). The result was the second best
figure in the past two decades, the finance ministry said on Wednesday.
According to the resort, the deficit was caused mainly by slower drawing of
Last year, the Czech Republic enjoyed a record 62 billion crown surplus, thanks to the refunds from the European Union covering projects from the previous budget period. According to the ministry estimates, 2018 should see a similar surplus.
The Constitutional Court on Wednesday ruled that all nine candidates,
registered by the Interior Ministry will run for Czech president in the
upcoming elections. The court rejected a complaint by Terezie Holovská for
Holovská, who herself was rejected as a presidential candidate, has questioned five contenders on the grounds that some of the deputies and senators who signed their bids also supported other candidates with their signatures.
The first round of the presidential election will be held on January 12 and 13 and a possible second round two weeks later.
The Czech weather office has issued a snow warning for north and
north-eastern parts of the Czech Republic. Heavy snowfall in the mountain
regions could bring up to 35 centimetres of fresh snow.
Meteorologists have also warned of high winds of up to 110 kilometres an hour that will affect most of the country throughout Wednesday.
Energy advisor and consultant for the J&T Bank, Michal Šnobr,
announced on Wednesday that he and other investors together hold a
shareholding of more than 1.0 percent in Czech power group, ČEZ.
Šnobr said at an investment forum that the shareholding would allow him
to call an extraordinary general meeting of the company and he would try to
make that happen in the first half of this year if the government pushed
for ČEZ to pay for a new nuclear reactor at Dukovany on its own.
That would hit shareholders’ stake in the near 70 percent state controlled power giant, he said. Šnobr has been a frequent critic of the current ČEZ management.
The Supreme Court is set to deal with the case of alleged discrimination
filed by a young Somali woman who left a Prague nursing school because she
was not allowed to wear a headscarf.
The girl sued the school, seeking an apology and 60,000 crowns in compensation, but a Prague court dismissed the case at the start of last year arguing that there was no evidence of discrimination.
The case, which happened in 2013, sparked a heated debate in the country. Czech ombudswoman Anna Šabatová stood up for the Somali girl, arguing that she was discriminated by being denied access to education.
Jan Thompson officially steps down as British ambassador to the Czech
Republic on Friday, the embassy’s spokesman Jiří Šebek told the Czech
News Agency on Wednesday.
Thompson, who headed the office for four and a half years, will be replaced by Nick Archer, who is set to arrive in Prague next week. Archer worked in a number of diplomatic positions before joining the United Kingdom Trade and Investment in 2012.
The Czechs will face Canada in the semi-final at the 2018 World Junior Ice
Hockey Championships after Canada trounced Switzerland by a score of 8:2.
The Czechs clinched their spot in the semis earlier edging Finland by a
score of 4:3 in a shootout in the quarterfinal.
The other semifinalists in the tournament are the hosts USA and Sweden.
The incumbent Miloš Zeman is the most discussed candidate in this
month’s presidential elections on social media, according to analysis
conducted by the company SentiOne cited by the news website iHned.cz. The
study carried out between mid-October and mid-December found that there was
twice as much interest in Mr. Zeman as in any other candidate.
Just over 40 percent of mentions of candidates related to the president, compared to 19 percent for academic Jiří Drahoš, who has been coming second in opinion polls behind Mr. Zeman. Some 73 percent of comments regarding the incumbent were negative, more than for any of his rivals.
The first round of the presidential elections takes place on Friday and Saturday next week. If none of the candidates receives over half the vote, the front two will go through to a run-off a fortnight later.