Speaker of the Senate Milan Stěch will be the highest Czech official to
represent the country at the upcoming Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South
Korea, the ctk news agency reported on Friday.
Mr. Stěch will officially open the Czech House at the Winter Olympics and support the Czech team in the first few days of the games.
Neither the president nor members of the cabinet will travel to South Korea due to the ongoing talks on forming a new government.
The Czech central bank on Friday raised its forecast for the 2018 public
sector surplus to 1.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) from an
earlier estimate of 1.4 percent. The bank improved its outlook for the 2019
surplus to 1.8 percent from a previous forecast of 1.5 percent.
The bank increased its expectation for 2017 public debt to 34.7 percent of GDP from 33.8 percent. In 2019, the debt level should drop further to 29.8 percent of GDP.
The health authorities have warned that Czech Republic is on the brink of a flu epidemic. A fast spread of the disease has been registered in all regions of the country and many hospitals and old age homes have closed their doors to visitors. Six people have already died of flu-related complications and 33 are getting treatment in intensive care.
The European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Věra
Jourová wants the double standard of food products in the EU to be put on
the list of illegal business practices in the EU.¨The commissioner made
the announcement at a press briefing in Prague on Friday.
This means that consumers would be in a position to sue a company over the practice. The list is to be reviewed by the Commission in April.
Meanwhile, a special working group made up of representatives from 15 EU member states is working on a control mechanism which would gradually root out the practice.
The area of the Zlín region covered by special measures to counter African
swine fever has been reduced sharply.
The area covered from February 1 by special measures now covers just 40 percent of the Zlín district. The reduction was agreed by the European Commission following a Czech request.
Special measures had applied to the whole of the Zlín district from the middle of last year. Czech authorities are trying to stop the spread of the fever, which is fatal for pigs, from the population of wild boar to the livestock being raised on farms.
The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia has said it will restart talks
over possible support for a government led by outgoing Czech prime minister
The ANO leader and communist leader Vojtěch Filip met late Thursday for
talks. Filip said afterwards that they had agreed that expert groups from
both parties would discuss policy issues next week.
The communists had threated to walk away from talks in protest at an
addendum to a memorandum on lithium mining signed by the industry minister
and an Australian mining company.
Andrej Babiš is seeking to broaden his support with a view to a second attempt at winning support for a government after it fell short of the necessary votes in the first attempt.
The Czech Republic has been described as a flawed democracy in the
Economist Intelligence Unit’s latest Democracy Index.
The country was placed 34th in a list of 167 countries in the survey whose performance for 2017 was rated. It’s score fell to 7.62 points from 7.82 points in 2016, its worst place in a decade. The overall fall for countries in Central Europe was highlighted.
The report is subtitled – Freedom of Speech in danger. It coincides with a row at public service broadcaster Czech Radio in which the station’s general director has objected to aspects of a report by station journalists which revealed how prime minister’s Andrej Babiš’ Agrofert company gained subsidies for farming land it did not own.
Warnings of increased pressure on public service media have also accompanied the re-election of president Miloš Zeman.
Czech Minister of foreign affairs Martin Stropnický has suggested that the
Visegrad Four regional grouping should present its own solutions to
European Union problems. He added that they should not just take a common
stand against policies.
Stropnický was speaking after meeting with his Hungarian counterpart in
Prague, Péter Szijjartó, on Thursday.
It was their first meeting since Stropnický took up his new post in government. Both ministers stressed the importance of the regional grouping which embraces the two countries as well as Poland and Slovakia.
Szijjartó thanked the Czech Republic for its support on migration. Hungary has refused to take immigrants under the EU’s proposals to share out most of those who fled their countries and are now mostly in Italy and Greece.
Hungary, which is currently chairing the V4 group, has also taken a stand against United Nations plans on migrants which the international body hopes will form the basis for a global compact.
The Hungarian minister was later due to meet with the Czech minister for labour and social affairs, minister of defence, and also outgoing prime minister Andrej Babiš.
Around 32,200 new companies were created in the Czech Republic in 2017, according to the consultancy company Bisnode. That’s the highest figure since the pre-crisis year of 2007, it added. Most of the new companies were created in Prague and South Moravia with their main activities services, rentals, management of real estate, wholesale and accommodation. Bisnode said that the total number of companies in the country last year rose by 5.3 percent to stand at 475,600.
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