In its first draft of the 2019 state budget the Finance Ministry envisages
a deficit of 50 billion crowns, the ctk news agency reported Friday.
The budgetary priorities are increased pensions, higher wages for teachers and higher investments. Deficits of roughly that amount are expected until the year 2021.
All ministries have been promised more funds for next year, with the biggest increase being to the budget of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.
Opposition parties have criticized the size of the deficit at a time of economic growth.
The lower house of Parliament has approved the government’s foreign
missions plan. Under the proposal the Czech Republic should reinforce its
presence in Iraq, Afghanistan and Mali by 275 soldiers this year. In the
second half of 2019 Czech pilots will take their turn protecting the
airspace of the Baltic States.
The plan was approved by 140 out of the 170 deputies present. Only the Communist Party and the Freedom and Direct Democracy Party voted against.
The vote was preceded by a stormy debate since the Civic Democrats had strong reservations to the fact that the plan was being put forward by a government without a confidence vote.
Steelmaker Třinecké železárny has made a bid to buy its main rival
Arcelor Mittal Ostrava. The news was confirmed by the spokeswoman of
Třinecké železárny Petra Jurásková.
The idea of a merger between the country’s two biggest steelmakers has received strong support both from Prime Minister Andrej Babis and President Milos Zeman who said the companies should stay in Czech hands.
The Czech government is closely following ArcelorMittal Ostrava’s sale with the main concern to ensure the continuity of steel making and allied activities employing more than 7,000 in a region of relatively high unemployment.
It is not clear how many other bids have been made.
The week-long festival of Romany culture Khamoro continued on Friday with a
colorful parade through the city center with over 250 Romany musicians and
dancers from different countries and regions taking part.
The festival also offers a concert of traditional Roma music at La Fabrika with artists from Russia, Portugal and Romania, a football tournament and a gala concert at the Prague Club SaSaZu on Saturday.
Prague’s Mánes Bridge will be the site of weekend celebrations marking
the 20th anniversary of the Czech-German Fund For the Future.
Over that time the fund has supported more than 10,000 joint and cross-border projects that benefitted good-neighborly relations.
The celebrations on Mánes Bridge will include concerts, outdoor theatre performances, debates, events for children and there will be stalls with Czech and German cuisine.
Mánes Bridge will be closed to traffic as of Friday evening.
The Czech economy growth slowed to 4.4 percent year on year in the first
quarter of this year, according to revised figures published on Friday.
Provisional calculations had put the gross domestic product expansion in
the January to April period at 4.5 percent. Growth in the last quarter of
2017 stood at 5.5 percent.
The positive growth rate in the first three months of 2018 was due to accelerated investment expenditures supported by continued growth in domestic consumption, the Czech Statistics Office said.
The defeated candidate in the second round of presidential elections in
January, Jiří Drahoš, is to stand for the Senate with the backing of
several political parties, he announced on Friday. The chemist and former
head of the Czech Academy of Sciences will have the support of TOP 09, the
Christian Democrats, the Mayors and Independents and the Greens when he
runs for a Senate post in the Prague 4 constituency in October.
Mr. Drahoš received 48.5 percent of the vote in January’s elections, which were won by the incumbent Miloš Zeman.
The Czech women’s number one Karolína Plíšková has knocked another
compatriot out of tennis’s French Open. After overcoming Barbora
Krejčíková in the first round in Paris, the 26-year-old beat Lucie
Šafářová in the second on Thursday.
However, Plíšková had to come from behind before winning 3-6 6-4 6-1 against Šafářová, who has hinted she may quit tennis this year.
President Miloš Zeman will appoint ANO leader Andrej Babiš prime minister
of the Czech Republic for the second time on Wednesday next week. A
previous ANO government named by the head of state failed to win the
necessary approval in the Czech lower house. Mr. Babiš told journalists
about Mr. Zeman’s intention following a meeting between the two men at
the president’s retreat near Prague. The ANO chief also said his
government could undergo a confidence vote in the week beginning July 10.
The president had previously said he would appoint Mr. Babiš PM again before the result of an internal Social Democratic Party ballot on whether to enter a minority coalition with ANO. That vote will end in mid-June.
Mr. Zeman favours an ANO-Social Democrats government supported by the Communist Party on key votes in the Chamber of Deputies.
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