The Czech prime minister designate, Andrej Babiš of ANO, is hoping that
President Miloš Zeman will come to the lower house in person to support
his second attempt to form a government, Czech Television reported. Mr.
Babiš’s planned government should undergo a confidence vote in the
Chamber of Deputies on July 11.
The outcome of such a vote will depend on whether the membership of the Social Democrats opts to enter a minority coalition with ANO that would be backed during crucial votes by the Communists. The result of the Social Democrats’ ballot is due on Friday.
Mr. Babiš said Mr. Zeman had expressed interest in attending the lower house confidence vote, which would precede a NATO summit he is set to attend later that day.
Czechs regard the 1989 Velvet Revolution as the highlight of their
nation’s greatest moment since the foundation of Czechoslovakia a century
ago, while for the Slovaks their proudest hour was the Slovak National
Uprising in 1944. That is according to parallel opinion polls conducted in
both states and published on Tuesday.
Some 72 percent of Czechs polled rated the revolution as the “most positive” moment of the last century. By contrast, Slovaks placed the events of 1989 third among great moments since 1918, behind the Slovak National Uprising and the establishment of independent Slovakia.
The opposition Christian Democrats plan to call on the government to drop a
plan to reduce housing benefits for those on social welfare during a lower
house session on Thursday. The party have been joined in their petition by
the Pirates, TOP 09 and the Mayors and Independents.
The Christian Democrats’ Jan Čižinský said the Ministry of Labour proposal was targeted at the poorest in Czech society. He said cutting such benefits would lead to people being forced to leave their apartments and live in shelters.
The Social Democrats, who seem headed for a coalition with the Ministry of Health-helming ANO, say they are against such a debate but still have objections to the proposal.
The Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, says he regards a meeting on
Tuesday between the leaders of the United States and North Korea
positively. Mr. Babiš told reporters that he hoped the summit between
Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un in Singapore would produce results and remove
the risk of war in the region.
Prime Minister Babiš said it would be a great success if North Korea gave up its nuclear weapons. He said it was a pity that similar conflicts had not been resolved in the past and that Western states had attempted to bring about regime change by force rather than negotiation.
The population of the Czech Republic climbed slightly in the first quarter
of this year to reach just over 10,613,000, according to official figures
released on Tuesday. The population at the end of March was around 3,300
higher than at the end of 2017.
The growth has been attributed to immigration, in particular from Ukraine and Slovakia.
Deaths outnumbered births in the first three months of 2018, though both were down by several hundred on the previous quarter.
The Czech National Bank will introduce stricter rules for the provision of
mortgage loans in October. Under the change, mortgage holders should not be
allowed to spend more than 45 percent of their monthly income on
The central bank’s restrictions are not legally binding but are generally followed by banks.
Tuesday’s announcement comes against a backdrop of growing concerns that a shock to the economy could lead to widespread defaults on mortgages.
Property prices in the Czech Republic grew by an average of 16 percent
through most of 2017, the highest rate in the whole of the European Union.
The figure stems from a Financial Stability Report issued by the Czech
National Bank on Tuesday.
The central bank said that Czech apartments were overvalued by around 14 percent at the end of last year and warned that the figure was rising.
Officials said the conditions for a spiraling of the difference between property prices and the cost of loans remained in place. The Czech National Bank has identified this as the greatest risk to domestic financial stability since 2016.
A bridge in the southern town of Velké Meziříčí which was slated for
demolition unexpectedly collapsed on Monday evening as workers started a
probe on it. No one was hurt in the accident.
The incident has raised fresh concern regarding the state of Czech bridges and footbridges many of which are in a bad state of disrepair.
A footbridge in Prague’s Troja district collapsed in December of last year, injuring two people and only last week the Czech Water Management Authority ordered a section of the Labe River near Nymburk to be closed to traffic after an inspection of a footbridge revealed it was in such a state of disrepair that it could collapse onto boats passing under it.
A broad inspection has revealed that 23 percent of bridges on the country’s second and third class roads are in very poor condition.
The European Commission has announced that it will fine the Czech Republic
7.5 billion crowns for failing to observe regulations in the process of
distributing agricultural subsidies.
The Commission claims that the Czech Agriculture Ministry disregarded regulations introduced in 2015 which were to guarantee that EU agricultural subsidies would only be granted to firms which could prove that at least a third of their profit came from agricultural activities.
An audit conducted late last year found that the Czech authorities failed to comply with this regulation in the period between 2025 and 2017.
The Czech Agriculture Ministry denies the lapse and has started negotiations aimed at getting the European Commission to reverse its decision.
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