Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi was due to arrive in Prague on Saturday. The
politician has a private programme planned for the weekend before holding
official talks with the Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, and foreign
minister, Tomáš Petříček. She will also have a brief meeting with
President Miloš Zeman.
On Tuesday the Nobel Peace Prize laureate – who is Myanmar's de facto leader – is due to speak at a business forum. Her country’s minister of investments and economic relations and minister of international cooperation are travelling with her.
June looks set to be warm in the Czech Republic, with temperatures in the
coming week due to reach up to 31 degrees Celsius, according to a four-week
forecast issued by the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute on Saturday.
Though temperatures will not be as high in the remaining three weeks of June, the daily average will be above 20 degrees Celsius and the coming month will be averagely or above averagely warm for the time of year. Precipitation is expected to be in line with the long-term average.
People in the Czech Republic who have debts from their childhood should be
able to clear their debts under the same preferential regime as pensioners
and the infirm, under an amendment to the law on insolvency put forward by
a cross-party group of MPs headed by Kateřinou Valachová of the Social
Democrats. Under the proposed legislation such individuals would be able to
clear their financial liabilities within three years, if they meet certain
In the Czech Republic over 6,500 children are facing distraint orders and tens of thousands of adults are still straddled with debts acquired in childhood. Such debts can arise from failing to pay mobile phone bills or fare-dodging.
A charity concert in aid of victims of terrorist attacks that took place in
Sri Lanka at Easter will be held at the Hotel Hilton in Prague on Saturday
night. The event has been organised by the Czech Centres network and the
Catholic Charity, in cooperation with the Czech Foreign Ministry.
It is due to feature the Zlín Philharmonic Orchestra helmed by Prague-based Indian conductor Debashish Chaudhuri. The concert’s proceeds will go directly to the families affected by the attacks, which left over 250 people dead.
Andrej Babiš says a European Commission report alleging conflict of
interest on his part is only preliminary and that a final report could
reach the opposite conclusion. The Czech PM made the comment in an
interview with Saturday’s edition of Právo.
Mr. Babiš said that once a Czech translation of the document had been produced in one month’s time it would be analysed closely by the ministries of finance and regional development, which would have two months to respond. The European Commission would send a final version of its audit at the same time, he said.
The European Commission’s preliminary report says he has command of two trust funds via which he controls the Agrofert group, placing him in conflict of interest.
The Czech prime minister also told Právo that he would not stand down even if the state prosecutor’s office filed criminal charges against him for abusing EU subsidies in connection with a hotel and conference centre. The police have recommended that step.
Details of a 71-page European Commission preliminary report relating to the
Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, have been published by a number of
Czech media outlets. The audit states that, having “appointed all their
actors”, Mr. Babiš has “a decisive influence” over two trust funds
via which he controls the Agrofert group. This means the Czech PM is in
conflict of interest, a charge he strenuously denies.
Mr. Babiš placed Agrofert, a major agriculture, food and chemicals business, in a trust fund two years ago.
The European Commission says that all EU subsidies received by Agrofert since February 2017, when a conflict of interest law entered the Czech statute books, should be returned. It put the figure that the Czech state should seek back from Agrofert at CZK 450 million.
The Czech minister of finance, Alena Schillerová of Mr. Babiš’s ANO party, said on Friday evening that the Czech state would be demanding the return of the money if it were proven to have been wrongfully acquired.
In a separate matter, the police have recommended that Mr. Babiš face criminal charges of abusing CZK 50 million in EU subsidies in connection with a hotel and conference centre near Prague.
A rally against Mr. Babiš in central Prague had already been planned for next Tuesday evening prior to Friday’s news about the European Commission report.
The heads of opposition parties in the lower house met to debate the
results of the European Commission’s audit on Friday.
The Civic Democrats, TOP 09, the Pirate Party and the Mayors and Independents issued a joint statement calling for the matter to be discussed in a special session of the lower house, the immediate suspension of all further subsidies to Agrofert companies, for the Czech response to the European Commission’s audit to be drafted by government ministers who are not in the prime minister’s ANO party and for the audit to be made public.
The opposition party leaders agreed that the responsibility now lies with Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamáček of the Social Democratic Party. Mr. Hamáček said in reaction to the news that if Agrofert had received any subsidies in violation to the law they should be returned.He also said he was in favour of the audit being made public if it were legally permissible.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has sent an official request to President
Miloš Zeman asking him to dismiss Culture Minister Antonín Staněk and to
appoint Social Democratic Party nominee Michal Šmarda in his place.
The prime minister sent the request on Friday morning following a meeting with Mr. Šmarda at which he agreed to support his nomination despite having reservations regarding the party’s choice of successor.
President Zeman, who earlier refused to accept Minister Staněk’s resignation is bound by law to comply with the request, but he said on Thursday that the Constitution did not set any time limit by when he was bound to do so. Constitutional experts agree that he should do so without further delay.
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