The Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, says it is important that none of
the so-called “spitzenkandidats” received majority support to become
president of the European Commission at a European Council meeting last
week. Spitzenkandidats are the leaders of the parties in the European
Parliament that did best in elections in May. Some of them don’t like the
territory of the Visegrad Four countries, Mr. Babiš said at a conference
on economic diplomacy at the Czech Foreign Ministry on Monday Morning.
The Czech leader said it was important that the successor to Jean-Claude Juncker not comment on political matters but rather focus on implementing the conclusions of the European Council.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš says the more money his government pumps
into salaries, investments, science and research, the more people are
dissatisfied. He made the comments a day after an estimated quarter of a
million people called for his resignation at the biggest demonstration in
Prague in almost three decades.
Mr. Babiš said it was a strange situation, adding that people could contact him by email or SMS if they had any doubts or wished to ask any questions.
Sunday’s mass protest was the latest in a series demanding independence for the Czech judiciary. After the police recommended Mr. Babiš be charged over alleged EU subsidy abuse he installed a new justice minister, a move critics say could lead to interference in his case.
The PM said on Sunday that this was a mistaken suggestion. He said it was incredible that some protesters had called for him to be sent straight to jail and the president placed in a coffin but added that protests were a part of democracy.
The recently appointed Czech minister of industry and trade, Karel
Havlíček, is in favour of lifting European Union sanctions against
Russia, Hospodářské noviny reported on Monday. Mr. Havlíček, who is an
ANO appointee, said at a recent meeting with the Russian ambassador to
Prague that the sanctions were harming the Czech Republic and ought to be
removed, the newspaper said, citing sources at the ministries of industry
and trade and foreign affairs.
The EU introduced the penalties in 2014 following Russian aggression toward Ukraine.
The minister of foreign affairs, Tomáš Petříček, and the minister of finance, Alena Schillerová, told Hospodářské noviny that the Prague government continued to support them.
Trains travelling at 200 kilometres an hour are set to go into trial
operation in the Czech Republic in August, Czech Television reported on
Monday. The Railway Infrastructure Administration plans to test them out
around a tunnel on a five-kilometre stretch of the line between Plzeň and
Prague. Other, longer sections of the route are also being considered for
The last time train speeds increased in this country was 25 years ago, when velocities went up to 160 kilometres an hour.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš says his ANO-Social Democrats cabinet will
discuss how much of its joint programme has been achieved at a meeting on
Monday, just days before the first anniversary of the government’s
On Wednesday the coalition will face a no-confidence vote called after a preliminary European Commission audit found Mr. Babiš to be in conflict of interests due to his business interests.
The minority government is expected to survive the vote, with ANO, the Social Democrats and the Communists – who support the government on key votes – raising their hands against.
The coalition can boast increases in salaries and pensions, though promised reforms of the pension system have yet to materialise.
An enormous demonstration against the Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš,
took place at Prague’s Letná Plain on Sunday late afternoon and evening.
Organisers said around a quarter of a million people were in attendance,
which would make it the biggest event of its kind in the city since the
fall of communism almost three decades ago.
Many protestors carried Czech and European Union flags along with signs, some of which bore the names of cities and towns around the Czech Republic.
Sunday’s protest was the latest in a series that began in late April calling on Mr. Babiš to stand down and for the removal of his appointment as justice minister, Marie Benešová. She got the job just one day after police recommended that Mr. Babiš face criminal charges over the alleged abuse of EU subsidies.
The series of protests has been organised by the civic group Million Moments for Democracy. They have announced that their next major demonstration will take place on Letná Plain in November, the 30th anniversary of the start of the Velvet Revolution.
ANO leader Babiš denies all the accusations against him, which he says are part of a political campaign.
Former Czech prime minister and president Václav Klaus says protests
against Prime Minister Andrej Babiš are being carried out by a handful of
people who are frustrated that they were on the losing side in elections.
Speaking on TV Prima on Sunday, Mr. Klaus said the demonstrations could
cause unrest in the Czech Republic.
The former leader said demonstrations were a phenomenon; however, demonstrations that are organised and manipulated and involve “paid people” transporting people from Moravia are another matter.
Mr. Klaus said frustration and a wish to be visible were also behind opposition parties’ tabling of a vote of no-confidence in the government, which is due to take place on Wednesday.
The 77th anniversary of the burning to the ground of the village of
Ležáky in East Bohemian and the murder of its population was remembered
on Sunday at the place where it once stood. Among the hundreds who attended
a service and wreath-laying ceremony at Ležáky was Prime Minister Andrej
The atrocity, which took place on 24 June 1942, came in retaliation for the killing of Nazi governor Reinhard Heydrich and followed the similar destruction of Lidice near Prague. When the Gestapo discovered that the parachutists sent to assassinate Heydrich kept a radio transmitter in Ležáky they murdered 51 of its residents.
Hana Moučková has been re-elected head of the Sokol gymnastics
organisation for the third time. Ms. Moučková, who has been the mayor of
the Czech Sokol Community since 2011, was the only candidate for the post.
Sokol’s first deputy mayor and deputy mayor were also re-elected, a
Sokol was founded in 1862 and was an important part of the Czech National Revival in the 19th century. It was repressed under communism but was revived after 1989.
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Unions: Strike Wednesday will hit most Czech schools