Another in a series of protest events against Prime Minister Andrej Babiš
is to take place on Prague’s Wenceslas Square on Tuesday evening. The
organizers say they expect 100,000 protesters, which would make it the
biggest public protest since the anti-communist demonstrations in 1989.
The initiative Million Moments for Democracy, which has organized weekly protests against the prime minister since the end of April, when the police proposed that he be charged with EU subsidy fraud, says that demonstrators will demand both the demise of both Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and Justice Minister Marie Benešová who was appointed just days after the police recommended that Prime Minister Andrej Babiš stand trial in a fraud case.
The head of the opposition Civic Democratic Party Petr Fiala has urged
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš to ask the lower house for a vote of
confidence in his minority government.
Mr. Fiala said that in view of the preliminary EU audit which claims the Czech prime minister has a conflict of interest it is essential to know whether the Babis government still has confidence and if so which parties support it.
The opposition centre right parties in the lower house have called for the EU audit 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.
Two Czechs serving six-year jail terms in Turkey for cooperating with the
Syrian Kurd militia YPG are in a good state, Czech MEP Tomáš Zdechovský,
who visited them last week, told the Czech News Agency. Diplomats from the
two countries are discussing the conditions and situations of Markéta
Všelichová and Miroslav Farkas.
The pair were arrested on the border between Turkey and Iraq in November 2016 after Turkish officers found materials on them that they said proved the pair were involved with the YPG, which Ankara considers a terrorist organisation. They are in prisons in different parts of Turkey.
The minister of justice, Marie Benešová, says she sees no reason not to
believe Prime Minister Andrej Babiš in his dispute with the European
Commission, which says in a preliminary audit that he is in conflict of
Speaking on TV station Prima, the minister said it was too soon to discuss possible damages stemming from the forced return of EU subsidies paid out to Agrofert, a company Mr. Babiš placed in trust funds, as the Commission has not issue a final version of the report.
Ms. Benešová said the prime minister had fulfilled legal requirements by putting Agrofert in trust funds.
The minister is seen as loyal to Mr. Babiš and there have been a series of protests demanding her removal since her appointment just over a month ago.
In a separate matter from the alleged conflict of interest, 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. Critics fear that Ms. Benešová may attempt to influence the case.
The supreme state attorney, Pavel Zeman, says the findings of a preliminary
European Commission audit, which states that Prime Minister Andrej Babiš
is in conflict of interest, are serious and could give rise to suspicion of
a criminal offence. He made the comment on Czech Television on Sunday.
Mr. Zeman said the Supreme State Attorney’s Office was preparing its own analysis of the report, which was published by Czech media outlets on Friday, and would reach conclusions in a fortnight or three weeks.
The European Commission document says that Mr. Babiš has command of trust funds that control the Agrofert group. He put the conglomerate into those trust funds two years ago to comply with a new conflict of interest law.
The Commission says that all EU subsidies received by Agrofert since should be returned. It has put at CZK 450 million the figure that the Czech state should demand the return of from the group started by Babiš. He denies any wrongdoing.
Czech tennis player Markéta Vondroušová has reached the fourth round of
a Grand Slam tournament for the first time. The 19-year-old swept aside
Anastasija Sevastova in the third round of the French Open in Paris on
Sunday, beating the Latvian 6-2 6-0 in under an hour. Her next opponent
will be Petra Martic of Croatia, who earlier knocked out Karolína
The Czech Republic’s Kateřina Siniaková is also into the fourth round at Roland Garros.
A 38-year-old Czech woman was killed in a shooting incident in Zurich, Switzerland on Friday. She and a Swiss woman of 34 were kidnapped by a Swiss man, aged 60, who threatened to kill them. When police managed to enter the apartment where the incident was taking place they found all three people dead. A Swiss news website said that the Swiss woman had been romantically involved with the man; when she left him, she had moved in with the Czech woman, who worked as a carer.
Český Krumlov introduces tariffs for buses entering tourist hotspot
Český Krumlov, which draws over a million tourists every year, has begun imposing charges on buses entering the South Bohemian town in a bid to regulate short-term visitors, Czech Television reported. It is the first scheme of its kind in the country, though similar measures are in use in Salzburg and other places in nearby Austria.
The local authorities say up to 20,000 coaches arrive in Český Krumlov every year. The tariff per vehicle is CZK 625 with advance booking and there are two designated bus stops in the town.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has described a European Commission
preliminary report suggesting that he is in conflict of interest as
“highly irregular”. The document, published by Czech media outlets on
Friday, says that he has command of trust funds that control the Agrofert
Mr. Babiš told the Czech News Agency that the Commission had last year referred to European law in connection with his links to Agrofert but was now pointing to Czech legislation.
The prime minister suggested the section of the new report referring to the country’s conflict of interest law may have been written by Czechs. The arguments used were the same of those of the Czech Pirate Party and Transparency International, he said.
Mr. Babiš later tweeted that an “informer” was behind the report, adding that no money would be returned.
The European Commission says that all EU subsidies received by Agrofert since February 2017 should be returned. It put the figure that the Czech state should seek back from Agrofert at CZK 450 million.
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.
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