Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka outlined the government’s position on the immigration crisis in the Czech lower house on Thursday. At a special session devoted to the problem, Mr. Sobotka said the government supports refugee camps in Jordan and would do the same if they were formed in North Africa. The prime minister further said the country supported the creation of an EU naval force which would sink smugglers ships that transport the people to Europe and would contribute to the operation financially or by sending naval officers. The Czech head of government stressed that Europe should focus on stabilizing the countries from which people are fleeing and step up controls at Schengen’s outer borders. The opposition parties have criticized the government for not providing enough information on the commitments that the Czech Republic is prepared to make.
Around 17,000 people threatened with poverty may be left homeless due to a change in legislation which requires municipalities to approve state housing subsidies for them. The measure went into effect in May of this year and concerns around 100,000 people living in lodging houses. It was meant to have prevented the owners of lodging houses sponging from the state and was to have served to enable these people to pay rents in council housing. However the amendment appears to have backfired and some municipalities have used it to curb the number of socially weaker inhabitants in the area. The government’s agency for social inclusion has slammed the amendment as unsystematic and short-sighted.
The Czech Transport Ministry will pay people compensation for delayed administrative proceedings, Czech Ombudswoman Anna Šabatová told the ctk news agency on Thursday. The Ombudswoman raised the issue with the ministry after receiving numerous complaints from the public. The base fine for protracted administrative proceedings i.e exceeding the time stated by law will be 15,000 crowns. Last year the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the Ministry of Interior adopted similar measures.
Finance Minister and ANO chairman Andrej Babiš has come under fire from both his coalition partners and opposition parties for his behavior towards a Social Democrat backbencher. The backbencher, Ladislav Šincl, said that Babiš described him and his family as corrupt and waved documents in front of him bearing Šincl’s name. The confrontation came after Šincl criticised the minister in Parliament. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka described Mr. Babiš’ behavior as totally unprecedented and unacceptable and the Social Democratic Party leadership demanded an apology from Mr. Babiš. 0pposition TOP 09 deputy chair, Miroslav Kalousek, accused the ANO party leader of resorting to communist secret police practices to intimidate critics. Minister Babiš is refusing to apologize, saying that deputy Šincl had lied about him in Parliament.
The chairwoman of the Czech Alzheimer Society has criticized the Czech Republic for inadequate care for people suffering from dementia. Iva Holmerova, who also heads the Prague Gerontology Centre, told the ctk news agency that the majority of 140,000 people suffering from dementia are cared for by their families who do not get adequate support and a third of them are in state institutions where they are often not seen by a doctor for years. Ms. Holmerova said the situation was extremely problematic, to put it mildly, and expressed the hope that the European project Dementia Palliare in aid of people with dementia would help alleviate the situation.
The Senate has moved to counter a controversial article of the health law which says that kindergartens and other pre-school facilities should not enroll children that have not received the full range of recommended vaccinations. Following a lengthy debate the Senate proposed an amendment saying that these institutions should only have a duty to ascertain what vaccinations their charges have received and what not. The legislation in question has stirred controversy among parents who are against inoculating their children and feel they are being discriminated against. The proposed amendment is still to be debated in the lower house.
The Communist Party has announced it will use all available means to thwart the ratification of the EU-Ukraine association agreement in the Czech Parliament. The daily Lidové noviny reported on the matter in its Thursday edition citing party leader Vojtěch Filip who said that as an experienced lawmaker he would filibuster for as long as necessary to obstruct a vote on the agreement. The Communists have made it clear they mistrust the present Ukrainian government and disapprove of the association agreement with the European Union.
Trade Minister Jan Mládek is to meet with Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka on Thursday for what the media describe as a second pep talk in the space of a fortnight. The meeting concerns his performance in office which the prime minister has criticized as lackluster. Mr. Sobotka said recently he wanted his party’s ministers to shift into higher gear and he expects to be briefed by each one how they plan to go about it. The online news site novinky.cz says Mr. Mládek’s position in office is shaky and is already speculating about a possible successor.
Czech Pavel Kadeřábek scored the first goal in the Under 21 European finals which kicked off in Prague on Wednesday evening. But the defender’s 35 minute strike against Denmark did not bring a win for the home side. A totally different Denmark side emerged in the second half with the previously superior Czechs under pressure. Denmark’s Jannik Vestegaard equalized in the 56 minute and substitute Pione Sisko poked in after confusion in the penalty area to take the lead in the 84th minute. In the other group game Serbia held fancied Germany to a 1:1 draw.
Vladimír Vůjtek Sr. is to replace Vladimir Ružička as the new national ice-hockey coach, the Czech Ice Hockey Association announced on Thursday. Vladimír Vůjtek Sr. is a head coach with 27 years of head coaching experience with teams in the Extraliga and in Russia with both the Russian Superleague and the KHL. The 68-year-old Vůjtek, who has coached the Slovak national ice hockey team since 2012, will get a year-long contract.
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