The same rights and duties must apply to all citizens of the European Union must apply everywhere within the EU, including the UK, until Great Britain officially leaves, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka made clear on commercial broadcaster TV Prima on Sunday. The prime minister was reacting to the news that Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May will trigger Article 50 by the end of March 2017, beginning a two-year process to negotiate departure from the former 28-member bloc. The British prime minister has made clear, following Brexit, that the government wanted to decide who it would allow into the UK from within the EU, something Mr Sobotka sees as infringing on the fundamental rights of EU citizens. He indicated the Czech Republic would oppose any unilateral steps blocking the freedom of movement.
Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek has made clear that statements made recently by President Miloš Zeman in Greece, reported by The Financial Times, do not represent the country's official position on migrants. While the Czech Republic has taken a tough stance on migrant quotas, Mr Zeman outlined what was strictly his own view, saying, for example, that hundreds of thousands of economic migrants who arrived in Europe in 2015 "should be deported". As alternative destinations, he spoke of “empty places” in north Africa and “uninhabited Greek islands". FT reported that the president posited that Greece’s foreign debt could be progressively reduced in return for "shouldering the cost".
In Greece for a private conference by a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin's, the Czech president warned of a “strong connection” between the migrant influx and the “wave of jihadis” in Europe. His strong anti-migrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric, the Financial Times noted, echoed that of leaders such as Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban. On Sunday, Hungarians voted in a referendum on migrant quotas.
Criticism that the Czech Republic was represented "only" by its prime minister and foreign minister at the funeral of Israeli statesman Shimon Peres and "not the country's president" on Friday, was deflected by Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek on a Sunday political debate programme on Czech TV. In the interview, the minister said that participation by himself and Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka had been sufficient. Mr Peres, a legendary figure in international politics, died last Wednesday at the age of 93. The funeral on Friday was attended by world leaders including the president of the United States, Barack Obama. Former Czech freign minister Karel Schwarzenberg suggested President Miloš Zeman should have attended instead of visiting a conference organised by a close ally of Vladimir Putin's in Rhodes.
Saturday, October 1, marked 25 years since so-called coupon or voucher privatization was launched in then Czechoslovakia, as part of the transformation from a centrally-planned economy during 40 years of communist rule to a market economy. The scheme, which ran in two waves, allowed ordinary citizens to acquire shares in thousands of privatized companies. The program was not without controversy and many users later felt cheated while critics charged the process was grossly misused. Voucher privatization officially ended in 1994. According to Czech Radio, there are around one million bank accounts remaining related to privatization, which holders have forgotten or are unaware of. The broadcaster pointed out it is relatively easy to learn whether one holds a forgotten account.
The Culture minister has rejected an appeal by the investor behind the 'Marshmallow', news site Novinky.cz reports. The move follows others which effectively sent the building project in the historic centre of Prague back to square one. The Marshmallow, a complex of buildings in pastel colours that was designed by architect Zdeněk Fránek which evoke friendly square faces, met with opposition after the project was initially given the go-ahead. The building project will have to receive a new assessment from the city and gain approval from heritage site conservationists.
A 25-year-old motorcyclist lost his life on Saturday on the 201st kilometre of the D1 highway in the direction of Prague from Brno in a collision with a construction vehicle. The motorcycle rider succumbed to his injuries on the spot. The incident took place on a stretch of highway which is currently under renovation where traffic has been narrowed to two lanes. According to reports, the construction vehicle was driving onto the highway from the construction site; an investigation is underway to determine the cause of the accident.
Kristýna Plíšková won her first WTA tournament on Saturday at the Tashkent Open, beating defending defending champion Nao Hibino of Japan. The final score was 6:2, 2:6, 6:3. Kristýna Plíšková is the identical twin sister of Karolína Plíšková, this year's runner-up at the US Open.
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