The Czech Republic has welcomed the re-election of Donald Tusk European Council president. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka who supported his bid for re-election said Prague appreciated the fact that Mr. Tusk had worked well with the Czech Republic and had a good understanding of the problems and priorities of the Central European region. The Czech leader nonetheless noted that Prague’s support for Donald Tusk –in the face of Polish opposition -should not be interpreted as a rift within the Visegrad Four group. As regards the migrant crisis Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka dismissed the idea of cutting European funds to member states that refuse to accept migrant quotas. Along with a number of Central and Eastern European countries, the Czech Republic has been reluctant to join the programme relocating some 120,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece. From its quota of 2691 persons, the Czech Republic has only accepted 12.
President Zeman has announced his decision to run for a second five-year term in office. The president delivered the news to a gathering of his supporters held at Prague Castle, marking the anniversary of his inauguration. On Friday Mr. Zeman will give a briefing for the press. Miloš Zeman was elected in early 2013. His five-year term will expire in March 2018. His rivals for the post so far are lyricist Michal Horáček, businessman Igor Sladek and physician and civic activist Marek Hilšer. Political parties have yet to decide on whether to nominate a candidate of their own. Observers say the 72-year-old Zeman will be a hot favourite in the race.
Czech defence expenditures are expected to dominate talks between Czech President Miloš Zeman and the new US administration, the Czech ambassador-designate to the United States Hynek Kmoníček told the CTK news agency. President Zeman will be meeting with President Trump during a state visit to the US at the end of April. Mr. Kmoníček, who is president’s chief foreign policy advisor, said that the presence of the Czech finance and interior ministers in the delegation reflected the main topics on the agenda – defence expenditures and the migrant crisis. The Czech Republic annually invests just over 1 percent of the GDP into defence, still well below the 2 percent target set by NATO.
Public trust in the media has taken a dive, Czech Radio reported citing a study conducted by researchers at Masaryk University in Brno. Presently only a third of Czechs trust newspapers and magazines and 37 percent of respondents trust television stations to deliver objective information. Trust in radio station is currently highest, at 45 percent. The trust rating dropped most radically in the 18 to 29 age bracket where the majority of respondent expressed distrust criticizing the media for tabloid reporting and bias. Thirteen years ago only 18 percent of young people said they did not trust the media.
Czech consumer price inflation accelerated to 2.5 percent in February, up from 2.2 in January, coming in above market projections and the Czech National Bank’s target rate of 2 percent, the Czech Statistics Office reported. The 2.5 percent year-on-year growth in consumer prices registered in February was reportedly driven by growth in the price of fuel and food products. Economists see this as a sign that the end of forex interventions may not be far off. The forex interventions were launched in November 2013 as an instrument for maintaining monetary stability. Their aim was to keep the crown's rate below 27 crowns to the euro. According to an earlier statement by National Bank Governor Jiří Rusnok the forex interventions could end in mid-2017.
A concert in Prague’s Klementinum concert hall on Thursday night will mark the 40th anniversary of the death of Jan Patočka, a philosopher and one of the first spokesmen for Charter 77 protest movement. Speaking at the event will be Petr Pithart, a former dissident and former prime minister. Jan Patočka died of a heart attack in March 13, 1977, after lengthy interrogations by the StB secret police, at the age of 69.
Friday is expected to bring cloudy to overcast skies with rain and snow in the higher altitudes. Day temperatures should range from 6 to 10 degrees Celsius.
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