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03-11-2009

Czech President Václav Klaus signs Lisbon treaty

The Czech president, Václav Klaus, has put his signature to ratification of the European Union’s Lisbon treaty, allowing the document to come into force across the whole of the 27-member bloc; the Czech Republic was the last state in the EU to complete ratification of Lisbon. Mr Klaus released a statement saying he had signed the treaty at 15:00 on Tuesday, only hours after the Czech Constitutional Court ruled that it did not contravene the Czech constitution.

In a statement, the Czech president said he had expected the court to rule in favour of Lisbon. However, he also said that its verdict had not been legally neutral but represented a biased political defence of the document. Mr Klaus also said the Czech Republic would cease to be a sovereign state once the Lisbon treaty was implemented.

The caretaker Czech prime minister, Jan Fischer, co-signed the Lisbon treaty later on Tuesday afternoon, meaning that ratification has been completed on the part of the Czech Republic. The document must now be lodged in Rome.

Court rules Lisbon treaty not in contravention of Czech law

The Czech Constitutional Court delivered its verdict on Lisbon shortly after 9 on Tuesday morning. A group of Eurosceptic senators loyal to Mr Klaus had sent a complaint against the Lisbon treaty to the court, which delivered its ruling a week after holding a public hearing on the matter.

Civic Democrats claim right to choose European commissioner as winners of last elections

With the subject of who will become the Czech Republic’s next European commissioner sure to heat up in the wake of Mr Klaus’s signing of Lisbon, his former party the Civic Democrats have said they should be allowed to make that choice. Leader Mirek Topolánek said on Tuesday that the party deserved that right as they had come first in the last elections to the Czech lower house. Mr Topolánek also said he would discuss the matter with Prime Minister Fischer and the leader of the Social Democrats, Jiří Paroubek, on Wednesday. Mr Fischer has said that if the political parties cannot agree on a candidate, his interim cabinet will select one themselves by the start of next week.

European Commission offers more positive forecast for GDP growth than Czech ministry

The Czech economy should grow by 0.8 percent in 2010, according to a newly released forecast from the European Commission. Its prognosis is rather more positive than that of the Czech finance ministry, which expects a 0.3 percent rise in gross domestic product next year – following a fall of 5 percent this year. The European Commission said the Czech Republic had come out of a recession in the second quarter of 2009 after real GDP had stabilized; it predicted mild growth in the final two quarters of 2009. Looking further ahead, it forecast growth of 2.3 percent in 2011.

Civic Democrat MP admits improper acquisition of academic title

Civic Democrat MP Marek Benda has admitted that his academic title was acquired improperly at the law faculty at Plzeň’s University of West Bohemia. The faculty has been embroiled in controversy since it emerged that some students had received academic qualifications there without having done the necessary work. Mr Benda, who is chair of the lower house’s constitutional-legal committee, said he had neglected some formalities in connection with his doctorate. He has asked to be allowed to defend his dissertation again once it has been completed. Former justice minister Jiří Pospíšil, who was appointed dean of the disgraced law faculty on Monday, said he would seek legal advice on whether that was possible. Meanwhile, the Social Democrats have called for Mr Benda to step down as chair of the constitutional-legal committee.

Austrian company selling mobiles for elderly enters Czech market

An Austrian company says it is hoping to sell 30,000 mobile phones for the elderly on the Czech market every year. A representative of the firm Emporia said its target market were the 1.5 million people in the Czech Republic over the age of 65. A number of other companies are already selling mobiles for seniors in this country.

Czech hockey star Tomáš Kaberle named Star of Week in NHL

Czech ice hockey player Tomáš Kaberle has been named first Star of the Week in the NHL. The defenceman received the accolade after registering two goals and 10 assists in four away games for Toronto Maple Leafs. The Czech player, who is 31, was credited with helping Toronto take points in all four games, though the club suffered three overtime losses.

Weather

The grey weather we’ve been having should give way to clearer skies in the coming days, though we can also expect rain. Forecasters say temperatures will reach up to 9 degrees Celsius.

03-11-2009