Daily news summary News of Radio Prague

14-12-2003

If two-speed EU develops, Czechs should be in lead group, says Spidla

The Czech prime minister, Vladimir Spidla, has expressed disappointment at the failure of a European Union summit to decide on a constitution. Speaking after talks collapsed in Brussels on Saturday, Mr Spidla said he hoped the outstanding issues would be settled in the near future. He also said he was not in favour of a two-speed EU with countries in favour of faster integration leaving other members behind. However, if such a two-speed Union does emerge, the Czech Republic should be among the more dynamic group, Prime Minister Spidla said.

Czech demands for EU constitution remain unchanged, says Svoboda

Speaking to Radio Prague the Czech foreign minister, Cyril Svoboda, said that the Czech Republic's key demands as regards the constitution had not changed.

"The three main points are the commission, the qualified majority voting system and the weight of the votes. All the three problems are still on the table and it is up to all the delegations, up to all the states, to go very carefully through the three points."

Senior Czech politicians welcome arrest of Saddam Hussein

Senior Czech politicians have welcomed the arrest of Saddam Hussein by United States forces. President Vaclav Klaus said the capture of the former dictator of Iraq should speed up the process of consolidation in the country, while Prime Minister Spidla said the transfer of power to the Iraqi people should now take place more quickly. Foreign Minister Svoboda, meanwhile, praised the work of the United States intelligence services in the capture of Saddam.

Kavan rejects offer to run for Communists in European Parliament elections

Former foreign minister Jan Kavan, who is a member of the Social Democrats, has declined an offer to stand for the Communist Party in elections next year to the European Parliament. Speaking on TV Nova on Sunday, he also said he had turned down a low position on the Social Democrats' list of candidates. The Communists offered Mr Kavan a high place on their list, which would have given him a relatively good chance of being elected. Jan Kavan, who last year was president of the United Nations General Assembly, has been involved in several controversies since the early 1990s.

Roucek to lead Social Democrats in EP elections

Meanwhile, the Social Democrats have chosen a former cabinet spokesman, MP Libor Roucek, to lead their candidates in the European Parliament elections. Mr Roucek, the only candidate put forward by the Social Democrat leadership, defeated members nominated by the party's regional organisations in Sunday's vote. The Czech Republic will have 22 Members of the European Parliament.

Czech swimmer Hlavackova takes gold at Euro Short Course Championships

Czech swimmer Ilona Hlavackova took gold in the 50 metres backstroke at the European Short Course Championships in the Irish capital, Dublin on Saturday. Ms Hlavackova's win came a day after she won the silver in the 100 metres backstroke at the championships.

Weather

Monday should see the Czech Republic's weather turning cold once again, with temperatures ranging from minus 2 to plus 2 degrees Celsius. It is expected to be cloudy with snow showers in some places.

14-12-2003