Czech Republic joins Great Britain in rejecting fiscal treaty

The Czech Republic on Friday joined Great Britain in refusing to sign the EU’s fiscal treaty aimed at enforcing budget discipline within the block. The Czech prime minister who met with his British counterpart David Cameron ahead of the EU summit, made it clear that in its present form the treaty was disadvantageous for the Czech Republic in enforcing conditions and fines without allowing the country, which in not a eurozone member, to actively participate in all euro zone summits. He moreover stressed that he considered it far more important to deepen the common market and increase the competitiveness of the 27-member block. The prime minister’s decision to stay out of the treaty has divided the Czech political scene with the coalition TOP 09 and the opposition Social Democrats strongly opposing the move. Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, who is the head of TOP 09, made it clear at the summit he was deeply dissatisfied with the Czech stand.

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  • President Zeman honours 38 personalities on Czechoslovak Independence Day

    10/28/2020

    In an address to the nation on the occasion of Czechoslovak Independence Day, President Miloš Zeman said the holiday should be a celebration of national pride in the outstanding people who had shaped the country’s history.

    He expressed regret that due to the coronavirus epidemic he could not hand out high state distinctions to those deserving of the honour at Prague Castle, thanking them for their outstanding contribution to the country’s development.

    The list of 38 laureates would be made public and the awards would be presented to them in a year’s time, Mr. Zeman said.

    Among those honoured with the country’s highest distinction, the Order of the White Lion, are WWII  hero Miloslav Masopust and war pilots František Chábera and Josef Koukal decorated in memoriam; , likewise legionary and resistance fighter Heliodor Píka, victim of a communist judicial murder.

    As the president announced earlier, he also awarded the country’s highest state distinction to the outgoing Minister of Health Roman Prymula for his good work in managing the first wave of the coronavirus epidemic. The president likewise honoured selected members of the integrated rescue system in the fight against the coronavirus epidemic.

    The President of the Constitutional Court Pavel Rychetský received the Order of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, and military historian Eduard Stehlík was awarded a Medal of Merit.

    Czech pop idol Karel Gott, who died last year, was awarded in memoriam.

  • Church of St. Michael ravaged by fire

    10/28/2020

    The wooden Orthodox Church of St. Michael in the Kinský Garden in Prague was ravaged by fire on Wednesday afternoon. Despite efforts to save the 17th century building the main tower of the church collapsed and the church burnt down to the beams.

    The Church of St. Michael was relocated from the village of Medvědovce near Mukačevo in today’s Ukraine to Prague in 1929 to celebrate the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the annexation of Carpathian Ruthenia into then-Czechoslovakia. It is part of the collections of the Ethnographic Museum. No one was reported injured. The cause of the fire is being investigated.

  • Weather forecast

    10/28/2020

    Thursday should be cloudy to overcast with rain and day temperatures between 9 and 13 degrees Celsius.

  • PM tells Czechs: We will come out of this test stronger

    10/28/2020

    Speaking on the 102nd anniversary of the country’s founding, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš called on Czechs to pull together to overcome the coronavirus pandemic, saying the country would come out of the test stronger and return to its former economic successes.

    Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib reminded Czechs that the country had overcome many crisis in the past and would do so again with solidarity and discipline.

    He said the dedication of the country’s doctors, nurses and emergency crews should serve as an inspiration in these difficult times.

  • Culture Ministry hands out state awards in the arts sphere

    10/28/2020

    The Czech Ministry of Culture traditionally handed out awards in the arts and culture sphere on the occasion of Czechoslovak Independence Day.

    Due to the coronavirus restrictions the names of the laureates were announced online.

    Michal Ajvaz received the Prize for Literature, Blanka Stárková for Translation.

    The late Czech-born film director Miloš Forman received an award for lifelong contribution to cinematography in memoriam.

    The list of 2020 laureates also includes Jiří Tichota from the folk spiritual quintet and former artistic director, now artistic advisor of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival Eva Zaoralová.

    The names of the eight winners can be found on the ministry‘s website.

  • Several hundred people protest against coronavirus restrictions

    10/28/2020

    Several hundred people took to the streets of Prague to protest against government measures aimed at bringing the coronavirus epidemic under control on Wednesday.

    The biggest protest took place on Prague's Namesti republiky square where police officers and the anti-riot squad intervened to enforce the government-imposed health restrictions by forming a barrier to keep large groups of protesters apart.

    Current government measures against the spread of Covid-19 allow demonstrations with a maximum of 100 participants.

    The speakers addressing the crowd accused the government of enforcing measures that did not work but impoverished the nation.

  • Independence Day celebrations low-key

    10/28/2020

    Celebrations of Czechoslovak Independence Day are low-key this year due to the ongoing pandemic.

    The traditional award-giving ceremony at Prague Castle has been cancelled as has the ceremony at Vitkov Hill at which the country’s top officials, war veterans and church dignitaries lay wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

    The country’s top officials and political leaders are visiting Vitkov Hill individually to lay wreaths and flowers at the memorial.

    Prague Castle will release a list of those who have been awarded high state distinctions on the occasion of the public holiday and President Miloš Zeman will address the nation on national television.

    Planned cultural events have had to go online and Czech Television is featuring a series of special programs to mark the 102  anniversary of Czechoslovakia’s founding.

  • Number of newly registered Covid-19 cases hits new high

    10/28/2020

    The number of newly registered Covid-19 cases reached 15,663 on Tuesday, an increase by 400 on last weeks record.

    The number of people hospitalized and those in a serious condition continues to grow steeply, as does the death toll.

    170,000 people are currently fighting the infection, over 6,000 people are hospitalized with Covid-19, of which close to 900 are in a serious condition. The death toll has reached 2,547.

  • Night curfew and ban on Sunday sales now in force

    10/28/2020

    Strict new measures aimed at bringing the coronavirus epidemic under control came into force on Wednesday, October 28.

    The government has enforced a night curfew between 9pm and 5am, employers have been asked to employ home office wherever possible, food and other stores selling essential goods, which still remain open, have to be closed on Sundays and will have to close their doors by 8pm on weekdays.

    People are being encouraged to shop twice a week instead of going out daily and minimize their contacts with others as much as possible.

    In an interview for Czech Radio, Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček said the authorities were running out of possible measures to bring the epidemic under control and did not rule out a complete lockdown if the present measures fail to be effective.

    He said that at the present time the government was still divided on a complete lockdown.

  • Centre-right opposition parties sign alliance memorandum for 2021 elections

    10/27/2020

    The leaders of the Civic Democrats, Christian Democrats and the TOP 09 party met at the statue of former president T.G. Masaryk on Tuesday morning to sign a memorandum on forming an alliance for next year’s 2021 elections into the Chamber of Deputies.


    A similar coalition is currently being negotiated between the opposition Pirate Party and the Mayors and Independents.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe