Daily news summary
Group of MEPs concludes conflict of interest law being applied poorly
A group of European MEPs which visited the Czech Republic to investigate the facts surrounding Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš’ alleged conflict of interest and the use of EU funds, has concluded that there are no reliable mechanisms in place to identify a conflict of interest.
The head of the delegation, Chair of the Committee on Budgetary Control Monika Hohlmeier said the team was departing with more unanswered questions than they arrived with and that a thorough analysis of the situation was needed.
Czech MEP Tomáš Zdechovský, who was a member of the team, and who originally pointed to the problem in the Czech Republic, said laws against money-laundering were also being applied inadequately.
PM Babiš lashes out at Czech MEP’s over investigation
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who refused to meet with the EU delegation mapping potential irregularities in applying conflict of interest legislation, said on Friday that the Czech MEPs who had initiated the debate in the European Parliament were “traitors” who had acted against their own country’s government.
The criticism was directed against Mikuláš Peksa from the Pirate Party and Tomáš Zdechovský from the Christian Democrats. Both parties have protested against the statement, and MEP Zdechovský said on Twitter he would sue the prime minister. Criticism has also come from other opposition parties who say the prime minister’s words were over the top.
V4 prime ministers to meet over coronavirus
The prime ministers of the Visegrad Group states will meet in Prague on Wednesday to discuss measures being taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the Office of the Czech Government confirmed on Saturday.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Twitter it was important for Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia to boost cooperation and coordinate measures to try and protect the region.
No country of the Visegrad Group has so far registered a coronavirus infection.
Czechs in high-risk coronavirus areas given instructions
The Czech government has sent a warning to Czechs travelling in high-risk areas of the danger of coronavirus infection and given them directions on how to behave upon their return.
People returning from high-risk areas are being asked to stay at home and contact their GP who will then decide on a further course of action.
Those without symptoms will remain in quarantine at home, those showing signs of the disease will be tested. 307 Czechs are currently in quarantine, most of them after returning from northern Italy.
No case of coronavirus infection has so far been registered in the country.
Czech and Slovak ski resorts cash in on coronavirus scare
The coronavirus scare is driving tourists away from popular skiing resorts in the Alps to winter resorts in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the ctk news agency reported.
Local skiing resorts who at this time usually suffer from a lack of visitors say there has been an unexpected influx of visitors who cancelled holidays in Austria at the last minute, despite the fact that Austrian ski resorts are still considered safe.
Resorts in this country have welcomed the interest after a particularly poor season due to the lack of snow. Due to recent snowfall the conditions are now reported to be good.
Desert dust brings “yellow snow” to Central Europe
People in western Bohemia witnessed an unexpected phenomenon at the weekend in the form of yellow snow.
The strange phenomenon was confirmed by the local meteorological office which said the unexpected yellow tinge was due to sand-laden wind from the Sahara desert.
Eyewitnesses said yellow-tinged snow was to be seen in the course of Saturday morning.
Sunday should be partly cloudy to overcast with rain or snow showers and day temperatures between 6 and 10 degrees Celsius.