Daily news summary


Prague State Opera reopening after 3-year reconstruction

The Prague State Opera reopens to the public on Sunday evening following a 1.3 billion crown reconstruction lasting nearly three years.

Among those attending the gala performance are Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orbán and Germany’s culture commissioner Monika Grütters.

They will see a new work entitled The State Opera in the Changes of Time (1888-2018) directed by filmmaker Alice Nellis.

The event takes place exactly 132 years after the State Opera’s first performance, in what was then the New German Theatre.

New-born found in South Moravia babybox is nation’s 200th

A new-born boy was placed into a babybox in Blansko, South Moravia on Saturday evening. The baby is the 200th infant in the Czech Republic to be abandoned in this manner.

The babybox system was introduced in 2005 by founder Ludvík Hess. There are now 76 such facilities monitored by doctors across the country.

Traditional ‘Three Kings’ procession crosses through historical Prague

The traditional procession of the Three Kings (Kaspar, Melichar and Balthazar, who followed the star of Bethlehem to worship the baby Jesus) passed through the historical centre of Prague on Sunday afternoon.

The three kings set off on camels from Malostranské Square at 3 pm. They then crossed Charles Bridge to Old Town Square, where Jakub Jan Ryba’s classic "Czech Christmas Mass" was performed.

The procession was preceded by a service led by Cardinal Dominik Duka, who will blessing carollers taking part in the annual Three Kings Collection for charity.

The collection, which runs until January 14, is organised by Charita, the largest non-state provider of social services in the country.

Nuclear waste repository preparatory work to cost CZK 1.7 bn

The government is expected on Monday to approve a CZK 1.7 bln plan to identify suitable sites and begin preparations for building an underground nuclear waste repository.

The amount is allocated for exploratory work, research and compensation to local communities during the initial phase through 2023.

The repository, in which thousands of tons of spent nuclear fuel should be permanently located at a depth of half a kilometre, is slated to be built by 2065.

ECJ judge Passer nominated to succeed retiring CJEU judge Malenovský

Czech judge Jan M. Passer, currently a member of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), has been nominated to replace his compatriot Jiří Malenovský at the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

Malenovský has been a judge of the CJEU since 2004. He intends to leave office this May. Passer joined the ECJ in September 2016 after serving over ten years a Supreme Administrative Court judge.

The CJEU is the collective name for the EU judicial branch. Its purpose is to ensure the uniform interpretation and application of EU law.

The ECJ, which constitutes the EU’s final court of appeal, is one of three distinct judicial entities comprising the CJEU. Beneath the ECJ are two subordinate courts, the General Court and the Civil Service Tribunal.

Tax revenue up 5.4 pct last year, MoF says

Total tax revenues excluding social security insurance rose by 5.4 percent last year to 1.075 trillion crowns, the Ministry of Finance said. Collected revenue was about 12 billion crowns lower than planned.

The Ministry of Finance anticipates even higher revenues in 2020. In part, this stems from 10 percent higher taxes on alcohol, tobacco and gambling, which should increase state revenues by about 10 billion crowns.

The aim is to keep the budget deficit at 40 billion crowns or 0.7 percent of economic output.

Trade unions to demand 6-7 pct rise in average salaries

Trade unions will demand at 6-7 percent rise in average wages this year, according to Josef Středula, head of the Czech-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions.

In an interview with iDnes.cz published on Sunday, Středula said that despite an expected slowdown, Czech companies can afford pay hikes. If wages stagnate, he said, the entire Czech economy – half of which is driven by consumption – is at risk.

Czech GDP in real terms has already exceeded 90 percent of the European Union average, yet Czech wages are at around 30 percent of the European average in nominal terms, Středula said.

Weather outlook

Monday should be cool and cloudy throughout the Czech Republic, especially in the north. Average daily highs should range from 1 to 4 degrees Celsius.