Daily news summary
EU negotiator for Brexit holds talks in Prague
Brussel's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier met with Czech deputies and senators in Prague on Friday to discuss the developments around Britain's expected departure from the EU, the head of the European Affairs Committee in the lower house Ondřej Benešík told the CTK news agency.
Barnier informed Czech lawmakers about the possible scenarios after the December parliamentary elections in Britain, saying Brussels was striving for the best possible deal with Britain and its fulfilment.
The talks also revolved around practical matters, such as the modification of contracts in air transport and consumer protection post-Brexit.
Senate chair dismisses criticism from President Zeman regarding planned trip to Taiwan
Senate chair Jaroslav Kubera has dismissed comments from President Milos Zeman regarding his planned trip to Taiwan next year as a message directed not to him but to the Chinese authorities.
President Zeman said in an interview for TV Barrandov on Thursday that should Senator Kubera travel to Taiwan it would impact their „relatively good“ relationship.
Senator Kubera said earlier he would be going to Taiwan on a trade mission. The Senator was previously criticized by China for attending a reception at the Representative Office of Taiwan in Prague, and responded by saying China must get used to the fact that the Czech Republic was a sovereign state which would not be pushed around.
Czech soldier killed in Afghanistan receives US Bronze Star Medal in memoriam
A Czech soldier killed in Afghanistan last year has been awarded the US Bronze Star Medal in memoriam. The Bronze Star Medal, one of the highest US decorations for bravery in a combat zone, was presented to Tomáš Procházka’s close family by an embassy representative on Friday.
Corporal Tomáš Procházka, a specialist in training dogs, was shot dead in October 2018 while returning from a routine mission outside his base in Herat Province.
Czech and Austrian foreign ministers mark fall of Iron Curtain in border ceremony
Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček and his Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg met at the Czech-Austrian border on Friday to mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Iron Curtain.
The commemorative event took place in the Czech village of Čížov, which contains a preserved section of the Iron Curtain fence, and in the neighbouring Austrian village of Hardegg.
The ceremony was also attended by the governor of the South Bohemian region, Bohumil Šimek and Johanna Mikl-Leinter, the governor of Lower Austria.
Charles IV voted most significant figure in Czech history
The King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV was voted the most significant figure in Czech history, in a public poll conducted by the CVVM agency.
The co-founder of Czechoslovakia and its first president Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk placed second and the country’s first post-communist president Václav Havel came third.
Fourth place went to the late Czech pop idol Karel Gott. Respondents said the Golden Era of Czech history was during the rule of Charles IV and in the modern era they highlighted the time of the Velvet Revolution.
GDP figures for 3Q confirm slow-down in economic growth
Czech economic growth in the 3rd quarter has slowed to 2.5 percent year-on-year, according to data released by the Czech Statistics Office. Compared to the 2nd quarter GDP rose by 0.4 percent.
Analysts say this confirms the predicted slow-down in economic growth, although compared to the situation in Germany, the Czech Republic’s main export destination, the Czech figures are still viewed as positive.
Economic growth in 2018 reached 2.9 percent and the prediction for this year is 2.5 percent.
The coming weekend is expected to bring the first snow to lower altitudes this year with day temperatures between 0 and 3 degrees Celsius. Night temperatures will drop below freezing point on both days.