Daily news summary
Zeman and Babiš to discuss arts minister situation Wednesday
President Miloš Zeman and Prime Minister Andrej Babiš are due to hold talks at the former’s Lány residence on Wednesday afternoon. The meeting will focus on the situation surrounding the successor to arts minister Antonín Staněk.
After initial reluctance Mr. Zeman is due to accept the resignation of the Social Democrat politician by the end of July. However, he is opposed to the Social Democrats’ choice of replacement, Michal Šmarda, leading the party to threaten to quit the government.
ANO leader Babiš is expected to give a press briefing after the meeting, not long after 6 pm.
Upper house accuses government of contempt of Senate
The upper house of the Czech Parliament passed a resolution on Wednesday accusing the government of acting in contempt of the Senate. Specifically the vote was in reference to the unwillingness of certain ministries to supply senators with two preliminary audits sent by the European Commission earlier this year. These referred to a possible conflict of interest involving Prime Minister Andrej Babiš with regard to Agrofert, the company he founded before his entry into politics. Out of the 72 senators who were present, 57 voted in favour of the resolution.
Zdeněk Nytra, the head of the upper house commission tasked with assessing the audits, said that the attitudes of a number of ministries were in violation of Senate procedure rules. He also said that three of the four ministries had been unwilling to send representatives to the commission.
Hundreds of Czech scouts take part in worldwide Jamboree
Nearly 500 Czech scouts are currently in the United States taking part in the international scout gathering known as the Jamboree, which is being attended by 40,000 people from all corners of the world. It is the largest contingent of Czech scouts ever to be sent to a Jamboree. The two-week event will see scouts competing in sports ranging from rafting, mountain biking, skating and shooting.
The motto of the Czech contingent this year is “Unbreakable”, referencing the fact that the scout movement survived repression by two totalitarian regimes during the 20th century.
Majority of senators expected to vote in favour of constitutional complaint against president
Three of the largest groups in the senate are expected to vote in favour of a constitutional complaint against President Miloš Zeman. The leaders of the respective groups – the Mayors and Independents, the Civic Democrats and the Christian Democrats – made the announcement on Wednesday. The statement was made ahead of Wednesday’s expected discussion on the complaint. Together with SEN 21, which tabled the complaint, the alliance has 58 out of the upper house’s 81 senators.
The impulse for the draft complaint is the alleged influencing of the judiciary by President Zeman and his staff. The president’s recent unwillingness to accept the resignation of Culture Minister Antonín Staněk has also been added into the complaint.
In mid-June President Zeman dismissed the accusation, saying that it was a sign of constitutional illiteracy.
CZK 37 billion of EU subsidy reserves to remain available for Czech Republic
The Czech Republic will not lose access to the CZK 37 billion of EU performance reserves allocated for the 2014 –2020 programme period, Regional Development Ministry Spokesman Vilém Frček announced on Tuesday. Frček, whose ministry is responsible for drawing from the subsidies, says that the country fulfilled most of the targets set by the European Commission. This means that it will be able to draw from the so-called performance reserve, which makes up roughly 6 percent of the total funding allocated to the Czech Republic during the specified period.
Intercepted fake cash down by 37 percent
In the first half of 2019 the Czech National Bank registered a 37 percent decrease in the number of forged banknotes and coins compared to the same period in 2018, Czech Television reports. Of the forgeries that were discovered, more than half were Czech banknotes, while more than a quarter were Euros.
Data from the end of 2018 shows that 2.4 billion banknotes and coins were in circulation in the country, a year on year increase of 5 percent. The value of circulated money rose from CZK 592 billion in 2017 to CZK 616 billion in 2018.
Meteorologists warn of approaching extreme heatwave
Meteorologists have issued a high danger warning as temperatures in some regions in the Czech Republic are expected to reach 36 degrees. The warning will be active from the early morning hours until 9pm on Thursday. During the period, members of the public should focus on maintaining hydration and reduce physical activity.
Furthermore, it is advisable to wear headgear, sunglasses and skin protection, as the UV index will be very high during the afternoon.
Meteorologists also warn that children and pets should not be left in the open sun, particularly in parked cars.
Plzeň draw 0:0 with Olympiakos in Champions League qualifier
Viktoria Plzeň drew 0:0 at home with Olympiakos of Greece in the first leg of a Champions League second qualifying round tie. The West Bohemians had more chances than the visitors but failed to convert them and hit the post at the end of the first half.
The second leg of that tie takes place in Greece next Tuesday. The winners of the tie will take on Turkish side Basaksehir in the third qualifying round of the Champions League. The losers will play Antwerp in the third qualifying round of the second-tier Europa League.
Temperatures are expected to reach up to 36 degrees Celsius in large parts of Bohemia on Thursday, while in Moravia they are will hover between 31-33 degrees. With the exception of occasional clouds in Silesia, there will be clear skies and only a light breeze across the whole country.
The weather is expected to remain largely the same until Sunday, when storms are should to break out.