Daily news summary
Two Czech MEPs elected European Parliament deputy chairpersons
Two Czech MEPs have been elected deputy chairpersons of the European parliament. Dita Charanzová (44) of the ANO party is a member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe political group. Before being elected to the European Parliament in 2014 as an independent, she worked in the Czech diplomatic service for over a decade. In the past election term, she was a deputy chairwoman of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection.
Marcel Kolaja is a newcomer to the European Parliament, serving as an MEP for the Pirate Party since the 2019 election. Mr. Kolaja, who is 39, is a computer expert working with free software and the copyright and is a member of the Greens group. As an MEP, he wants to focus on the digital agenda, IT and consumer rights.
Top-level meeting on government crisis brings no result
President Miloš Zeman has not made any final decision concerning the replacement of Culture Minister Antonín Staněk, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said after a meeting at Lány Chateau on Thursday. Mr Babiš and Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamáček met with the head of state with the aim to resolve the dispute that could bring down the government.
Mr. Hamáček, leader of the Social Democrats, has threatened to walk out of the ruling coalition unless the president complies with his party’s request to remove Antonín Staněk from the post of culture minister and replace him with the party’s nominee Michal Šmarda. The president has so far refused to do so, despite the fact that the prime minister officially requested the minister’s dismissal over a month ago.
While Mr Babiš repeated that he would seek a compromise in the dispute in order to preserve the ruling coalition, Mr Hamáček said he would call a special meeting of the party leadership on July 15 to discuss the party’s possible exit from the government. Meanwhile, the president said he would meet with Mr. Hamáček and the culture minister on July 12 to try to reconcile them.
Culture Minister Antonín Staněk stepped down in mid-May after mounting pressure following his dismissal of the director of the National Gallery in Prague, Jiří Fajt, and the head of Olomouc’s Museum of Art, Michal Soukup, accusing them of improper management.
US architectural studio to build new concert hall in Ostrava
US studio Steven Holl Architects + Architecture Acts has won an international architectural and urbanistic competition for a concert hall in Ostrava, the city’s mayor Zdeněk Macura announced on Thursday. The cost of the building, which is to be located in the city centre, is estimated at 1.5 billion crowns. The construction works should begin in 2022 and should be completed by the end of 2023. The winning proposal was supported by six out of seven members of the jury.
Traditional pilgrimage festival underway at Velehrad
The traditional pilgrimage festival marking the legacy of Saints Cyril and Methodius, Greek missionaries who brought Christianity to the Czech lands, gets underway at Velehrad in South Moravia on Thursday.
The event, called the People of Goodwill Days, includes a number of cultural events, lectures and is traditionally attended by tens of thousands of believers. The celebrations will be launched in the evening with a charity concert and will culminate on Friday with a national pilgrimage and a celebratory mass.
Karlovy Vary to honour cinematographer Vladimír Smutný
The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival will honour cinematographer Vladimír Smutný on Thursday with a special screening of the 1983 film End of the Lonely Farm Berghof.
The seven-time winner of the Czech Lion for Best Cinematography, and a two-time winner of the Czech Film Critics’ Award is set to receive the festival’s President‘s Award at the closing ceremony on Saturday.
Mr Smutný has collaborated on countless films, including the Oscar-winning Kolya by Jan Svěrák and the recently completed The Painted Bird by Václav Marhoul.
Fire warning issued across Czechia
The Czech weather office has extended a fire warning to the whole of the Czech Republic, in reaction to especially dry conditions in the coming days. In line with the warning, people should refrain from building campfires, smoking or heating meals on portable cookers out in the open. According to the weekly weather forecast, there should only be scattered showers in the coming days, with daytime temperatures hovering around 25 degrees Celsius. The fire warning has been issued for an indefinite period for all of the country’s regions.
Friday is expected to be partly cloudy with daytime highs ranging between 23 and 27 degrees Celsius.