Daily news summary
PM refuses to ask lower house for vote of confidence in wake of EU audit
The embattled Czech prime minister, Minister Andrej Babiš, has refused a call from the opposition for him to ask the lower house for a vote of confidence in his minority government. Mr. Babiš made the announcement shortly after a meeting of the coalition government which discussed the present political situation in the light of a preliminary EU audit stating that the prime minister has a conflict of interest.
The prime minister’s coalition partner, the Social Democrats, and the opposition Communist Party, on whose support the minority government relies, have indicated that they would continue to support the coalition government for the present time.
The head of the Social Democrats Jan Hamáček said that if it were confirmed that the companies in the Agrofert conglomerate, established by Babiš and placed in trust funds, had received grants in violation of the law the money should be returned. He said he had continued faith in the “coalition project”.
Biggest public protest to date against Czech PM expected on Tuesday
Another in a series of protest events against Prime Minister Andrej Babiš is to take place on Prague’s Wenceslas Square on Tuesday evening. The organizers say they expect 100,000 protesters, which would make it the biggest public protest since the anti-communist demonstrations in 1989.
The initiative Million Moments for Democracy, which has organized weekly protests against the prime minister since the end of April, when the police proposed that he be charged with EU subsidy fraud, says that demonstrators will demand both the demise of both Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and Justice Minister Marie Benešová who was appointed just days after the police recommended that Prime Minister Andrej Babiš stand trial in a fraud case.
They are further calling for the appointment of an independent justice minister and for Mr. Babiš to relinquish all his media assets so as not to continue to influence the free press.
Average Czech monthly wage up by 7.4 percent in first quarter
The average monthly wage in the Czech Republic grew by 7.4 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2019, according to figures released by the Czech Statistics Office on Tuesday. The average wage at the end of March stood at CZK 32.466. In real terms, discounting inflation, the rise was 4.6 percent.
The median wage, a midway between the highest and lowest levels, in the first period of 2019 rose by 7.4 percent to CZK 27.582. Average salaries in the Czech Republic have grown uninterruptedly since 2014.
Czechia and Myanmar to strengthen trade relations
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and Industry and Trade Minister Karel Havlíček could visit Myanmar this fall. Mr Havlíček made the statement at the Czech-Burmese economic forum, which takes place on the occasion of Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit to Prague. Mrs Suu Kyi, who is Maynmar’s de facto leader, is in the Czech Republic for a three-day official visit. She is accompanied by her minister country’s minister of investments and economic relations and minister of international cooperation.
Speaking at the economic forum, Mr Babiš has highlighted the growing economic cooperation between the two countries. He also said that while Czech exports to Asia fell by 23 per cent last year, exports from Myanmar to the Czech Republic increased by 66 per cent.
Prague Spring festival draws to close
The 74th Prague Spring international classical music festival comes to a close on Tuesday evening with a performance at the Smetana Hall of Prague’s Municipal House. The Orchestra National du Capitol de Toulouse, led by its chief Russian conductor Tugan Sochijew, will play Antonín Dvořák’s violin concerto in A minor, featuring French soloist Renaud Capuçon.
The Czech Republic’s largest classical music festival got underway on May 12, offering around fifty concerts.
Border protection centre opens in Prague
Minister of Interior Jan Hamáček, along with police and customs officials on Tuesday opened a National Border Protection Centre in Prague. The main task of the newly established centre is to ensure cooperation between security forces in the protection of the Czech Republic’s outer borders.
The joint centre of the immigration police and the Czech Republic’s Customs Administration, which is located in Prague, will cooperate with partners in the Schengen Area and other countries.
Mr Hamáček said better protection of the Czech Republic’s outer borders was a basic precondition for preserving the freedom of movement.
Wednesday is expected to be mostly sunny with occasional rain showers towards the afternoon. Daytime temperatures will range between 26 to 30 degrees Celsius.