Daily news summary


Social Democrat leader not to step down over election debacle

Social Democrat leader Jan Hamáček, whose party suffered a humiliating defeat in the European elections, has said he would not be stepping down over the debacle, nor making any changes in the party leadership.

Hamáček said the new leadership had not had time to shift course since the party’s relatively recent election conference and that it would analyze and address the reasons behind the party’s defeat.

Losing four seats in the European Parliament is a bad blow and the party clearly needs to make a strong restart, Hamáček said. He said the party would now focus on preparing for the regional elections in the fall of next year.

In the European elections the Social Democrats only gained 3.9 percent of the vote, meaning they will not be represented in the EU Parliament.

PM says Social Democrats’ election debacle will not impact coalition government

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš from the ANO Party which won the elections to the European Parliament with 21.18 percent of the vote, told reporters on Monday that the Social Democrats debacle in the European elections would have no influence on the work of the coalition government.

He said he considered his party’s victory a great success in view of the fact that it had been the target of an intense and vulgar smear campaign from the media and political rivals.

The prime minister refused to comment on the Social Democrats's poor showing in the European elections

ANO to support Věra Jourová for EU commissioner

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has confirmed that his party would support Věra Jourová for the post of EU commissioner. However he said his party would prefer for the Czech Republic to get a different portfolio, preferably that of commissioner for internal market and services.

Mr. Babiš said he would discuss the matter with his coalition partner, the Social Democrats, and was ready to consider any candidate they would put forward.

Věra Jourová has served as EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality.

Russian crude oil deliveries renewed

Russian crude oil deliveries to the Czech Republic, via the Druzba pipeline, were renewed at mid-day on Monday, according to the pipeline’s state management. The month-long fall out, which affected a number of countries, was caused due to contamination of the oil with high levels of organic chloride.

The oil refinery in Litvinov which processes Russian crude oil was forced to request two loans from the Administration of State Material Reserves. The price of petrol on the market was not affected.

Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček opens Prague European Summit

Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček presented the opening address at a three-day international conference titled Prague European Summit that began in the Czech capital on Monday.

This year’s conference is subtitled Europe at a Crossroads and the panel debates will afford an opportunity to analyze the outcome of the European elections and consider where the EU is heading.

Other areas of debate will focus on European competitiveness, artificial intelligence, rule of law, the Eurozone and Brexit.

The Prague European Summit, which has been an annual event since 2015, will also hear an address by the Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš.

Czech utility ČEZ reportedly plans sell-off of some foreign assets

Czech state-controlled power utility ČEZ reportedly plans to sell its assets in Romania and Turkey, in addition to a previously reported plans to divest from Bulgaria.

ČEZ chief Daniel Beneš said in an interview with the business daily Hospodářské noviny that the group is also considering selling some assets in Poland. In total, the Prague-listed company hopes to get tens of billions of crowns from the sales.

Shareholders in ČEZ, which is 70 percent owned by the state, would vote on the new strategy at the annual general meeting on June 26, he told the daily.

Proceeds would be used to construct renewable energy assets and new nuclear units as well as to the modernize ČEZ’s distribution network, he said.

Weather forecast

Tuesday should be overcast around the country with rain and day temperatures between 17 and 21 degrees Celsius.