Daily news summary
Czech PM attending EU summit in Sibiu, Romania
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš is attending an informal summit of EU heads of state or government in Romania’s city of Sibiu on Thursday, which aims to discuss the bloc’s agenda after Britain’s departure. The summit will also seek to agree a so-called Sibiu Declaration, which outlines commitments to reform various areas.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said ahead of the meeting that the Czech Republic would do its utmost in protecting the climate, but not in a way that would destroy its industry, adding that the Czech Republic wanted to keep the right to decide about its primary energy sources.
Oettinger: Czech PM’s possible conflict of interest priority for EC
The Czech prime minister’s possible conflict of interest regarding EU subsidies to the holding Agrofert is an absolute priority for the European Commission in view of EU budget protection, European Commissioner Gunther Oettinger said on Wednesday.
The European Commission has conducted an extensive audit at Czech ministries regarding the subsidies for Agrofert amounting to some two billion crowns. Transparecny International warned of Mr Babiš’s possible conflict of interest last year, saying he continued to benefit from the holding despite placing it in trust funds.
In a letter to Czech MEP Tomáš Zdechovský, Mr Oettinger said the results of the audit are being carefully analysed. Czech authorities are set to receive the results of the audit in mid-May.
Czech president attends Victory Day celebration at Russian embassy
Czech President Miloš Zeman on Thursday attended the celebrations of Victory Day at the Russian embassy in Prague. In his speech, given in Russian, the Czech head of state likened Nazism to Islamic terror and stressed the need to fight against the evil.
Mr Zeman also highlighted the significant role of the Red Army in the liberation of Europe. The event was also attended by former Czech President Václav Klaus, speaker of the lower house Radek Vondráček and several members of the Communist Party.
Book World Prague opens at Holešovice fair grounds
Book World Prague, the 25th installment of the International Book Fair and Literary Festival, kicks off on Thursday at the Holešovice fairgrounds.
A total of 29 countries will be represented at the four-day fair and festival, which last year drew 46,000 visitors.
The focus this year is on Memory and Reminiscence while the guest of honour is a continent – Latin America. Nobel Prize-winning novelist Mario Vargas Llosa of Peru is among the high-profile guests set to attend.
The opening day programme includes presentation of the Anticena Skřipec, a booby prize presented by the Czech Literary Translators’ Guild for the worst translation of a work of fiction published in the previous year.
Among the major Latin American writers presenting their work are Bernardo Carvalho, Rodrigo Fresán, Álvaro Enrigue, David Unger, and Mariana Enríquez. The German Nobel Prize-winning author Herta Müller is also set to attend.
Střelecký Island Festival celebrates 15th anniversary of EU accession
Prague is marking the fifteenth anniversary of Czech accession to the European Union with an open-air festival on Střelecký Island on Thursday.
The free festival features concerts, competitions and games for families, along with presentations by EU institutions and member states, and a political debate.
In the musical part, Concert for Europe, Milan Svoboda will perform with the Prague big band, featuring Ondřej Brzobohatý, Matěj Ruppert, and Jiří Stivín. Also appearing are Rapper Kato with his band Prago Union and Circus Problem.
Taking part in a public debate are EU commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Věra Jourová, Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček (Social Democrats) and Mayor of Prague Zdeněk Hřib (Pirates).
Tennis: Kvitová through to quarter-finals in Madrid
Czech tennis player Petra Kvitová is through to her fifth career quarter final at the Madrid Open. The Defending Champion defeated Caroline Garcia of France 6-3, 6-3 in the third round. She will face Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands in the next round.
Kvitová already holds three titles from the Madrid Open WTA tournament, from 2011, 2014, and 2018.
Friday will be partly cloudy to overcast, with occasional rain showers and storms. Daytime highs are expected to range between 15 and 19 degrees Celsius.