Daily news summary


GRECO: Czechia’s compliance record “highly dissatisfactory"

According to the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption body GRECO (Group of States against Corruption) the Czech Republic has not fully complied with any of the agency’s last 14 recommendations with regard to fighting corruption in politics and the judiciary.

In its latest compliance report on the Czech Republic, GRECO says that only around half of the recommended measures have been implemented in some degree and urges the authorities to rectify matters by June 30th of this year.

Among the recommendations made were moves aimed at securing greater transparency as regards the activities of parliamentary committees and individual members of Parliament, making available information regarding meetings with lobby groups, setting down rules about gifts received and so on.

MEPs protest against EC’s U-turn on GSA expansion agreement

Several MEPs have issued a joint statement criticizing the European Commission for allegedly back- peddling on a planned expansion of the Prague-based European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency (GSA) which runs the EU’s satellite navigation programmes.

Czech MEP Evžen Tošenovsky said the EC had made a last minute U-turn on the planned expansion, agreed on by representatives of the EC itself, the European Parliament and individual member states and was now blocking the deal.

The EC said shortly after the agreement was concluded that it had strong reservations about a number of points and did not consider the negotiated compromise final.

At present, GSA is responsible for the EU's Galileo satellite navigation system. In line with the agreement reached this week its scope would be extended to include also the Copernicus European system for monitoring the Earth.

Jan Hamáček re-elected Social Democrat leader

Jan Hamáček was re-elected leader of the Social Democratic Party at a two-day election conference in Hradec Kralové on Friday. Hamáček, who has led the party since February 2018, ran unchallenged. The candidates for the remaining five deputy posts include Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček, Labour and Social Affairs Minister Jana Maláčová and deputy chair of the lower house Tomáš Hanzel.

Foreign Minister Petříček, whose pro-European policy has come under fire from the Communist Party and President Miloš Zeman, said earlier that if he was not elected to a deputy post he would consider quitting as foreign minister.

President Zeman to support Social Democrats in European elections

Addressing the Social Democrats election conference, President Miloš Zeman said he would give the party his vote in the upcoming European elections.

He praised the party for its decision to enter into a coalition with the ANO party rather than resorting to what he described as “a more comfortable role in the opposition”.

The president gave his full backing to party leader Jan Hamáček who, he said, had not put a foot wrong in office so far, but criticized Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček, saying that his election to a deputy post would be “repeating past mistakes”.

Zeman said the party had capable politicians, but did not always make good use of their potential.

Prague mayor to meet Tibetan PM in exile

Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib has announced that he is scheduled to meet with the head of the Tibetan government in exile Lobsang Sangay, who will be in the Czech capital to attend the opening of the One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival. The meeting will take place on March 6.

Prague City Hall will also for the first time take part in the Flags for Tibet initiative, expressing support for Tibetan independence. Tibetan flags will be hoisted on two of Prague City Hall's buildings from March 8 to 11.

National Museum in Prague re-opens to public after month-long closure

The National Museum in Prague re-opened to the public on Friday after a month-long temporary closure. Visitors will have the chance to access the dome, which offers a spectacular view of Wenceslas Square, as well as the newly-roofed courtyard.

The newly-renovated historical building symbolically re-opened to the public on October 28th on the occasion of the centenary of the birth of Czechoslovakia, after being closed for seven years.

Nearly 300,000 people visited the National Museum before the end of the year, when admission was free of charge.

Weather forecast

Saturday should be partly cloudy with scattered showers and day temperatures between 5 and 9 degrees Celsius.