Daily news summary
Leader of Social Democrats says Foreign Minister Petříček’s sacking could result in fall of government
Jan Hamáček, the leader of the Social Democrats, a junior partner in the minortiy government, told Czech Radio that if the prime minister were to sack Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček, it could lead to the fall of the government. Since assuming office in October 2018 Mr. Petříček’s foreign policy has come under criticism from President Miloš Zeman and the Communist Party, which is supporting the current minority government. The leader of the Social Democrats said that removing Mr. Petříček from office could only be done following a proposal by his party and that any other move would be in violation of the coalition treaty. It is not the first time the current foreign minister has received support from his own party. In November, the Social Democrats responded to criticism regarding his stance on the conflict in Ukraine by saying that he is fulfilling the long-term concept of Czech foreign policy.
Labour inspectors to focus on equal conditions for Czech and foreign workers
The Labour Inspection Office says it will crack down on foreign worker discrimination, the dialy Hospodářské Noviny reports. Currently there are great disparities between Czech and migrant workers in areas such as salaries, working hours and holliday periods. The primary task is to ensure employers respect the EU employment law.
With low unmployment rates in the country, the number of foreign workers has been growing steadily in recent years reaching 5 percent of the population in June 2018. Many find work through so called employment agencies, which act as intermediaries and labour inspectors say they will also be one of the targets of the investigation. Data from previous years shows that especially among construction companies there is a large number of workers who lack work permits.
NHL inaugural game set to take place in Prague
The first match launching the 2019-2020 NHL season is set to take place this October in Prague’s O2 Arena, Hospodářské Noviny reports, quoting two sources. The news confirms last year’s statement by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman that Prague could be the venue where the world’s best ice hockey league launches its next season.
The inaugural game will take place in the first week of October with Philadelphia Flyers expected to be one of the teams that visitors can look forward to see. Official confirmation is expected to come in March after Czech and NHL representatives meet.
If the news is confirmed it will be the first time since 2010 that the central European country hosts the initial match.
Roma helping NGO may be represented by a racist
Many in the Czech Republic are currently gripped by the sitcom ‘Most!’ broadcast by Czech Television. The main hero of the show, who is an open racist, also heads one of the city’s leading NGO’s supporting the local Roma through state funds. Now a report by Czech Radio has revealed that this may in fact be a reality. Pavel Pöschl from a Most based NGO called Čonoro ran for office in local elections for a party which featured a slogan saying that ‘Not even exterminating agents are enough for this vermin.’
Mr. Pöschl became Čonoro’s statutory representative just a month ahead of the elections. He is involved in social counseling in areas including the notorious Roma ghetto of Chánov in Most. He claims that the accusation is nothing more than a twisted story from the media. However, the leader of the party that had Mr. Pöschl on their candidate list explained the slogan in similar racist terms already ahead of the elections.
Inflation up by 2.5 percent in January, say statisticians
The Czech Statistics Office has reported a five month high in year-on-year inflation growth, which reached 2.5 percent in January. Housing costs as well as alcohol and tobacco prices experienced a particularly high surge. The highest increase is noticeable in electricity prices, which went up by 8.2 percent. Meanwhile food supplies experienced the biggest decrease in costs, with sugar prices down by almost a third. However, foodstuffs are soon expected to increase as well. Analysts expect inflation rates to continue to rise up to 2.7 percent in the coming months. However, they expect the economy’s lower growth predictions in 2019 will eventually slow down inflation as well.
Controversial tax law passes first hearing
After eight attempts a new amendment to the controversial electronic cash register law, known as EET in the Czech Republic, has passed its first hearing in the Chamber of Deputies. The amendment extends electronic cash register obligations to artisans and other groups of tradesmen. The Chamber’s Budget Committee will now review the law, before it is submitted back to the Chamber for a second hearing. The law has been the subject of much criticism from opposition parties since it was introduced in 2016 when Andrej Babis was Finance Minister, who justified its creation on the basis of cracking down on tax avoidance.
Former head of Prague’s Muslim community cleared of promoting hate movement
The Supreme Court of the Czech Republic has definitively cleared Vladimír Šanka, the former head of Prague’s Muslim community, of promoting a movement aimed at suppressing rights and freedoms, in connection with the publication of a radical Islamic text.
The court rejected a complaint from Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman regarding a ruling by a lower instance court which also found Šanka not guilty.
Central to the debate in the trial, was whether the book, banned in some countries for promoting Salafism, fell under the definition of an ideology or movement. The lower instance court ruled that it was the former.
Promotion of a hate movement would constitute a criminal act carrying a possible sentence of up to ten years behind bars.
Head of Czech Military Police sacked
Czech Defence Minister Lubomír Metnar has dismissed the head of the Military Police Pavel Kříž.
The minister explained his decision to the Defence and Security Committee in the lower house of Parliament, saying he had long been dissatisfied with the running of the force.
Kříž, who took up the post in 2015, is to be replaced by Lieutenant-Colonel Miroslav Murček .
The Military Police Corps was set up in January 1991. It is responsible for police protection of armed forces, military facilities, military material and state property controlled by the Defence Ministry.
Temperatures are set to hover between seven to 11 degrees Celsius on Thursday. In Bohemia will be sunny, with clounds appearing in the east of the country and rain expected to continue in Silesia. On Friday the weather should be even warmer with temperatures reaching as high as 12 degrees.