Daily news summary
Lower house speaker: EC report just one legal opinion
The EC report according to which Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš faces a conflict of interest over European Union funds paid to his company, is simply one legal opinion, a member of his party and Speaker of the lower house Radek Vondráček said in a debate on Czech public television on Sunday.
Vondráček said that the prime minister and ANO leader had done everything required by Czech legislation to distance himself from his assets.
According to the leaked report, seen by The Guardian, Babiš is in a situation that “qualifies as a conflict of interest”, and Czech taxpayers face being asked to repay at least some of the €82m paid to the conglomerate Agrofert in 2018, despite the fact that the prime minister put it in a trust fund to comply with a strict new conflict of interest law.
ANO party has high public trust despite scandal surrounding PM
The ANO party of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has gained public support, despite the most recent scandal surrounding the prime minister, according to a flash poll conducted by the Kantar polling agency.
ANO received a 32.5 percent support rating, ahead of the Pirate Party with 19 percent and the Civic Democrats who got 16 percent.
The Social Democrats, the Party of Mayors and Independents, the Freedom and Direct Democracy Party and the Communist Party would only just cross the 5 percent margin needed to win seats in the lower house.
Cabinet to debate Defence Ministry expenditures
The Defence Ministry plans to buy 71 vehicles from the Tatra Trucks company in the course of the next three years for approximately 467 million crowns, according to a report which is to be put to the cabinet on Monday.
The government will also debate planned expenditures until 2025, amounting to more than 5 billion crowns. The bulk of the money is to be used for purchase of new hardware and pilot training.
Heightened security measures during Advent
Heightened security measures have come into force in Prague in connection with Advent. The main focus is on the city’s Christmas markets, shopping malls, airports, railway stations and public transport. More police should be visible on the streets starting this weekend and concrete barriers have been set up around the city’s biggest Christmas markets. Interior Minister Jan Hamáček said there was no indication of an immediate threat and the measures enforced were standard.
Czech Jewish community celebrates Chanukah
The Czech Jewish community in Prague is celebrating the start of Chanukah which this year starts on December 2nd and ends on December 10th.
On Dec 6th representatives of the Jewish community, cultural figures and diplomats will attend the traditional lighting of the Menorah on Jan Palach square, just outside the historic Jewish Quarter of Prague.
The Menorah lighting ceremony was established in 2006 by one of Prague’s Jewish congregations. This year the Menorah is to be decorated with a Czech flag marking the centenary of the birth of Czechoslovakia.
Ice warning for Moravia and Silesia
Meteorologists have issued a high-alert ice warning for the eastern parts of the country, which they say will present a danger to both drivers and pedestrians. The warning is valid from 6pm on Sunday until midday on Monday.
Icy conditions in the western parts of the country on Friday resulted in a significant increase in the number of accidents and injuries.
Monday should be overcast and rainy around the country with day temperatures between 7 and 11 degrees Celsius.