Daily news summary
Czech PM Babiš positive on Trump-Kim summit
The Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, says he regards a meeting on Tuesday between the leaders of the United States and North Korea positively. Mr. Babiš told reporters that he hoped the summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un in Singapore would produce results and remove the risk of war in the region.
Prime Minister Babiš said it would be a great success if North Korea gave up its nuclear weapons. He said it was a pity that similar conflicts had not been resolved in the past and that Western states had attempted to bring about regime change by force rather than negotiation.
Central bank to introduce stricter mortgage rules
The Czech National Bank will introduce stricter rules for the provision of mortgage loans in October. Under the change, mortgage holders should not be allowed to spend more than 45 percent of their monthly income on repayments.
The central bank’s restrictions are not legally binding but are generally followed by banks.
Tuesday’s announcement comes against a backdrop of growing concerns that a shock to the economy could lead to widespread defaults on mortgages.
Czech property prices fastest growing in Europe in 2017
Property prices in the Czech Republic grew by an average of 16 percent through most of 2017, the highest rate in the whole of the European Union. The figure stems from a Financial Stability Report issued by the Czech National Bank on Tuesday.
The central bank said that Czech apartments were overvalued by around 14 percent at the end of last year and warned that the figure was rising.
Officials said the conditions for a spiraling of the difference between property prices and the cost of loans remained in place. The Czech National Bank has identified this as the greatest risk to domestic financial stability since 2016.
Population climbs slightly to just over 10,613,000
The population of the Czech Republic climbed slightly in the first quarter of this year to reach just over 10,613,000, according to official figures released on Tuesday. The population at the end of March was around 3,300 higher than at the end of 2017.
The growth has been attributed to immigration, in particular from Ukraine and Slovakia.
Deaths outnumbered births in the first three months of 2018, though both were down by several hundred on the previous quarter.
Christian Democrats say housing benefit cuts will hurt poorest
The opposition Christian Democrats plan to call on the government to drop a plan to reduce housing benefits for those on social welfare during a lower house session on Thursday. The party have been joined in their petition by the Pirates, TOP 09 and the Mayors and Independents.
The Christian Democrats’ Jan Čižinský said the Ministry of Labour proposal was targeted at the poorest in Czech society. He said cutting such benefits would lead to people being forced to leave their apartments and live in shelters.
The Social Democrats, who seem headed for a coalition with the Ministry of Health-helming ANO, say they are against such a debate but still have objections to the proposal.
Growing concern over state of Czech bridges
A bridge in the southern town of Velké Meziříčí which was slated for demolition unexpectedly collapsed on Monday evening as workers started a probe on it. No one was hurt in the accident.
The incident has raised fresh concern regarding the state of Czech bridges and footbridges many of which are in a bad state of disrepair.
A footbridge in Prague’s Troja district collapsed in December of last year, injuring two people and only last week the Czech Water Management Authority ordered a section of the Labe River near Nymburk to be closed to traffic after an inspection of a footbridge revealed it was in such a state of disrepair that it could collapse onto boats passing under it.
A broad inspection has revealed that 23 percent of bridges on the country’s second and third class roads are in very poor condition.
It should be rainy in the Czech Republic on Wednesday, with temperatures of up to 19 degrees Celsius. More wet weather is due in the following days but daytime highs are expected to climb to around 26 degrees Celsius by the weekend.