Daily news summary
Zeman recommends Babiš discuss forming govt. with Communists and Okamura
President Miloš Zeman has recommended that ANO leader Andrej Babiš discuss forming a government with the Communist Party and Tomio Okamura’s Freedom and Direct Democracy. Mr. Babiš conveyed the president’s position to journalists after a meeting between the two on Tuesday evening.
The ANO chief said Mr. Zeman had been very surprised that a prospective minority coalition with the Social Democrats, which could have been supported by the Communists, had fallen through last week.
Some ANO representatives are opposed to entering a government involving the anti-migrant Freedom and Direct Democracy. Mr. Babiš said party leaders would discuss how to proceed at a meeting on Thursday.
ANO won 78 mandates in the 200-member Chamber of Deputies in elections in October but have so far failed to create a majority administration.
Krnáčová not to stand for re-election as Prague mayor
The mayor of Prague, Adriana Krnáčová of ANO, will not stand again in elections in the autumn, Mladá fronta Dnes reported on Wednesday. The newspaper said Ms. Krnáčová was planning to quit politics entirely.
The Slovak-born mayor said she was tired and wished to devote herself more to her family. She has informed ANO chief Andrej Babiš of her decision.
The party leader was among those who has criticised Ms. Krnáčová for her handling of a major roadwork project that has slowed traffic in Prague.
EC tackles dual food quality problem
The European Commission on Wednesday announced a new directive which tackles the problem of dual quality in numerous international brand foods and other products across different EU countries.
The quality of ingredients in some brand name products was for years inferior in some countries of the former communist bloc. Prague and other newer EU members have long pressed for legislation threatening companies continuing the practice with stiff fines.
Slovak PM Pellegrini in Prague
The European Union is threatened by fragmentation, which can only be prevented by paying more attention to the needs of individual member states, the visiting Slovak Prime Minister Petr Pellegrini told journalists on Wednesday after meeting with his Czech counterpart Andrej Babiš.
He also said that the V4 alliance of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland can serve as a tool in enforcing national interests within the European Union.
Prime Minister Pellegrini is also scheduled to meet the Speaker of the lower house Radek Vondráček and Speaker of the Senate Milan Štěch.
Last week, Mr Pellegrini held talks with the Czech President Miloš Zeman during his state visit to Slovakia.
Government approves foreign missions for next two years
The government on Wednesday approved foreign military missions for 2018 and 2019. The proposal envisages maintaining Czech soldiers on the same missions, which include for instance Afghanistan, Mali and Iraq. As of next year, they should also take part in protecting airspace over the Baltic States.
The foreign missions are expected to cost the defence ministry between 2.1 billion and 2.4 billion crowns. There are currently 806 Czech soldiers serving on foreign missions. Under the proposal, their number could increase to 1081 this year and to 1191 in 2019. The proposal will now be debated by the lower house.
EU’s Brexit negotiator Barnier to meet Czech PM on Thursday
Brussel’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier will arrive in Prague on Thursday to discuss the progress of his talks with London with Czech politicians.
Mr Barnier is set to meet with the acting Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, foreign minister Martin Stropnický and industry and trade minister Tomáš Hüner, the Czech representation of the European Commission informed in a press release on Wednesday.
The United Kingdom is expected to leave the European Union within a year. The terms of the separation have not yet been finalised.
Thursday is expected to be mostly sunny with occasional showers later in the day. Daytime highs will range between 20 and 24 degrees Celsius.