Daily news summary

Commissioner wants double standard of food products on EU list of illegal business practices

The European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Věra Jourová wants the double standard of food products in the EU to be put on the list of illegal business practices in the EU.¨The commissioner made the announcement at a press briefing in Prague on Friday.

This means that consumers would be in a position to sue a company over the practice. The list is to be reviewed by the Commission in April.

Meanwhile, a special working group made up of representatives from 15 EU member states is working on a control mechanism which would gradually root out the practice.

PM orders audit into funds for research

The outgoing Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has ordered an audit into the state finances channelled into research programs and the country’s leading research centres. The prime minister announced the decision following a meeting of the government’s council for research, development an innovation.

Mr. Babiš said that subsidies and grants were handed out from 15 different budgetary sources and that some of them overlapped.

The prime minister also wants to check out the financial management of the country’s research centres which received more than 44 billion crowns in recent years.

Communists say talks with ANO over government to be resumed

The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia has said it will restart talks over possible support for a government led by outgoing Czech prime minister Andrej Babiš. The ANO leader and communist leader Vojtěch Filip met late Thursday for talks. Filip said afterwards that they had agreed that expert groups from both parties would discuss policy issues next week. The communists had threated to walk away from talks in protest at an addendum to a memorandum on lithium mining signed by the industry minister and an Australian mining company.

Andrej Babiš is seeking to broaden his support with a view to a second attempt at winning support for a government after it fell short of the necessary votes in the first attempt.

Czech Republic on brink of flu epidemic

The health authorities have warned that Czech Republic is on the brink of a flu epidemic. A fast spread of the disease has been registered in all regions of the country and many hospitals and old age homes have closed their doors to visitors. Six people have already died of flu-related complications and 33 are getting treatment in intensive care.

Central bank upgrades budget surplus figures

The Czech central bank on Friday raised its forecast for the 2018 public sector surplus to 1.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) from an earlier estimate of 1.4 percent. The bank improved its outlook for the 2019 surplus to 1.8 percent from a previous forecast of 1.5 percent.

The bank increased its expectation for 2017 public debt to 34.7 percent of GDP from 33.8 percent. In 2019, the debt level should drop further to 29.8 percent of GDP.

Speaker of the Senate to represent Czechia at Winter Olympics

Speaker of the Senate Milan Stěch will be the highest Czech official to represent the country at the upcoming Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the ctk news agency reported on Friday.

Mr. Stěch will officially open the Czech House at the Winter Olympics and support the Czech team in the first few days of the games.

Neither the president nor members of the cabinet will travel to South Korea due to the ongoing talks on forming a new government.

Weather forecast

Saturday should be cloudy to overcast with some snow showers and day temperatures between 0 and 4 degrees Celsius.