Daily news summary

Czech PM: EC should be impartial judge of member states’ performance

Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has said the European Commission should be more impartial in its assessment of how individual member states are meeting their obligations. During a working dinner with European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker, attended by Visegrad Group heads of government, Mr. Sobotka said it sometimes appeared as if the Commission was applying a double standard and punishing countries which were perceived as troublemakers for something other members got away with without reprimand.

The dinner with the Visegrad Group leaders, held on the eve of the EU’s October summit, is seen as an attempt to ease tensions between Brussels and the Visegrad group states which have been at loggerheads over migrant quotas and the EU’s planned directive on posted workers, which EU ministers will debate in Luxembourg on Monday.

The Czech Secretary of State for EU Affairs, Aleš Chmelař, said the two sides had agreed to intensify dialogue on sensitive issues in the future so as to ensure better understanding.

The EU’s October summit is focussing on EU reforms, the migrant crisis, the functioning of Schengen and the common market and the need to strengthen cooperation in the field of defence.

Czechs abroad due to start voting in general elections

Czechs abroad will start voting in the country’s general elections on Thursday. Due to the time shift polling stations in some countries will open a day ahead of voting in the Czech Republic.

The first to cast their ballot will be voters in Brazil and Argentina, followed by those in Cuba, the United States and Canada. 108 polling stations will open around the world, mostly at Czech embassies and consulates but also at military bases where Czech soldiers are serving on foreign missions.

Some 10,000 Czechs voted in the last general elections four years ago.

In the Czech Republic voting is due to begin at 2pm on Friday and will end at 2pm on Saturday. Preliminary results are expected in the early evening.

Prague Municipal Court rules Slav Epic belongs to City of Prague

The Prague Municipal Court has ruled that the famous Slav Epic cycle of paintings by Art Nouveau painter Alphonse Mucha belongs to the City of Prague, rejecting a claim by the painter’s grandson John Mucha.

Mucha’s grandson tried to reclaim the paintings on the argument that the City of Prague had broken the terms of a 1928 agreement under which the artist donated the paintings. The terms called for the city to find a permanent site for their exhibition.

However the court ruled that the paintings were never owned by the artist who painted them on commission for American businessman Charles Crane who then donated them to the city of Prague. The ruling is legally binding.

FAU files criminal complaint against Financial Administration

The Opava based company FAU has filed a criminal complaint against the country’s Financial Administration in connection with steps taken that led to its bankruptcy in October of last year.

The company’s legal representative Alfred Šrámek said there was reason to believe that the Financial Administration had not acted independently but had followed someone’s orders. Šrámek said the evidence pointed to ANO leader and former finance minister Andrej Babiš.

An audio recording surfaced online some time ago in which Andrej Babiš, who was finance minister at the time, said “his people” were putting pressure on the firm. It is not clear with whom he was speaking or how the recording was taped.

Mr Babiš himself has filed a criminal complaint against an unknown perpetrator, saying it was a scandal that the country’s finance minister had been wiretapped.

Czech Philharmonic begins 122nd season at Rudolfinum

The opening concert of the 122nd season of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra is set to take place at the ensemble’s traditional home, Prague’s Rudolfinum, on Thursday evening. The concert will see the orchestra perform works by Shostakovich and Mahler under the baton of conductor Jakub Hrůša and will be repeated on Friday.

The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra performed for the first time in 1896, conducted by Antonín Dvořák.

Earlier this week Semyon Bychkov signed on to become principal conductor of the orchestra from the start of the 2018–2019 season.

Canoe slalom champ Hilgertová announces end of career

Canoe slalom athlete Štepánka Hilgertová has officially announced the end of her professional career.

The 49-year-old, two-times Olympics champion said her contract with the club Dukla expired in October and she would no longer race professionally.

According to the Czechteam.info news site Hilgertová will work at the Czech National Bank as a consultant in the field of education.

Weather forecast

Friday should be partly cloudy to overcast with scattered showers and day temperatures between 9 and 17 degrees Celsius.