Daily news summary

Finance minister increases revenues chapter of budget for 2018

Finance Minister Ivan Pilný from the ANO party has increased the revenues chapter in the 2018 draft budget by 21 billion crowns.

The minister confirmed this in a debate on Czech Television on Sunday, saying the ministry had upgraded its growth estimate for 2018 from 2.9 to 3.1 percent.

However the additional finances would still not cover the proposed wage hike for public sector employees. According to Pilny the budget would still be short of approximately 8 billion crowns.

The finance minister dismissed the prime minister’s proposal that this money could come from finances saved by individual ministries as unrealistic, saying ministry officials had made it clear they would spend their entire budgets.

The coalition parties are to meet on Monday to debate the proposed wage hikes.

Trade unions to hold consultations in Prague

Trade unions from around the country are to gather in Prague next Thursday for consultations ahead of the annual negotiations on wage hikes.

The trade union leadership should make a recommendation regarding the demands to be made.

Trade unions in the public sector are already on strike alert demanding that the government deliver on its promise to raise teachers’ wages by 15 percent as of November and by 10 percent for other public sector employees.

Thursday’s gathering will be attended by trade union representatives from Germany, Austria and Slovakia.

Czech interior minister rejects criticism over migrant quotas

Interior Minister Milan Chovanec has rejected criticism from Brussels that the Czech Republic had failed to meet its EU obligations by refusing to take in the migrants allotted to it under the mandatory quota redistribution system.

In a letter to the EU commissioner for migration, minister Chovanec said the Czech Republic was helping in other ways and was one of the most active countries in doing so.

He noted that since 2015 the Czech Republic had sent 68 experts to the so called hotspots to help with the registration of refugees, over 5,000 Czech police officers have helped protect the borders of Hungary, Serbia, Slovenia and other states and the Czech Republic has sent 640 million crowns in aid to Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon to help deal with the migrant crisis.

Christian Democrats will not enter into coalition with politician facing prosecution

Christian Democratic Party leader Pavel Bělobrádek has ruled out the possibility that his party would enter into a coalition with a politician charged with fraud.

He was referring to the leader of the ANO party Andrej Babiš whom the lower house stripped of his parliamentary immunity this week opening the way for criminal prosecution.

The police want to charge Mr. Babiš with subsidy fraud and harming the financial interests of the EU in connection with a 50 million crown subsidy acquired for the Stork’s Nest farm.

Opinion polls suggest that his ANO party will win October’s general elections by a large margin.

Archive documents show EU tried to defend Charter 77 acttivists

Czech Television has acquired hereto unpublished documents indicating that the European Parliament and the foreign ministers of individual EU member states publicly opposed the persecution of dissidents in Communist Czechoslovakia.

Czech public television was granted access to documents in Italian and Belgian archives in which the European Parliament and individual ministers call on the Czechoslovak authorities to respect human rights and condemn the threats, beatings and imprisonment which the communist secret police applied in trying to squash resistance to the regime in the 1970s and 1980s.

The pressure on the regime mounted particularly after the death of Charter 77 spokesman, philosopher Jan Patocka who died in 1977 after a number of brutal interrogations at the hands of the communist secret police.

Czech suicide rate higher than EU average

The Czech Republic has a higher suicide rate than the EU and world average, according to statistics released by the National Centre for Mental Health.

Four people a day commit suicide in the Czech Republic, approximately 1,500 people a year die by their own hand.

Suicide is the most frequent cause of death young girls between 15 and 19 and it is accountable for 30 percent of deaths of young women between 20 and 29.

Mental health experts criticize the fact that the Czech Republic lacks an effective help network and prevention program.

Weather forecast

Monday should be partly cloudy to overcast with scattered showers, particularly in the eastern parts of the country, and day temperatures between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius.