Daily news summary

President’s protocol chief steps down after publication of incriminating materials

The head of protocol at Prague Castle, Jindřich Forejt, is to step down by the end of the year, citing personal and health reasons. The announcement was made by President Miloš Zeman’s spokesman, Jiří Ovčáček, on Tuesday morning. The news site Hlidacipes.org on Monday published stills from a video recording appearing to show Mr. Forejt sniffing a white substance. The video is reportedly one of several filmed at the protocol chief’s Prague home. Mr. Forejt, who is 39 and also served under Václav Klaus at Prague Castle, had been tipped as an ambassador to the Vatican.

More effort needed to get long-term unemployed into workforce, says PM

The unemployment rate in the Czech Republic is the lowest in Europe but efforts must still be made to get the long-term unemployed into work, says Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. Speaking after a visit to the headquarters of the country’s labour offices on Tuesday, Mr.Sobotka said that while just 366,000 people were out of work last month, there were almost 140,000 unfilled positions on the labour market. As well as offering such jobs to those out of work for a long time, steps must be taken to prevent social welfare abuse, the prime minister said.

Police recommend charges against expert witness in Janoušek hit and run case

The police have recommended that charges be filed against an expert witness who gave evidence in the case of Roman Janoušek, an influential businessman who was later found guilty of hit and run while under the influence, iDnes.cz reported. The police investigated the court expert on the urging of judge Tomáš Kubovec, who heard Mr. Janoušek’s trial. If found guilty of perjury and presenting false information the expert could face between six months and three years in prison and be banned from the profession.

Zeman congratulates Van der Bellen on winning Austria presidential vote

The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, has congratulated Alexander Van der Bellen on his election as president of Austria. Mr. Van der Bellen defeated the far-right candidate Norbert Hofer in Sunday’s election re-run. Mr. Zeman said the votes the former Greens leader had received were a testament to the hope that the Austrian electorate had in him. Other senior Czech politicians congratulated Mr. Van on Sunday evening der Bellen, soon after his victory became clear.

Václav Fischer launches arbitration proceedings against Czech state over planes

A company owned by Czech businessman Václav Fischer has launched international arbitration proceedings against the Czech Republic. The Germany-based firm, Aircraftleasing Meier und Fischer (AMF), is demanding CZK 3.1 billion crowns as compensation for two Boeing 737 planes that were seized in 2005 when Mr. Fischer was declared bankrupt. AMF filed notice regarding the dispute with the Ministry of Finance in February, citing an international investment protection treaty. Mr. Fischer was at one time one of the best-known names in the outgoing tourism business in the Czech Republic.

Zeman to speak in lower house on Wednesday

President Miloš Zeman will deliver an address to the Chamber of Deputies on Wednesday, his spokesman, Jiří Ovčáček, has announced. Mr. Ovčáček refused to say whether the head of state would comment on next year’s budget, which is due to be debated by deputies on Wednesday. While the deficit has already been set at CZK 60 billion, MPs are set to vote on various modifications within the 2017 budget. Mr. Zeman has addressed the lower house a number of times since taking office almost four years ago.

Weather forecast

It should be partly fair on Wednesday with temperatures of up to 1 degree Celsius. The outlook is similar for the rest of the week, though daytime highs will reach up to 6 degrees Celsius.