Klaus will veto bill to raise maternal benefits

The Czech president, Václav Klaus, has said he will veto the reinstatement of full maternity benefits, recently passed by the Chamber of Deputies. Speaking at a press conference for the launch of his new book, Mr Klaus repeated on Monday that he will not sign any bill that would increase the state budget deficit. Left-wing parties helped by the Greens managed to push the benefits through Parliament last week in the face of opposition from the government as well as the centre-right parties. Maternal benefits were reduced in 2009 as part of the government’s austerity package, and the lower-house move to reinstate them will still have to go through the Senate, where the centre-right parties hold a small majority, before reaching Mr Klaus’ desk.