Barroso - Klaus talks

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso met for talks with Czech President Vaclav Klaus at Prague Castle on Friday. According to the CTK news agency they failed to agree on the scope of EU integration and the status of a European constitution. Mr. Barroso, who is in Prague to launch a "dialogue, democracy and debate" initiative aimed at bringing the European Union closer to its citizens, urged further EU integration. President Klaus, who is strongly anti-federalist, said he particularly welcomed the EU initiate since he felt that there was a lack of open debate on problems of European integration, particularly following the rejection of the European Constitution by Dutch and French voters.

Social Democrats want to push through their policy programme

The ruling Social Democratic Party is determined to push through as much of its policy programme as possible before next years general elections. The party's acting chairman Bohuslav Sobotka told newsmen on Friday that there were 51 government proposed bills that the ruling party would try to push through Parliament in the coming months either with support from its coalition partners or the opposition Communist Party. The mentioned bills involve a conflict of interest bill, one on bankruptcy and a bill on rent-deregulation, all of which have proved problematic in the past.

Health ministry complains about VZP's attitude

The health ministry claims that the General Health Insurance company VZP is making obstructions to an inspection ordered by the health minister. The head of the ministry's inspection team Vladimir Dryml said the insurance company was not cooperating as it should. VZP spokesman Jiri Suttner rejected the allegation, saying that the insurance company's employees were working day and night to prepare the documents requested by the ministry. Health Minister David Rath recently imposed forced administration on the insurance company, largely due to its growing debt.

Regional court judge faces disciplinary hearing

A regional court judge faces a disciplinary hearing for failing to prolong the custody of a man charged with drug dealing, as a result of which he had to be set free. The judge from the Ostrava regional court claims to have overlooked the task in the midst of other pressing work. The court's chairman Vit Vesley said it was a cardinal mistake and the judge would have to face the consequences. The man who had to be set free as a result of this mistake was the head of an organized group of Vietnamese and Russian drug dealers.

Havel receives prize

The former Czech president Vaclav Havel has received the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Arts. Mr. Havel received the award from Austrian President Heinz Fisher at Hofburg Palace in Vienna on Friday. President Fisher said Vaclav Havel had been chosen for this honour mainly due to his merit in strengthening relations between Prague and Vienna.


Saturday is expected to be partly cloudy with scattered snow showers and day temperatures between 2 and minus two degrees Celsius.