News Monday, JULY 06th, 1998

Radio Prague E news Date: July 6, 1998 Written / read by: Alena Skodova

Hello and welcome to the programme. I'm Alena Skodova and we start with the news:

Schussel to Prague

Chairman of the European Union Council, Austrian Foreign minister Wolfgang Schussel, will arrive in the Czech republic on Tuesday to inform government members and representatives of the two strongest political parties about the priorities of the Austrian chairmanship of the European Union. He - on the other hand - wants to learn about the Czech republic's preparations for future EU membership. Schussel's stay in the Czech republic will end his tour of the five countries in Eastern and Central Europe which hope for EU membership in the near future. The Austrian minister has been acquainting the candidate states with his country's plans when it chairs the European Union in the second half of this year. Schussel has already been to Poland and Estonia and on Monday he will conduct talks in Hungary and Slovenia. Here in Prague Mr. Schussel will meet his Czech counterpart Jaroslav Sedivy, chairman of the Social democrats Milos Zeman, and ODS leader Vaclav Klaus.

ODS - Budget

In Sunday's televised debate on the private TV channel NOVA , ODS deputy chairwoman Libuse Benesova admitted that next year's state budget might count on a slight deficit. She added, though, that one of the Civic democratic party's conditions for starting talks on forming a cabinet with the Christian democrats and the Freedom Union is a bill on a balanced state budget. Her opponent in the debate, Social democrat deputy chairman Vladimir Spidla, refused to disclose whether the Social democrats, in case they form a minority government with ODS support, would submit to the House of deputies a balanced or a deficit budget. Spidla said these are premature problems at present. He added that the country is presently in an economic crisis and that his party intends first to elaborate a thorough analysis of the situation in the Czech republic and then "do the right things at the right time".

National holiday - church service

Today's national holiday, commemorating the coming to the Czech lands of two Greek missionaries, Cyril and Methodius, who spread Christianity among the pagan Czechs, was culminated on Sunday by a pilgrimage and an open-air religious service in the town of Velehrad in Moravia. The solemn mass outside the local basilica was served by all bishops of the Czech and Moravian Catholic dioceses, including Cardinal Miloslav Vlk. The two brothers came to what is now the Czech republic back in the year 863. The Cyrilian-Methodean tradition has been generally connected with the spiritual heritage of Christianity in the Czech lands, and according to theologists of various beliefs, the two missionaries' address to people living in the 20th century was to build up a community where Christian unity would be clearly visible.

And that's the end of the news.