News of Radio Prague

Benes decrees "no obstacle" to Czech EU membership

The Benes Decrees under which more than 2,000,000 ethnic Germans were expelled from Czechoslovakia in the aftermath of the Second World War are not a hindrance to Prague's admission to the European Union, according an official report issued by the European Commission on Friday. The Commission said the study of the decrees carried out by legal experts "had not shown any obstacles to the Czech Republic's accession in the light of the acquis communautaire. The report has been welcomed in Prague, but is likely to anger some groups in neighbouring Austria and Germany, where many ethnic Germans settled after the expulsion. Some politicians in the two countries have called for the Czech Republic to be banned from joining the EU until the decrees are scrapped.

Netherlands prevents Czech Republic from closing economic competition chapter

The Netherlands has prevented the Czech Republic from closing the economic competition chapter which is part of negotiations between the European Union and the Czech Republic. The Dutch representative said the Netherlands' objection was the Czech state assistance to the steel industry. The Czech government's chief EU negotiator Pavel Telicka will not therefore meet his counterparts from EU member countries.

EU discontent about state assistance to Czech banks

The European Union Commissioner for economic competition, Mario Monti, has said the Commission is dissatisfied with the Czech Republic's documentation on state assistance to banks prior to their privatisation. After a meeting with Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla, Mr Monti stressed that the Czech Republic should secure full confidence and legal security to banks and investors, adding that more efforts would be required for achieving higher transparency of state assistance to banks.

Two Czech divers released from police custody in Croatia

The two Czech divers who spent five weeks in custody in Croatia on charges of murder, have returned home to the Czech Republic and are considering taking legal action against Croatian police. Their friend and also a diver, Miroslav Kuklis, died under mysterious circumstances in an underwater cave near Split, Croatia, on September 10th and investigation showed he had been stabbed. While Croatian police suspected the two Czechs of murdering their friend, they maintain he ran out of air while underwater, and chose to voluntarily end his life rather than suffocate.

Czech lower house approves bill on EU membership referendum

The Czech Republic took a step towards letting its citizens decide on EU membership on Thursday, after the lower house of parliament approved a bill to hold a referendum in the second quarter of next year. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass easily because the upper house drafted the bill. The bill was approved by a strong majority, with 180 of the 182 deputies present in the 200-seat lower house voting in favour.

Weather forecast

The weather on Saturday will be largely influenced by cooler air coming from the northwest. Local showers are forecast with a chance of snow in the mountains. Daytime temperatures will range from 6 to 10 degrees Celsius. Sunday should be brighter with isolated showers and temperatures between 7 and 11 degrees Celsius.