News of Radio Prague
Half of all Czech schools to join strike action
More than half of all primary and secondary schools in the country intend to join the one day token strike in protest of low wages on Monday. The Education Ministry said on Friday that it could make no more concessions, and that it had done its utmost for teachers within the government proposed cuts in spending. The Finance Minister Bohuslav Sobotka likewise confirmed that there could be no question of allotting extra finances for teachers' pay. Tax officials, employees of land registry and social welfare offices also intend to join the one day protest strike. Meanwhile, the leaders of the governing coalition parties are to meet with officials of the Bohemian and Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions on Monday to discuss the public finance reform and trade unions' suggestions for its modification. The Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla has warned trade unions however not to expect any major concessions.
Mini-summit in Prague next week
Representatives from 15 small European countries are expected in Prague next week for a mini-summit on the proposed European Union constitution. The participants at the conference include representatives from Greece, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland and Portugal as well as a number of East European candidates expected to join the EU in a big bang expansion in 2004. On a visit to Prague earlier this week, the German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer warned the smaller European states not to open up controversial issues regarding the constitution, warning that this could precipitate a severe crisis. The Czech Foreign Ministry however insisted on holding the upcoming meeting, arguing that smaller countries should be given a chance to refine the constitution and defend their interests. Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg have decided not to attend the Prague consultations.
Czech Republic urges Croatia to cooperate with the ICTY
The Czech Republic has said it will support Croatian ambitions to join the European Union if Zagreb cooperates with the Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. On a working visit to Zagreb, the Czech Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda said that the Czech Republic was willing to help Croatia as a friendly country in the negotiating process for EU membership, but he said Croatia must meet all conditions for membership. One of the key conditions is cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal, which means that Croatia must extradite its soldiers, including generals, who are charged with war crimes to the ICTY. Croatia is seen as having been reluctant to cooperate in the past, having failed to arrest its prime war crimes suspect, army general Ante Gotovina.
Sunday is expected to be partly cloudy to overcast with some rain showers and day temperatures between 16 and 19 degrees Celsius.