• 06/24/2022

    The Senate has approved a bill that will enable the government to deal with the impacts of the Ukrainian refugee wave without the need for a state of emergency. Dubbed Lex Ukraine, the legislation will  allow the authorities to  allocate state and municipality-owned buildings as emergency accommodation for Ukrainian refugees and  continue with their registration in the regions. The bill still needs to be signed into law by the president. In the past the government had to declare a state of emergency which would have to be extended by the Chamber of Deputies, in order to sanction the extraordinary measures. The current state of emergency linked to the war in Ukraine is due to end this month.

  • 06/24/2022

    The Mayors and Independents Party has found a replacement for Education Minister Petr Gazdik, who resigned from his post over his contacts with lobbyist Michal Redl, a shady businessman at the center of a huge corruption scandal linked to Prague City Transport. Party spokeswoman Sára Beránková told journalists the party leadership would meet to approve the choice on Friday evening, before presenting their candidate to the Cabinet. Prime Minister Petr Fiala is to meet with President Zeman to inform him about the change-of-guard on Monday. The prime minister wants the matter settled swiftly so that the cabinet’s line up is complete when the country takes over the rotating EU presidency on July 1. The candidate’s name has not been revealed to the press.

  • 06/24/2022

    The Czech Republic will to organize an informal EU summit on the alliance‘ s potential expansion eastward, once it takes over the rotating presidency of the EU Council, Prime Minister Petr Fiala told journalists at the EU summit in Brussels on Friday. Mr. Fiala said he had been asked by the President of the EU Council Charles Michel and French President Emmanuel Macron to organize such an event so that EU leaders could address an issue that has become highly topical and needs further debate. The Czech head of government said he considered it a good way to start the Czech EU Presidency which the country takes over from France on July 1st.

  • 06/24/2022

    The number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the Czech Republic has risen for the third week in a row and the infection rate is accelerating. Nearly 3,300 new Covid cases were recorded in the last week, a rise of around 1,100 on the previous week. The seven-day case incidence rate is now at 31 per 100,000, up from 20 per 100,000 a week ago.

    Some 120 people were in hospital with the coronavirus on Thursday, compared to 112 a week earlier.

    The head of the Institute for Health Information and Statistics said the rise was due to the BA.5 variant of omicron, which spreads relatively quickly.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • 06/24/2022

    Police in the Czech Republic are investigating participation by Czech volunteers in fighting in Ukraine, iRozhlas.cz reported on Friday. Investigators are looking into at least 10 cases of Czech citizens who have joined Ukraine’s army in its defence against Russia's invasion without the required permission from the Czech president.

    The head of state granted such permission to around 100 Czechs in May, iRozhlas.cz said. However, scores of other applications have been turned down.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • 06/23/2022

    The Czech prime minister, Petr Fiala, says the mainly state-owned energy company ČEZ could be restructured within two years. Speaking in Brussels on Thursday, he said it was important for the Czech Republic to have a decisive influence with regard to critical and energy infrastructure.

    Mr. Fiala said the restructuring could result in the state running some critical infrastructure through ČEZ. He said this was a matter for debate and that minority shareholders would need to be won over.

    He said the aim of the move was to ensure the country coped better with matters which it was now facing. The Czech Republic is in a relatively very poor situation compared to other states when it comes to energy security, Mr. Fiala said.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • 06/23/2022

    Speaking after a meeting in Brussels with the head of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, the Czech prime minister, Petr Fiala, said that the Czech Republic had essentially exhausted the supply of weapons that it could donate to Ukraine.

    In Brussels Mr. Fiala is also due to take part in a summit focused on Ukraine’s bid to become a member of the European Union. He told reporters that he expected EU leaders to back Kyiv’s efforts to join the EU as an expression of solidarity with Ukraine.

    Mr. Fiala also said that it was important that EU leaders not only approve the candidate status of Ukraine and Moldova – they should also make progress in negotiations with the Western Balkans, he said.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • 06/23/2022

    Forecasters have warned that there could be strong or even very strong storms in the western half of the Czech Republic on Friday afternoon and evening. The highest rainfall is expected in Central Bohemia, Prague, parts of the Plzen Region, the South Bohemia Region, Vysočina and parts of Northeast Bohemia. Heavy rain may cause rivers to swell in the south of the country, the meteorologists said.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • 06/23/2022

    The European Court of Human Rights says that the disciplinary senate of the Czech Supreme Administrative Court is not sufficiently independent and impartial. The body is responsible for conducting disciplinary proceedings against judges, prosecutors and bailiffs. The court in Strasbourg said the situation meant the Czech Republic was violating the right to a fair trial and called for the situation to be rectified.

    The ruling follows a complaint from a Czech bailiff who argued that the court body’s disciplinary proceedings did not correspond to a proper trial and did not allow for appeals. The European Court of Human Rights awarded him EUR 4,000 in damages.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • 06/23/2022

    A Czech government decree barring the issuing of visas and residence permits to Russians and Belarusians has been extended until the end of March next year. The cabinet approved a Ministry of Foreign Affairs proposal to that effect on Wednesday evening. The government began rejecting visa applications for Russians after their country launched a war on Ukraine in February. It extended the ban to citizens of Belarus later. Exceptions can be made in humanitarian cases.

    Author: Ian Willoughby

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