• 06/17/2021

    The Czech Republic’s membership in the European Union should not be part of the political debate, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO), told a conference on transatlantic relations on Thursday. But he said that does not mean Prague should blindly agree to everything proposed by “Eurocrats” in Brussels or “progressive political elites in big countries”.

    “We must constantly fight for our national interests in the EU and we should not be naive, because all the member states in the bloc are always fighting for their national interests,” Babiš said.

    The EU common market, the free movement of people, goods, services and investments is important for the industrial and export-oriented Czech Republic, Babiš said, while calling for less regulation and bureaucracy.

    The Czech prime minister further argued that migration policy should be fully in the hands of the EU member states, and asylum applications be assessed at checkpoints outside of the Schengen borders.

    Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhánek (Social Democrats) said at the same conference in Prague that security remains the most important element of the transatlantic alliance, and called for a strengthening of cooperation between the EU and NATO. He identified free and fair trade without unnecessary trade barriers as another priority.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • 06/17/2021

    The top search engine in the Czech Republic, Seznam.cz, plans to sue the American giant Google for abuse of dominant position and anti-competitive practices on its Android operating system. The Czech company is seeking 10 billion crowns in damages.

    Last December, Seznam launched pre-litigation proceedings against the Google seeking 9 billion crowns in damages, a sum recently revised upwards. Seznam vice president Pavel Zima said Google’s practises will have a larger and longer-term impact on the market than initially expected.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • 06/17/2021

    Clear skies are in the forecast for Friday, with average daytime highs of 29 to 33 degrees Celsius.

  • 06/17/2021

    About half of Czech households with children do not plan to spend their summer holiday abroad, according to a survey by Explorio.cz.

    Some four in five accommodation services say they expect families to comprise the majority of guests due a lack of foreign tourists and few corporate events scheduled.

    According to the survey, one in five people who normally take foreign holidays plan to stay in the Czech Republic. Explorio.cz head František Peterka said the main reasons are concerns over health, safety, and possible complications with coronavirus testing or the so-called Covid passport.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • 06/17/2021

    Negotiations between the Czech Republic and Poland over the latter country’s Turów lignite mine near the shared border began on Thursday.

    The Czech government has petitioned the European Union’s Court of Justice to fine Poland EUR 5 million for each day it continues to mine coal from the mine, which it says is contaminating water supplies.

    The court last month ordered Poland to suspend mining at Turów, but Poland has thus far ignored the ruling. Thursday’s discussion aims to agree conditions under which the Czech side would be willing to withdraw its lawsuit.

    In that context, Environment Minister Richard Brabec (ANO) said the quality and decline of groundwater, increase in noise and dust, shocks and settlement of terrain, especially in the Liberec region, are all matters of concern.

  • 06/17/2021

    Former Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček of the junior coalition Social Democrats will not run in the parliamentary elections this October.

    Petříček withdrew after the party leadership decided to replace him at the top of its ticket with Jana Maláčová, the current Minister for Labour and Social Affairs.

    He said we would remain a member of the Social Democrats but believed that the list of candidates had been compiled in an irregular manner.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • 06/17/2021

    The last telephone booth in the entire Czech Republic is being dismantled Thursday. The first appeared 110 years ago. The last one standing was near Příbram in central Bohemia.

    The Council of the Czech Telecommunications Office decided last year to end state subsidies for small telephone booths. As a result, mobile operator O2 also lost interest in operating them.

    In addition to the dwindling number of fixed-line calls in the network, high maintenance costs and constant vandalism were further factors.

    At the turn of the century, there were over 30,000 phone booths in operation. Since then, their number had gradually decreased with the rise of cellular technology. Last year, there were 1,150 telephone booths in the country.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • 06/17/2021

    Wednesday saw 134 people test positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus in the Czech Republic, the lowest number since mid-July last year. On average, there were 10 infection cases per 100,000 people. Meanwhile, 113 people required hospitalisation, of which 14 were in intensive care. That is the lowest number since August 2020.

    More than 113,000 people were vaccinated on Wednesday. So far, 6.9 million vaccine doses have been distributed in the Czech Republic, with 2.3 million people having received both doses.

    The reproduction number lies at 0.65, the lowest it has been since October last year.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • 06/17/2021

    The first Primark store in the Czech Republic opened up in Prague this Thursday morning. People formed long queues already in the morning hours to check out the internationally successful budget clothing store located in The Flow Building on Wenceslas square.

    The 4,600 square metre store will be open from 9am to 9pm from Monday to Saturday and from 10am to 8pm on Sundays.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • 06/16/2021

    The opposition election coalition of the Pirate Party and the Mayors and Independents would win the elections if they were to take place in June with 25.5 percent of the vote, according to a poll conducted by the agency Data Collect for Czech Television released on Wednesday.

    Prime Minister Andrej Babiš’s ANO party came in second with 20.5 percent of the vote, followed by the Spolu coalition, made up of the Civic Democrats, the Christian Democrats and the TOP 09 party, with 19.5 percent.

    The Freedom and Direct Democracy received 10.5 percent in the poll, followed by the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia with 5.5 percent. The Social Democratic Party, which is currently in a government coalition with ANO, would receive just around 5 percent of the vote according to the poll, meaning it would just manage to fulfill the threshold to get into the Chamber of Deputies. The new Přísaha (Oath) Party, centered around former police chief Robert Šlachta, also polled around the 5 percent threshold.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe

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