• One in four Czechs favour “strong leader”, survey indicates


    Nearly a quarter of Czechs would favour a “strong leader”, suggests a study conducted by the think tank Globsec in 10 Central and Eastern European states cited by the news site iDnes.cz. Some 24 percent of Czech respondents agreed that they would prefer a strong and decisive leader who would not need to take into account parliament or elections.

    Sixty percent said they were in favour of a multi-party system, while 16 percent said they were unable to decide between liberal democracy and a strong leader.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • European Commission wants to tie subsidies to respect for European values, says Commission VP Jourová


    To help the EU monitor the functioning of the rule of law in member states, the European Commission wants to tie subsidies in the upcoming long-term EU budget and the post-pandemic recovery plan to the respect for European values, Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency Věra Jourová told the Czech News Agency.

    She said that there already exists majority support for the proposal among member states, but a unanimous approval is hindered by Hungary and Poland. Both of these countries are currently under Brussels’ scrutiny for passing laws intervening in the freedom of NGOs, the media and courts.

    "We need a working mechanism and not room for more empty declarations about how we value the rule of law, but do not respect the rules, Ms Jourová said, pointing to the process with the two states which has been dragging on for many years.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • Health minister claims success in stopping exodus of nurses after new data shows growth in medical employee numbers and their salaries


    The Czech government has managed to stop the continuous decline of nurses and midwives in hospitals, with the number of doctors also steadily growing, says Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtěch. A new cohort of doctors is also in line as the capacity of graduates at medical faculties has been increased by 15 percent, according to Mr Vojtěch.

    The statement came in light of new data released by the Czech Statistics Agency on Friday that showed a significant increase in state medical practitioner salaries. Nurses in acute care unites, for example, are receiving CZK 50,660 in 2020 compared to their CZK 46,841 average monthly salary from last year.

    According to the Czech Statistics Agency, 2019 was the first year since 2012, when the number of nurses serving in acute inpatient care increased to more than 48,000. The number of doctors has also increased by about two percent.

    However, trade unions are critical of the significant difference between the salaries of medical practitioners at state hospitals and the contractual wages in city, regional and private hospitals, with public nurses earning up CZK 7,000 more than their counterparts.  Instead, a uniform salary table should be put in place for all health professionals, say the unions.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • Weather


    Temperatures are set to rise across the Czech Republic on Saturday, reaching 28 degrees Celsius. However, showers are expected to continue, with storms likely in the northern and eastern parts of the country.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • Up to 60 percent of Czech Airlines employees could face the axe amid downsizing negotiations


    The upper management of Czech Airlines is currently discussing the possibility of largescale downsizing with related trade unions. The potential layoffs could impact up to 60 percent of the company’s 700 employees, news site zdopravy.cz reported on Friday.

    Trade union representatives have told the Czech News Agency that the possibility of downsizing could be a consequence of negotiations between Czech Airlines’ mother company Smartwings and the Czech state, which have thus far proved unsuccessful. One of the conditions that the Czech government has put forward in case of a bailout is that the current number of employees is retained.

    Pavel Sokolík from the Aviation Employees' Union (Odborový Svaz zaměstnanců letectví) confirmed to the Czech News Agency that negotiations are taking place. He said that 29 employees are likely to see their contracts cancelled on Monday, with the main wave of layoffs taking place in the coming months.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • Prague court rules Communist Party leader must apologise for slandering former head of National Gallery


    The Chairman of the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia Vojtěch Filip must apologise to the former head of the National Gallery in Prague Jiří Fajt for his statements last year in which he accused Fajt of mishandling the gallery’s funds and using a sponsor donation to add CZK 1.3 million to his salary, the District Court for Prague 1 has ruled on Friday.

    According to the judge, Mr Filip did not support these accusations with any evidence, only using articles on the internet to support his statement and was therefore lying. The Communist Party chairman’s defence, that Mr Fajt, as a person of public interest, has to be confronted with the accusations, was dismissed.

    Jiří Fajt was controversially fired from his position as director of the National Gallery in Prague last spring by the then Culture Minister Antonín Staněk on the grounds of financial mismanagement. This led to a petition against the decision being signed by dozens of museum directors and thousands of members of the public.

    The state subsequently apologized to Mr Fajt through Staňek's successor Lubomír Zaorálek, who is the current minister of culture.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • Czech website sues Google for exploiting search engine monopoly


    Czech price comparison website Heureka.cz filled a lawsuit against Google at the Prague Municipal Court on Friday. The company is suing Google for nearly CZK 395 million in lost profits, because the American internet search giant continues to abuse its dominant position on the market, Heureka.cz CEO Tomáš Braverman told news site Lupa.cz.

    According to Mr Braverman, Google favoured its own price comparison tool Google Shopping ahead of other competing platforms. The malpractice was already punished by the European Commission in 2017, when Google received a EUR 2.42 billion fine. The American search giant subsequently implemented changes to its system. However, seven European price comparison companies, Heureka.cz among them, say these are insufficient and have decided to file lawsuits against Google.

    Mr Braverman told Lupa.cz he expects other companies to follow suit.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • Military policeman dies after shooting in army munitions store


    A member of the Czech military police has died after one or more shots were fired in an army munitions store in the town of Týniště nad Orlicí in North-East Bohemia on Thursday evening. The military policeman was on active service at the time and died on the spot as a result of his injuries, Military Police Spokeswoman Nikola Hájková said on Friday. A police investigation is currently underway.

    The 496 hectare arsenal is the Czech Army’s main munitions store and includes explosives, guided missiles and other pyrotechnical equipment. It is guarded by military police.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • Budget Committee approves CZK 500 billion deficit


    The Committee on the Budget of the Chamber of Deputies approved the government’s proposed CZK 500 billion deficit in the Czech Republic’s 2020 budget on Friday, recommending that MPs in the lower house do the same. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš’s amendment to the proposal, which lowers the government budget reserve by CZK 100 billion, was also approved.

    Originally, the deficit was expected to amount to CZK 40 billion, but was subsequently increased several times to reach CZK 500 billion during the coronavirus pandemic, which has led the state to implement largescale relief measures on Czech businesses primarily impacted by lockdown measures implemented to curb the spread of COVID-19 from March.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • Number of Covid-19 cases drops after record jump on Wednesday


    The number of Covid-19 cases registered in the Czech Republic on Thursday reached 93. It was 34 less than on the previous day, which saw 127 cases, the highest daily number in two months.

    The number of cases detected since the start of the epidemic is 10,870. 345 people have died of the infection or related complications, and 7,633 have recovered. Currently, 2,892 people are fighting the disease.

    Author: Ruth Fraňková