The government is not planning to cut defence spending as part of budget
cuts amid economic impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus, Prime Minister
Andrej Babiš told Czech Television on Wednesday. The Defence Ministry is
in the middle of negotiations regarding its biggest acquisition project,
the purchase of new armored troop carriers worth CZK 52 billion. The prime
minister said it is necessary to find a way in which this can go ahead.
The ministry announced earlier on Wednesday it had signed a CZK 1.7 billion deal with STV GROUP that will supply 47,000 bulletproof vests for the troops.
Mr Babiš also thanked the army for its help in combating the coronavirus pandemic.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš hopes that a diplomatic dialogue with
Russia will help normalise relations with the country, he said so in an
interview with the tabloid Blesk published on Wednesday. Mr Babiš said
that after consultations with him, Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš
Petříček had requested the opening of diplomatic dialogue with the
Russian side to which the Russians agreed. The Czech prime minister went on
to say that it is unacceptable for anyone to interfere in the Czech
domestic political scene, but that the Russian side has rejected such an
There have been tensions between the Czech Republic and Russia in recent months, mainly stemming from Russia’s condemnation of the removal of a statue of Soviet marshal Ivan Konev in Prague 6. Reports appeared in the press that a Russian intelligence officer had been sent to Prague in April carrying ricin poison and three Prague politicians were sent into hiding upon recommendation by Czech security services. However, Russia denies this took place.
During the first month of coronavirus lockdown in the Czech Republic, when
many Czechs were forced to work from home, productivity decreased by 10
percent and, after two months, fell further down by 30 percent. This
according to an analysis conducted by consulting firm Moore Czech Republic
among its clients.
Moore Czech Republic says this is mainly due to the transfer of whole teams into home office conditions, without the ability to analyse which sorts of work would be disadvantaged by the move.
The analysis also highlights that home office lowers a company’s cybersecurity capabilities and hinders the carrying out of tasks that require working with sensitive data. For example, workers in the public sector are often unable to take home their office laptop or computer due to security reasons, which affects their productivity.
An ambulance was called last week in the Central Bohemian region after a
female pensioner drank a mug of COVID-19 disinfectant to stop her from
getting the virus. The patient then suffered heavy fits of vomiting and was
transported to the local hospital, according to a Facebook post by the
Ambulance Service of the Central Bohemian Region. She has since been
According to the service, the pensioner was afraid, because she belongs to the group at high-risk from the virus and was not able to filter out all of the information she found regarding prevention in the media.
Children with physical or mental impairments should have the same chance to
attend classes in their respective schools as other students, according to
Deputy Ombudswoman Monika Šimůnková.
Thus far the government plan for the reopening of schools counts on special needs schools to remain closed until the end of this academic year, but ordinary primary schools to begin reopening from May 25.
Ms Šimůnková has sent a letter to the Minister of Education Robert Plaga and Health Minister Adam Vojtěch, saying that this is in violation of education legislation and asking them to reconsider their timelines for re-opening.
The Czech Republic could open its borders with Austria and Slovakia either
on June 8, or June 15, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said in an interview
with the tabloid Blesk published on Wednesday. Asked about the re-opening
of borders with Germany, Mr Babiš said he was more sceptical due to the
epidemological situation in the country.
Austria and Germany have stated they want to reopen cross border travel with their neighbours.
Austrian Tourism Minister Elisabeth Köstinger and German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer both said on Wednesday that they want to see the reopening of borders with neighbouring states, including the Czech Republic, on Wednesday.
The European Commission has recommended to states that they begin gradually re-opening their borders.
The Czcech Film Fund has designated CZK 92 million to be handed out to
representatives of the country’s film industry, who are struggling from
the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated
government countermeasures, the Czech News Agency reported on Wednesday,
citing the fund’s spokesman Jiří Vaněk.
Applications for financial support open on Wednesday.
Police in the Czech Republic are investigating alleged threats against a
diplomat at Prague’s Russian Embassy, the minister of foreign affairs,
Tomáš Petříček, told Czech Television. Mr. Petříček said his
officials had handed the matter over to the police after being contacted by
The Russian Embassy said on Facebook on Monday that a member of its staff had received threats. It said this had come in response to false accusations of a planned Russian attack on Prague politicians.
Three officials in the city received police protection following reports that they could be in danger over moves that angered Moscow.
The Czech minister of finance, Alena Schillerová, says she expects a state
budget deficit of around CZK 300 billion next year, Czech Television
reported. A budget deficit of that size is already planned for 2020. A
budget deficit of CZK 40 billion had originally envisaged for this year but
that figure was revised in view of the coronavirus crisis.
Ms. Schillerová said the government had rubberstamped an amendment under which the Ministry of Finance would present the draft budget for 2021 to the cabinet at the end of September and to MPs toward the end of October. This is a month later than usual.
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