Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and his Visegrad Four counterparts met in
Prague on Thursday to discuss energy and climate change with Austrian
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.
The V4 summit attended by the Austrian chancellor focussed on energy and EU climate change policy, areas where the positions of Austria and the V4 (which includes Slovakia, Poland and Hungary) differ significantly.
Unlike Austria, the V4 countries say achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 is not possible without building more nuclear power plants.Austria does not like the idea that EU money paid to help phase-out coal mining and boost alternate energy sources should be used for nuclear power.
PM Babiš argues that in the interests of “energy security” and ecomomic growth, the Czech Republic must build new nuclear units even if it contravenes European Union law.
The talks also covered EU funding and migration where the heads of government found more common ground.They agreed on the need to fight illegal migration,rejected the idea of obligatory migrant quotas and stressed the importance of defending the EU's outer borders.
Since the talks were held on the anniversary of the death of student martyr Jan Palach, the prime ministers laid flowers at the Palach memorial at the top end of Wenceslas Square where Palach set himself on fire in protest against growing public apathy to the Soviet-led invasion.
Sales of hybrid cars in the Czech Republic increased by 73 percent last
year to over 8,300 vehicles, while the country’s automobile market
dropped by four percent. Sales of electric cars increased by three percent
to 636 vehicles.
The share of hybrid vehicles combining a petrol or diesel engine with a battery and electric motor on overall car sales currently amounts to over 3.3 percent, according to data released by the Car Importers Association on Thursday.
The highest number of hybrids, over 4,000, was sold by Toyota, followed by Audi and Mercedes-Benz. Czech car-maker Škoda sold 85 of its Superb iV plug-in hybrids last year.
Associations representing the interests of towns and municipalities have
called on Minister for Regional Development Klára Dostálová (ANO) to
withdraw the current draft bill for a new Building Act. A completely new
proposal needs to be created as the legislation is so bad, the Chairman of
the Union of Towns and Municipalities František Lukl said in a press
release issued on Monday together with the Association for Rural Renewal.
Mrs Dostálová has not yet commented on the statement.
The draft Building Act has elicited criticism in the media as well. In October, it was described as a de-facto privatization of the legislative process which plays into the hand of developers, in the weekly magazine Respekt.
The situation at the Czech Republic’s internationally known Zetor tractor company has been stabilised following major layoffs announced last year. The downsizing and clearing of inventory proved effective and the company will even make a small number of fresh hires in the coming year, Czech Television reported.
The coal mining company OKD which was hit by a cyber-attack on Monday is
renewing operations in all its mines on Friday after the installation of an
independent internal computer network.
Coal mining was suspended in the wake of the attack for security reasons, despite the fact that methane detectors remained fully operational.
The OKD company’s computer network was hit just two weeks after a similar attack paralysed a hospital in the central Bohemian town of Benešov.
The Temelín nuclear power plant is southern Bohemia will be scaling down
production on both its blocks in the coming days due to scheduled
maintenance, the power utility ČEZ reported.
Operation on one will be reduced by ten percent, and the other will operate at half its capacity in order to enable safe maintenance. Both will remain connected to the grip and should return to full capacity by December 24th.
A commemorative ceremony took place in Stonava in the north-east of the
Czech Republic on Friday to honour the thirteen miners who died after a
methane explosion at the ČSM hard coal mine exactly a year ago. Twelve of
the dead were Polish nationals.
Among those attending the event were Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, Polish ambassador to the Czech Republic Barbara Ćwioro, representatives of the OKD company, which operates the mine, and relatives of the victims.
The blast, which occurred about 880 metres below the ground, devastated some of the underground areas with poor visibility, obstructing the efforts of the rescue units.
After nearly 130 years in service, the coal mine in Lazy located in the
Moravian-Silesian Region was closed on Thursday. Its current owner OKD,
told the Czech News Agency that further mining would require billions of
crowns in investment and was no longer economically viable for the company.
Some 100 miners will remain on location to work on refilling, others have been moved to some of the recently re-nationalised company’s four other mines in the region.
The once picturesque village of Libkovice lay nestled in a small valley not far from the hilltop where legend has it the primal Father Čech decided his people would settle in Bohemian. Founded nearly a millennium ago, Libkovice was the last town slated for liquidation after 1989 to make way for coal mining operations. Its residents, together with environmental activists faced off against freshly minted capitalists in an ultimately futile battle to save the village, which lay above a rich seam of coal. But the sad story has one silver lining: the
Working groups of the so-called Coal Commission expect to draft plans to
end coal mining in the Czech Republic sometime after 2030 onwards in order
to reduce C02 emissions. The scenarios should be ready in January.
The Czech Republic is the fifth-biggest polluter in Europe and the 20th in the world in terms of CO2 emissions, and the key reason is the share of coal-fired power plants in the country’s energy mix.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) has said new nuclear power units must be built, even if in breach of European law, to offset the loss of electricity generated by coal.
The Coal Commission advisory board is co-chaired by the ministers of environment and industry, and includes experts appointed by relevant stakeholders, including industry, labour unions, NGOs and communities in coal-producing regions. Some members expect the coal-exit to take place in 2040 at the earliest.
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