Municipalities across the Czech Republic could raise more money if local
councillors are given the ability to specifically tax properties located on
industrial zones, according to the Ministry of Finance, which is working on
the legislation. Currently, Czech municipalities are able to raise only a
fraction of what their counterparts in Germany raise through this specific
tax, according to a developer commissioned analysis. Finance Minister Alena
Schillerová (ANO) believes that if local councils are given the chance to
tax these specific properties, without targeting residents. She told Czech
Television that the specific amount of the increase is still negotiable.
The Association of Towns and Municipalities has been arguing that more money from the state budget should be allocated to these areas of administration, because, in the words of the director of the association, they are shown to be very good managers. However, the finance minister says she is not willing to make changes in budget allocations.
The EU representative office in Prague has confirmed receiving the final EC
audit on Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš‘ alleged conflict of interest
stemming from the multi-billion crown agro-chemical empire Agrofert he
owned and later placed in trust funds and EU subsidies to the said holding.
The audit has been sent to the Ministry for Regional Development. According to EU representatives in Prague the document is confidential.
The EC’s preliminary audit concluded that the Czech prime minister has a conflict of interest and the Czech Republic may subsequently have to return some 450 million crowns in EU subsidies paid to the Agrofert business conglomerate.
Prime Minister Babiš has dismissed the claims, saying he had fully adhered to the Czech conflict of interest law.
MEP Jiří Pospíšil, current chairman of the centre-right TOP 09 party,
was elected head of its Prague branch on Saturday, winning 73 votes out of
Pospíšil, 43, said he will step down as party chairman in November in order to concentrate on coordinating TOP O9’s work at Prague City Hall, as well as European politics.
Expected to run for the TOP 09 leadership are current first vice-chair Markéta Pekarová Adamová and Senator Tomáš Czernin.
Pospíšil twice served as Minister of Justice when a member of the Civic Democrats: between 2006 and 2009, under Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek, and from 2010 to 2012, under Prime Minister Petr Nečas.
He won a seat in the European Parliament as a member of TOP 09.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs is to receive an additional 5.9
billion crowns in state funds in 2020, Labour Minister Jana Maláčová
said following marathon talks on money matters with Finance Minister Alena
Extra money for IT projects, as requested by the labour minister is still to be debated.
The draft budget for the ministry was originally set at 676.4 billion, a sum that Ms. Maláčová said was woefully inadequate for the tasks at hand. She had originally requested an additional 11 billion crowns.
Zdeněk Hřib of the Pirate Party has been the mayor of Prague for only 10 months but has already garnered the attention of international media, particularly over his attempts to remove an article recognising the One China policy from the city’s partnership agreement with Beijing. I met with Mr. Hřib at City Hall to discuss his view of the situation, as well as his fondness for Taiwan. The mayor is actually a physician by training and I began by asking him for a diagnosis of tourism in Prague and the city’s plans in this area.
The European Commission has agreed to postpone the deadline by which the
Czech Republic must respond to the Commission’s first draft audit on
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš’ suspected conflict of interest until
September 2, Czech Radio reported.
The European Commission originally set the deadline for the beginning of August, but the Regional Development Ministry requested a month-long extension, arguing that the audit was complex. According to the EC’s preliminary findings the Czech prime minister has a conflict of interest and the Czech Republic may subsequently have to return some 450 million crowns in EU subsidies paid to the Agrofert business conglomerate he founded.
The Czech state has put CZK 927 million into a system of locks on the Labe
(Elbe) River that has not yet been built, the Supreme Audit Office says.
The auditors say that water transport has in the long term played a very
small role in the expedition of goods in the Czech Republic.
The Supreme Audit Authority was looking into a Ministry of Regional Development project launched in 2014 to foster water transport in the Czech Republic.
Only about 1 percent of all cargo in the Czech Republic is transported by water. The main reason for this is the unreliability of the Labe and Vltava rivers, which are not always navigable.
The project examined by the auditors conceives of the construction of a lock system at Děčín.
Prague councillors have elected the city’s first nightlife mayor. The
post has gone to Jan Štern, whose task it will be to deal with complaints
about noise pollution from bars, pubs and restaurants and promote a safe
and vibrant nightlife scene that benefits businesses and residents alike.
According to councillor Hana Třeštíková the nightlife mayor’s task will be to gradually change the image of Prague from that of a city offering cheap alcohol and numerous nightclubs.
In electing a nightlife mayor Prague councillors were inspired by cities such as New York or Paris.
The Czech government will later this month weigh up changing the title of
the Ministry of Regional Development, Czech Television reported. Prime
Minister Andrej Babis of ANO wants to have the government department –
which was set up 22 years ago – renamed the Ministry of Public
Investment, a move that would be accompanied by a rearrangement of the
purviews of government offices, Czech Television said.
The minister of regional development, ANO nominee Klára Dostálová, is in favour of the change. However, other cabinet members have said they need time to consider the matter.
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