Lower house chairman Miloslav Vlček on Monday called an extraordinary session of the lower house on December 9 to deal with the Lisbon treaty. The move comes in response to calls for the treaty to be ratified as soon as possible in view of the Czech Republic’s upcoming EU presidency. The Czech Constitutional Court ruled last week that the terms of the treaty do not violate the Czech Constitution, opening the way for a vote on it in both houses of Parliament. Following the treaty’s ratification by Sweden, the Czech Republic is the only EU member states which has not yet voted on the document.
Canadian governor general Michaelle Jean, who is on a five-day official visit to the Czech Republic, met with president Václav Klaus on Monday. Mrs Jean began her visit on Saturday, with a tour of the Museum of Romany Culture in Brno. At a time when an increasing number of Czech Romanies are once again applying for asylum in Canada, the Romany issue is one of the most important issues on the governor’s agenda. Her visit to the Czech Republic is part of a tour of Central Europe, including Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia.
The Czech government has launched the official website on Czech EU presidency www.eu2009.cz. The website was launched exactly one month before the country takes up the rotating EU presidency on January 1, 2009 in order to provide the public with basic information on the presidency and enable journalists to register for accreditation for EU events. The design of the web pages is based on the unified visual style of the presidency and the information published on the website will be available in Czech, English and French.
The Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama is disappointed by China’s cancellation of the China-EU summit. The Dalai Lama said at a press briefing in Prague on Monday that it was always better to meet and discuss things in spite of disagreement and different opinions. The summit was to be held in Lyon, France, on Monday. China cancelled the summit in protest over the Dalai Lama’s planned meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy on December 6.
Mayors of the towns and villages in the Brdy Hills, an area southwest of Prague which has been selected as the site of a US radar base on Czech soil, are planning to file a complaint against the Czech government during their visit to the European Parliament next year. The mayors have been invited to visit the EP in February to provide their opinion on the stationing of the radar base in the Brdy military zone. The mayors have already sent a letter to US President-Elect Barack Obama asking him to reconsider the plan. Most of the villages in the Brdy area have rejected the radar base in local referendums and opinion polls indicate that the majority of Czechs do not want the US radar on Czech territory.
Five activists gathered outside the Office of the Government on Monday to
protest against the planned stationing of a US missile defence radar on
Czech soil. The activists vainly attempted to waylay ministers heading for
their cabinet meeting and handed out leaflets against the radar.
The United States wants to install a tracking radar on Czech soil and interceptor missiles in Poland as part of a broader missile defence shield in Europe. Czech and US government representatives signed the relevant treaties earlier this year, but they still have to be approved by the lower house. Anti-radar activists plan to stage more protests in Prague and Brno on Sunday.
The average monthly salary in the Czech Republic grew by 7.9 percent year-on-year to 23,144 crowns (approximately 1,140 US dollars) in the third quarter of the year, the Czech Statistical Office announced on Monday. The real wage, however, increased only by 1.2 percent due to a high inflation, which stood at 6.6 percent in the third quarter of this year.
The former Vítkovice industrial complex in Ostrava has become the first Czech site to enter the newly emerging list of European Cultural Heritage. Other landmarks nominated by the Czech Ministry of Culture include the modern centre of Zlín, the Kynžvart Chateau in west Bohemia and the town of Vysoká u Příbrami, connected with Czech composer Antonín Dvořák. The EU list of European Cultural Heritage has been inspired by the UNESCO project and still has to be approved by the European Commission.
Czech skier Šárka Záhrobská claimed the first World Cup victory of her career on Sunday, winning the second slalom of the season in Aspen, Colorado. Záhrobská took the lead after the first leg, securing her victory ahead of Austrian Nicole Hosp and Tanja Poutiainen of Finland. Šárka Záhrobská is the reigning slalom world champion, but had never before won a World Cup race.
The Green Party Education Minister Ondřej Liška has stated that he intends to push for discussions on the possible impeachment of the Czech President Václav Klaus. The comments were made in an interview with the daily Právo, in which Liška stated that he does not consider Mr Klaus to be his president, and that if impeachment proceeding were seriously discussed, he would be “at the front of the line.” The Education Minister criticized the Czech president for his activities opposing the Lisbon Treaty, which Mr Liška stated were far beyond the purview of the role assigned to Mr Klaus as an apolitical president. Under Czech law, the president can only be removed from office for treason, or if he or she is unable to carry out their function. Commenting on the difficulty of removing the Czech president from his post, Mr Liška stated that: at the point when the head of state starts actively undermining the foreign policy of the government he is supposed to represent, then a serious discussion about impeachment must be undertaken. Most Green Party members have long opposed the Czech president, in particular for his controversial views on man-made climate change.