Czech President Miloš Zeman has accepted an invitation to attend a meeting with other V4 heads-of-state in Warsaw next week, according to the president’s spokesman. The invitation was issued by Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski and the meeting will also be attended by Slovakia’s Andrej Kiska and Hungary’s János Áder. The V4 compromises of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Mr Zeman will reportedly use the opportunity to discuss efforts in the fight against international terrorism; also on the agenda will be preparations ahead of the NATO summit in Wales in September.
The Defence Ministry and Czech aircraft manufacturer Aero Vodochody have signed a contract on a brokered deal to sell the military’s unwanted L-159 fighter jets to the American firm Draken International. The deal will officially be announced later this week. The US company is buying 14 fighter jets at the cost of 220 to 250 million Czech crowns, with the option to purchase an additional 14. The Czech Republic, however, is also keeping the doors open for a possible sale of additional L-159s to Iraq. According to Defence Minister Martin Stropnický, the Iraqis are interested in up to 15 planes.
The Czech soldiers killed in a terrorist attack in Afghanistan last Tuesday will be buried with military honours, army chief of staff spokesperson Jana Ružičková told the ctk news agency on Monday. The army has also released the names of the four soldiers with their families’ consent. Another soldier who was badly wounded in the same attack has been transported to Prague. He remains in serious condition.
Coalition leaders are to meet on Monday to try and reach agreement on who should be the next Czech EU commissioner. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has said he wants the ruling coalition to agree on a single nominee whose name he will put forward in Brussels later in the week. The three party-coalition has been deadlocked on the issue for weeks now. The prime minister’s Social Democrats are backing the former finance minister Pavel Mertlík, the ANO party has nominated Regional Development Minister Věra Jourová, while the Christian Democrats now support a high placed Czech official in Brussels Petr Bližovský. It is not yet clear what portfolio the Czech commissioner will be given.
Sunday’s motorcycle race in Ostrava ended in tragedy after several drivers were caught up in a dangerous pileup on a closed track. The accident happened shortly after the race had started. One driver was killed and four others were injured, one of them seriously. The cause of the accident is not yet clear.
Czech Post wants to franchise around 200 of its small outlets within the next two years, the company’s general director Martin Elkan told Czech Television on Sunday. At present it has 49 such outlets. Czech Post has come under fire for wanting to close down dozens of small unprofitable outlets around the country. Its CEO said that this was no longer on the agenda but that the company had to find a compromise solution.
The ANO party of the ruling coalition has surged ahead in popularity ratings. According to a survey conducted by the polling agency Aisa the party would now get 31 percent voter support, as compared to the 18.6 percent it won in last year’s general elections. The Social Democrats, which won the elections with just over 20 percent of the vote, would now only get 16 percent, followed by the Communist Party with 11.5 percent and TOP 09 with 11 percent of the vote. The Civic Democrats would get 7 percent and the junior party in the ruling coalition would get 5.5 only just crossing the 5 percent threshold needed to win seats in the lower house.
Another Czech soldier has been injured during an attack on a nigh patrol at the Bagram military base in Afghanistan. The patrol came under fire from insurgents not far from the base which the Czech unit serving under ISAF is protecting. The injured soldier underwent surgery at a US military hospital in Bagram. He is reported to be in stable condition. On Tuesday this week four Czech soldiers were killed and another was seriously injured in a terrorist attack near the Bagram military base.
The Czech Republic is the second worst country in the EU in which to start up a business, according to a report by the World Economics Form. A survey among local entrepreneurs indicates that the process of setting up a business is bureaucratic and time consuming. Respondents also noted the difficulties of acquiring start-up loans. Only 15 percent of Czechs have moved to establish their own private business, which is the lowest number in the EU.
A viral epidemic is threatening bee colonies in central Bohemia. Experts say it is the seventh outbreak this year. Bee-keepers in more than a hundred towns and villages are at risk and have been placed in a quarantine zone, meaning they are not allowed to move hives and queen bees outside this region. Regulations in this country ban treating infected colonies with antibiotics. All such colonies must be destroyed.