The Volkswagen diesel emission scandal over illegal software cheating emission tests is likely to hit Czech drivers as well. The Czech carmaker Škoda has confirmed that the device was fitted into some of its models, namely the Fabia, Roomster, Octavia and Superb manufactured between from 2009 until 2013. A spokesman for Skoda said the company was currently assessing the number of cars affected. The US Environmental Protection Agency said on Friday that Volkswagen had installed the illegal software to allow its diesel cars to produce up to 40 times more pollution than allowed. The US government has ordered VW to recall nearly 500,000 VW and Audi cars produced since 2009.
ANO party deputy leader Radmila Kleslová resigned from her post on Tuesday, saying that she had made the decision due to growing pressure from the media. Earlier this month, the news site neovlivni.cz revealed that Ms Kleslová has made a lucrative deal with the state controlled company ČEZ, receiving 100,000 crowns. According to the former deputy Finance Minister, Lukáš Wagenknecht, who revealed the information, he was pressed by Mrs Kleslová not to investigate the matter any further.
The Czech Republic will meet the commitments resulting from Tuesday’s EU agreement on the migrant crisis, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek said on Wednesday. Mr. Zaoralek said a common strategy by the European Union was the only possible solution to the migrant crisis, but he warned that neither the EU nor the Czech Republic can accept an unlimited number of refugees and the quotas might mean that the Czechs would be obliged to accept tens of thousands of refugees or pay a fine.
The government has approved the draft of the state budget for 2016, with a deficit of 70 billion crowns, the government’s spokesman Martin Ayrer told the Czech News Agency on Wednesday. The proposal envisages a wage hike for firefighters, teachers, policemen and health workers, as well as extra expenditures connected to the current influx of migrants. The draft will now be discussed by the lower house.
The first passengers on a new direct Beijing to Prague air route arrived in the Czech capital on Wednesday morning. The flights, operated by the Chinese company Hainan Airlines, have made connections between the two states less expensive with the cheapest return tickets going for around CZK 12,500. Previously all air travel between the two capitals involved transfers.
President Miloš Zeman's chancellor Vratislav Mynář has failed to receive the top-level security clearance he needs to perform some of his functions, the newspaper Právo reported on Wednesday. The head of the National Security Authority, which carries out such checks, has twice met with Mr. Zeman to discuss why it had rejected his application in recent days, the daily said. In the past the president said Mr. Mynář, who applied for clearance in December 2013, could not remain in the post if he failed to receive it.
The Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, says Tuesday's vote to introduce quotas of asylum seekers in European Union states will not resolve the refugee crisis. Mr. Sobotka said that the decision had been a bad one and that the Czech Republic would do everything in its powers to prevent the system coming into effect. The leaders of the parties in the Czech coalition government are to discuss what action to take at a meeting on Wednesday.
The Czech Republic has been defeated in a European Union vote on the allocation of set numbers of migrants to individual states. Europe's interior ministers pushed the quota system through in a qualified majority vote on Tuesday. The Czech minister of the interior, Milan Chovanec, described the vote as an empty and ineffective political gesture. The only other states to vote against the plan to spread 120,000 refugees around Europe were Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. The Czech Republic, which had long pushed for a voluntary system, will take in almost 3,000 refugees in the next two years.
President Miloš Zeman says Czech soldiers should guard the borders of their own country rather than trying to deal with the refugee crisis abroad. The head of state was reacting to a recent statement by the country’s minister of defence, Martin Stropnický, who said thousands of Czech soldiers could be deployed to provide assistance at refugee camps in states near Syria. Mr. Zeman said reservists could assist professional soldiers in guarding the borders of the Czech Republic.
A Prague court has ruled that three men wanted on terrorism charges in the USA can be extradited to that country. Ali Fayad, Faouzi Jaber and Khaled Marabi immediately filed an action against the ruling, which will now return to the Czech Supreme Court. The three were arrested in Prague in 2014 and charged with terrorism after trying to sell weapons and cocaine to US agents who passed themselves off as members of Colombia’s FARC.