Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has told the Czech daily Právo that
referenda legislation approved by the government last year, could not be
used (if approved by Parliament and signed into law) in a vote on the EU as
it did not account for existing international treaties. He added that a
departure from the European Union by the Czech Republic was in no way in
the country's interests. In his view, it would negatively impact the
economy, creating economic instability which would pave the way for
recession. Mr Sobotka also said that an exit from the bloc would impact
young people, closing opportunities and leading to a brain drain of
specialists heading abroad. Asked about euro adoption, Mr Sobotka made
clear that was a question to be settled over the next five to 10 years.
EU membership has been in the headlines since June 23, when Great Britain unexpectedly voted to become the first member to leave the bloc, leaving its future in doubt. On the Czech domestic scene, Euro MP Petr Mach - a former protege of euro sceptic ex-president Václav Klaus - has reportedly signaled he would like to launch a Czexit campaign.
The head of state, Miloš Zeman, himself drew a quick response from the government last Friday when he said he personally would not be against a vote on continued EU membership, although he made clear he would certainly vote against leaving.
Hundreds of people in the Liberec region were left without power following storms on Saturday. Fallen trees and branches downed power lines in places. Repair crews have already tackled problems in a number of areas. Storms also caused havoc in other parts of the country: in the Olomouc area a tree fell on tents in a camping area, injuring a man in his 40s who had to be taken to hospital.
The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival continues on Sunday with another 50 screenings including the premiere of a new documentary about legendary Czech rock and pop band Lucie. Journalists are also due to meet with actor Willem Dafoe; later he is to introduce a special midnight screening of The Last Temptation of Christ directed by Martin Scorsese (Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, Gangs of New York).
The Swedish government on Saturday approved the sale of brown coal mines and power plants in Germany owned by the Swedish state company Vattenfall to Czech energy sector investor EPH owned in part by businessman Daniel Křetinský. The price of the sale was not disclosed. The EPH issued a statement welcoming the decision, which will still needs to be approved by antimonopoly offices, the Czech financial daily Hospodářské noviny reported. The decision by Sweden to sell the portfolio was opposed by ecological activists in both Prague and Stockholm, who expressed concern over greenhouse gas emissions and charged that EPH was not concerned with environmental issues.
An international team research team at the J. Heyrovsky Institute of Physical Chemistry, part of the Czech Academy of Sciences, says it has learned more about one of the causes of Alzheimer's disease through the use of modern microscopic techniques which examined how molecules of the debilitating and deadly disease behave. The neurodegenerative illness is responsible for some 60 - 70 percent of dementia cases; there are more than 40 million sufferers worldwide. There is no known cure. The new research findings will now have to be verified; it is hoped that the result, if confirmed, could lead to the development of new medicines to help combat the disease.
Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitová went out in the second round at
the All England Club, losing to Russia's Ekaterina Makarova by a score
of 7-5, 7-6. Play was suspended several times due to rain, Kvitová, the
10th seed, expressed frustration over the defeat; the player won the
Wimbledon title in 2011 and 2014.
Fellow Czech player Lucie Šafařová, meanwhile, won a three-set thriller against Slovak competitor Jana Čepelová (who had had the match point on her racket) to reach the fourth round.
President Miloš Zeman said on Friday after meeting with three-time Olympic gold medal winner in speed skating Martina Sáblíková that he had written a letter to the president of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, asking for her to be given a wild card entry. Weeks before the start of the summer games, the athlete and her coach were stunned to learn that she was not listed among competitors who qualified for the road cycling event, apparently due to a mistaken understanding of the rules by the Czech Cycling Association. Sáblíková had been training intensively for the Rio games, assured she had qualified for a spot.