Transport Minister Dan Ťok will have to convince colleagues in government that he did everything in his power to end dependency on Austrian firm Kapsch which operates the country’s lorry toll system, the Minister for Regional Development Karla Šlechtová said on Friday. The contract with the operator runs out in 2016 and Minister Ťok is seeking a three-year contract extension, during which a tender for a new operator would be prepared and held. The government is to discuss the proposal at the Monday cabinet meeting. Prolonging the contract, worth six billion crowns, was not recommended by a commission on public tenders and information technology.
The country’s new National Centre for combatting organized crime will be headed by Michal Mazánek – a long-serving police official who was the only candidate to apply in a tender for the job. He will take up the post on August 1 – the same day the streamlining of two police units – against organized crime and anticorruption - are due to merge. The reorganization of the police led recently to a serious rift among parties in government. Mazánek has served for most of his career in the region of Central Bohemia, which included heading the homicide squad.
The head of the Czech FA Miroslav Pelta has indicated that he would like football manager Karel Jarolím to take up the post of national team coach following the departure of Pavel Vrba. Jarolím currently manages Mladá Boleslav. The FA head said that Jarolím was the only coach he had spoken with so far and that the manager had also expressed an interest. In past seasons under the coach, Mladá Boleslav finished third and fourth twice.
Goalkeeper Petr Čech, who plays for London club Arsenal, announced his retirement from international football for his country on Friday. The 34-year-old made the announcement at a press conference and called his decision final. Čech played for the national squad for some 14 years and had 124 caps. He was named goalkeeper of the tournament at Euro 2004, where the Czech Republic reached the semi-final but were knocked out in extra time by a silver goal from Greece.
The management of mining company OKD, in bankruptcy, has assured employees they will receive full wages on time for the month of June. Payment is to be made next week. The company, mining hard coal, is suffering a shortfall in finances, owing some 17 billion crowns to at least 650 creditors. Company assets, are valued at less than seven billion. The CEO Dale Ekmark has warned that the situation will grow critical in July and that the company needs reorganization and a loan.
French President Francois Hollande will travel to Prague on a working visit on July 20, when he will meet at Prague Castle with the Czech head of state Miloš Zeman. The news was confirmed on Friday by the president’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček. The Czech president similarly met with President Hollande in Paris in September 2014. Mr Hollande defeated his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy in French presidential elections in 2012; he has not announced whether he will run again in 2017.
A top advisor at the country’s Foreign Ministry, Petr Drulák, has reportedly handed notice and will be stepping down from his post at the end of August; the daily Právo published the story on Friday, citing information from two separate sources. There is speculation that Mr Drulák and the foreign minister, Lubomír Zaorálek, were increasingly at odds over foreign policy issues. One of the sources told Právo that the outgoing aide also served as a speechwriter for the foreign minister, saying a replacement would have to be found.
Czech athlete Adam Sebastian Helcelet won a silver medal in the decathlon at the European Championship in Amsterdam on Thursday. Helcelet ended up with a final score of 8157 points, 61 points behind Belgian Thomas van der Plaetsen, who took gold. Another Czech to take silver was javelin thrower Vítězslav Veselý, who secured the medal with a throw of 83.59 metres.
Industrial production accelerated in May, achieving year-on-year growth of 8.6 percent, which is the highest figure since June 2015. In April, industrial production climbed by 4.2 percent. The main factor fuelling the output increase was higher production of cars. The growth in the construction sector, by contrast, slowed to 4.3 percent from April’s 13.7, which is the worst result since March 2013.