The Czech Republic could sign up to an Austrian protest against the imposition of tolls on German motorways. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said Wednesday that Prague could join a protest already lodged with the European Court of Justice by Austria if the terms of the German toll prove discriminatory against foreigners. The toll, likely to be introduced in 2018 or 2019, allows Germans to recoup the charges based on tax reductions, suggesting that it solely or mainly targets foreign drivers. The German government backed the proposed move Wednesday and it is likely to win approval in parliament.
The European figure skating championships start in the Czech Republic’s third city, Ostrava, on Wednesday. One hundred and sixth-six competitors from 33 countries will be taking part in the various competitions until Sunday. The Czech Republic is represented across the board but the biggest hope of a medal lies with Michal Březina who already won a bronze medal in the European figure skating competition in 2013. It’s the first time the championship has come to Ostrava.
The number of cars on Czech roads climbed last year by around 210,000 to 5.37 million. That’s more one car for every two citizens. In spite of that, the average age of cars also rose to fourteen-and-a-half years. The ageing of the Czech car fleet has been a constant since 2007 in spite of high recent sales of new cars. Czechs’ favourite car is the Škoda Auto with 1.82 million of its cars on the road with the second choice usually being a Volkswagen with just over 458,000 registered.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has called a meeting with parliamentary party leaders during the second half of February to fine tune the Czech negotiating position within the European Union over Brexit. Sobotka made the announcement Wednesday on Twitter. He has already declared that his aim was to seek the widest possible agreement on the Czech stand with government and opposition parties. Britain is expected to trigger the two year negotiating period over Brexit in March. British prime minister Theresa May last week spelled out that London would seek a so-called “hard Brexit” by not remaining within the single market and accepting EU demands over the freedom of movement and labour.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has suggested that the Czech Republic should do more to increase the uptake of electric cars following the recent smog problem across most of the country. He said that European funds could be pumped to help encourage the purchase and use of electric cars. He pointed out that the lack of a dense network of charging stations was one of the main problems and added that government ministries themselves could do more to boost their use of clean transport. A smog warning still applies in some parts of the country.
The Czech Republic has slid down the 2016 world corruption perception ranking put together by watchdog Transparency International (TI). The perception of the corruption in the country worsened with the Czech Republic falling 10 places to 47th out of the 176 states surveyed. Transparency International’s local director said many laws aimed at tackling corruption were stalled or deformed so that they were blunted. And he warned that powerful interest groups were “capturing” the state and influencing legislation and key decisions.
Czech tennis players Lucie Šafářová and Andrea Hlaváčková will face each over the net in the Australian Open women’s finals. Andrea Hlaváčková, playing alongside Peng Shuaj of China, booked her place in Friday’s final by beating the top seeded French pairing of Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic 7:6, 6:2. Šafářová and US player Bethanie Mattek-Sands earlier won their place in the final in a three set battle.
The Czech Republic is one of the states with the lowest per capita number of asylum applications in the European Union, according to an international study conducted in the third quarter of last year by Eurostat and quoted by the Czech News Agency. While the EU average was 702 asylum requests per million residents, in the Czech Republic the number was only 28. Eurostat said that almost 1.28 million people had applied for asylum in the EU between the start of October 2015 and the end of September 2016. Only 1,265 of those requests were made in the Czech Republic.
Karolína Plíšková has been knocked out of tennis’s Australian Open. The Czech lost 4-6 6-3 4-6 to Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia in the quarter-finals of the first Grand Slam tournament of the year on Wednesday. However after reaching the last eight in Melbourne for the first time, Plíšková, who is 24, will now climb to third in the world rankings, her highest ever placing.