Czech energy company ČEZ has launched the conditional sale of its 7.5 percent stake in Hungarian oil and gas company MOL, the company’s spokesman Ladislav Kříž told the Czech News Agency on Thursday. ČEZ is expecting the transaction will contribute to this year’s profit by around 3.4 billion crowns. ČEZ bought the share in MOL in 2007 through its unit ČEZ MH with a plan to build joint venture gas-fired power plants in Hungary and Slovakia. Those plans were not eventually carried out.
The Czech National Bank will continue intervening against the Czech crown to keep the exchange rate at around 27 crowns per euro, the bank’s spokesman Marek Zeman said after a meeting of the bank board on Thursday. The bank will also leave interest rates unchanged at all-time lows. Speaking at a press conference after the bank board’s meeting, the head of the Czech National Bank Jiří Rusnok said the interventions could end any time after the end of March. The Czech National Bank launched currency interventions in November 2013 to head off the danger of deflation and weakened economic growth.
Czech conductor Jakub Hrůša has been appointed one of the two principal guest conductors at the London Philharmonia Orchestra, his agency IMG Artists announced on Thursday. Hrůša, along with Santtu Matias Rouvali from Finland, will take up their shared roles at the start of the 2017/18 season and will be the first conductors to hold the post since the death of Sir Charles Mackerras in 2010. Hrůša has been guest conductor at the orchestra since his debut in 2011.
Police have detained 262 foreigners who worked in the Czech Republic illegally and another 31 who illegally resided in the country, Interior Minister Milan Chovanec announced at a press conference on Thursday. He also said the deportation procedures had already started. Over 1,200 policemen, including police officers from Germany and Poland, took part in the three-day operation. They also discovered five people, who were wanted by police. Mr Chovanec said the number of detained foreigners was very high, adding that the ministry will continue to carry out similar operations in the future.
President Miloš Zeman has invited his Austrian counterpart Alexander Van der Bellen to visit the Czech Republic. In a letter to Mr van der Bellen, the Czech president said he believed they would find common interests and contribute to a successful cooperation between the Czech Republic and Austria. He would like to welcome him at Prague Castle in Spring this year. During the Austrian presidential campaign last year, Miloš Zeman openly supported Van der Bellen’s rival, the far-right candidate Norbert Hofer.
A joint tripartite meeting of Czech and Slovak representatives took place at Štiřín Castle near Prague on Thursday. Among the topics on the agenda of the government, unions and employees representatives were preparations for the European Pillar of Social Rights, the Posted Workers Directive and the digital economy. Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Michaela Marksová said after the meeting that the prepared European Pillar of Social Rights has to apply to all EU countries in order to prevent a two-speed Europe.
The number of cars without an exhaust particle filter or with a filter which is damaged increased last year by nearly 45,000 vehicles, according to data released by the Czech Roadside Assistance Organisation on Thursday. Altogether there are up to one million cars without a filter in the Czech Republic. Since 2004, all diesel vehicles are required to have a diesel particulate filter, but the owners often remove it to increase the car’s output. Recent measurements showed that concentration of dust particles on Prague’s main roads exceeded the permitted norms several fold.
A newborn boy was placed in a babybox at a clinic in Prague’s Hloubětín on Thursday morning. The founder of the Czech babybox system, Ludvík Hess, said that the little boy had been given the name Vladislav. It is the fifth child this year to be abandoned in this manner. Since the system was introduced a number of years ago, 51 children, unwanted by their parents, have been saved through babyboxes. There are currently 70 such facilities found across the Czech Republic.
The regional court in Olomouc has ruled that Bouzov castle in Moravia will remain in state ownership. The judge rejected an appeal by a German Catholic order against the Czech National Heritage Institute, which refused to hand the castle over within the church restitution process back in 2014. The court upheld the stand of the Heritage Institute which argued that the restitution law did not apply to that particular property.