Czech Interior Ministry offers EU, Italy money, experts and police to help solve migrant crisis The Czech Interior Ministry has said the Czech Republic is ready to provide 800,000 euros in support of EU activities in Libya aimed at curbing the flow of migrants to the EU as well as send experts and police officers to help deal with the problem of illegal migrants in Italy. Interior Minister Milan Chovanec outlined the proposal in a letter to his Italian counterpart Marc Minniti saying that the practice of detentions had worked well in the Czech Republic and could be successfully applied in Italy as well. Minniti earlier called on EU member states to help ease Italy's situation. The Czech Republic has repeatedly stressed that it is ready to help out with money, experts and police officers but remains strongly opposed to the redistribution of refugees based on mandatory quotas.
Socially-challenged parents who have a problem paying for their children’s school lunches can file a request for subsidies as of July at labour offices around the country, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs announced on Friday. The project, now in its fifth year, is supported by European funds and will cover ten thousand schools around the country. Past years have shown that the social behaviour and grades of socially-challenged children improve rapidly once they start eating lunch with their classmates.
A Prague court has rejected a request for compensation from former dissident and Charter 77 signatory Petr Hanzlík who was persecuted by the communist secret police and one of the victims of Asanace, an infamous clearance campaign aimed at getting opponents of the regime to emigrate. Hanzlík sued the Interior Ministry asking for 12 million in compensation for the property he was forced to leave behind and 700,000 for loss of pension. The court ruled that the statute of limitations on communist crimes had expired. Hanzlík’s lawyer has said his client would appeal the case.
Czech Railways is hosting an international conference of rail operators in Prague. Among the company representatives present are CEOs from Deutsche Bahn, France’s SNCF or the Russian RZD. The aim is to debate improvements in international rail transport and work on creating faster rail links between East and West. The Czech Republic’s present priorities are to improve rail links with Austria and Germany. Security in rail transport is also high on the agenda.
The Czech state veterinary authorities have now confirmed twenty-two cases of African swine fever in wild boar. The first incidence of the disease, which does not affect humans, appeared at the end of last month. Special monitoring of the wild boar population has been introduced and farmers have been asked to take heightened precautions. If domesticated pigs catch the disease they have to be put down and cordons placed around the farms in question.
Lower house of parliament speaker Jan Hamáček highlighted the Czech commitment to boost defense spending to 1.4 percent of GDP by 2020 and further increase it afterwards in response to US President Donald Trump’s Warsaw speech. Trump, while underlining Washington’s support for the NATO principle of common defense, also stressed that many NATO members are way below the 2.0 percent of GDP NATO target. The Czech Republic currently spends slightly over 1.0 of GDP on defense. Hamáček, who was representing the Czech Republic at the Three Seas Initiative, said on his Twitter account that he talked with Trump about energy security and also raised the future of the EU-US trade deal, TTIP, with him.
The Czech Republic on Thursday marked the 602nd anniversary of the burning at stake of reformer priest Jan Hus with numerous events highlighting his legacy. Masses were celebrated around the country, among others in Jan Hus’ birthplace Husinec and at Bethlehem chapel in Prague, where the reformer priest preached. The chapel had a new bell cast in Hus’ memory on the 600th anniversary of his martyr’s death at the stake and a special installation was unveiled on the side wall of the chapel –a sign reading For the Truth which can only be seen in sunny weather –a reminder of the fact that the truth is sometimes hidden. The events linked to the anniversary included theatre performances, debates, music concerts and film screenings dedicated to the reformer priest.
A European Parliament building in Strasbourg has been named after the late Czech president, dissident and playwright Václav Havel. A bronze bust of the first Czech president was unveiled at the entrance to the building in the presence of Havel’s wife Dagmar and the head of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani. Visitors were also able to view an exhibition of photos of Václav Havel taken by Tomki Němec. The main conference room in the building is furnished with a tapestry by Czech artist Petr Sís.
Thousands of people descended on the Velehrad pilgrimage site to attend celebrations marking the 1153th anniversary of the arrival of Saints Cyril and Methodius to Great Moravia to spread the Christian faith and lay the foundations of literacy with the Glagolitic alphabet. The celebrations opened on Tuesday evening with a charity concert within the Days of People of Goodwill. On Wednesday they culminated with a divine mass at the Velehrad Basilica celebrated by Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet. The events at Velehrad this year include an exhibition of Byzantine icons by Bulgarian artist Stefka Nikolova, lectures and public debates.