Bulgaria’s competition watchdog has fined the Czech utility ČEZ and
Austria’s EVN for breaching competition rules by discriminating against
independent traders. The Bulgarian authorities levied a combined fine of
2.3 million dollars on the two electricity distributors.
ČEZ has denied any wrongdoing and said it would appeal the decision. The Czech energy company is gradually pulling out of the Bulgarian market due to long-standing disputes with local authorities.
Prague’s Václav Havel International Airport has reported a record number
of 15 million passengers serviced this year. Last year the airport handled
13 million passengers from around the world. The airport was expanded a few
years ago to meet growing demand.
The company said on its web page that the increase was not only due to a growing number of foreign tourists for whom Prague is a safe and attractive tourist destination, but also to the growing number of Czechs travelling abroad by air.
The mayor of Liberec, Martin Půta, a number of city hall employees and
four companies cooperating on EU subsidized projects in the region have
been charged with bribery and abuse of office.Thirteen people have been
charged altogether in connection with two dubious projects.
The mayor has been charged in connection with the reconstruction of a church in Liberec. He is suspected of having accepted a bribe of several hundred thousand crowns. If convicted he could face a sentence of between five and twelve years in jail.
The majority of Czechs are dissatisfied with the post-election negotiations
and the minority government headed by Andrej Babiš, according to the
outcome of a poll conducted by the STEM agency.
Six out of ten respondents said they would have preferred a more stable alternative. Four out of ten people would have preferred a coalition with another party.
Only ANO and Communist Party supporters expressed satisfaction with the outcome.
A fourth of respondents said they would prefer early elections.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš told journalists that he had failed to
negotiate support for his minority government in the lower house.
Following Thursday’s talks with the Pirates’ Party and the Party of Freedom and Direct Democracy the prime minister said only the Communists were willing to consider the possibility of tolerating his government, all other parliamentary parties have refused to support it.
The prime minister plans to ask the lower house for a vote of confidence in his government on January 10th. Should he fail to get it, the president has promised to give him a second attempt at forming a government.
Two-thirds of Czechs believe the Chamber of Deputies should again lift the
immunity of ANO’s Andrej Babiš and Jaroslav Faltýnek so they can face
trial on charges of abuse of EU subsidies, suggests a poll conducted for
Czech Radio by the Median agency.
The pair have been called to appear before the lower house’s immunity committee on January 9, a day before the ANO government makes a first attempt to win a vote of confidence.
Mr. Babiš and Mr. Faltýnek, who deny any wrongdoing, had their parliamentary immunity lifted by the previous Chamber of Deputies. However, they regained it when they were re-elected in October.
The minister of health in the newly appointed ANO government, Adam
Vojtěch, plans to put forward an amendment on reimbursements for medical
aids within the next two months, Czech Television reported.
The changes would mean patients would have to spend less of their own money to acquire such items as wheelchairs, lenses for glasses and crutches.
The Constitutional Court ruled this year that the current system was non-transparent and unjust and rescinded part of the law as of the end of 2018. This means the Ministry of Health must put forward fresh legislation within the next 12 months.
The Czech crown jewels are due to go on show at Prague Castle next year in
connection with the 100th anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia.
The valuable artefacts will be put on display in mid-January.
Other events are also planned for Prague Castle, officials said, including an exhibition of original medieval manuscripts, priceless documents and archaeological finds connected to the beginnings of the Czech state.
Carp, the food traditionally served for Christmas dinner in the Czech
Republic, is being offered by over 2,500 registered sellers around the
country, a spokesperson for the State Veterinary Administration said on
Wednesday. That figure is 300 higher than in 2016. Large vats of carp have
already appeared in many places.
During inspections last year the State Veterinary Administration found shortcomings at around 2.5 percent of sellers, half the number for the previous year.
Fried carp is usually served with potato salad. Some people keep a live fish in their bath and kill it before dinner on Christmas Eve.