The Czech prime minister designate, Andrej Babiš, says the biggest problem
facing the European Union is illegal migration. He made the comments in a
keynote address at the opening of the three-day Prague European Summit in
the Czech capital.
Mr. Babiš told delegates that problems surrounding migration had led to a rise in political extremism and sparked discord between individual states. He added that the Prague government was ready to play in a role in the fight against illegal migration.
The leader of the Social Democrats, Jan Hamáček, is due to discuss
cabinet positions with the ANO prime minister-designate Andrej Babiš on
Tuesday evening. The parties are planning to enter a minority coalition
propped up by the Communists. However, Mr. Babiš has rejected the Social
Democrats nominee for minister of foreign affairs, Miroslav Poche.
Mr. Babiš has not revealed his own party’s list of candidates for ministerial portfolios and Mr. Hamáček said he would be keen to hear those names from the ANO leader. The Social Democrats leader says he hopes to resolve the dispute over Mr. Poche within a week.
President Miloš Zeman and the Communists are also against the appointment of Mr. Poche as foreign policy chief.
The acting Czech government has approved a major overhaul of the
country’s census system. Under the changes the Czech Statistics Office
will acquire most of the data it requires about citizens from public
registers or via the internet. The remaining information will be obtained
by Czech Post.
The changes stem from rules for the next census, due in 2021, rubberstamped by the cabinet on Tuesday morning.
Whereas in 2011 Czechs had to provide 47 pieces of information in three years’ time they will be required to submit 23. Questions on religion, family status or work position may be among those removed by the time the bill becomes law.
Actors Tim Robbins and Anna Paquin and director Terry Gilliam have been
revealed as special guests at the 53rd edition of the Karlovy Vary
International Film Festival, which begins on Friday next week. They join
previously announced guests such as Barry Levinson and Richard Linklater,
who are both directors.
Terry Gilliam will introduce his latest movie The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. Tim Robbins will present Bob Roberts and Cradle Will Rock, two films he directed; the Hollywood star will also perform a concert with his band at the festival.
The acting Czech government has approved an outline state budget for 2019
and a mid-term outlook for the economy for 2020 and 2021, an Office of the
Government spokesperson told reporters. The minister of finance, Alena
Schillerová, said before Tuesday morning’s cabinet meeting that there
would be a maximum deficit of CZK 50 billion next year.
The 2019 draft budget envisages increased funding for teachers’ salaries and pensions as well as reduced social welfare benefits. Most ministries can expect more state money, except for the Ministry of Health, which is projected to take in more from health insurers.
The first quadruplets in 15 years were born in the Czech Republic last
week. The three girls and a boy – named Anežka, Monika, Klára and
Ondřej – were born at Prague’s Motol teaching hospital,
representatives said on Monday. The births went smoothly and all the babies
are reportedly doing well.
The quadruplets are the 22nd to have been born in this country since 1950. The only quintuplets ever born in the Czech Republic turned five recently.
The Czech ombudswoman, Anna Šabatová, has been presented with France’s
Legion of Honour in a ceremony at the French Embassy in Prague. The former
dissident was given the top accolade for her life-long work promoting human
rights and the rule of law.
France’s president, Emannuel Macron, bestowed the medal on Ms. Šabatová, who on Monday received it from the country’s ambassador to Prague, Roland Galharague.
She said had been honoured and gratified to get the award, which recognised that she had fought for human rights both prior to 1990 and in the present day.
The European Union’s proposed budget for the next programme period is
“absolutely unacceptable” to the Czech Republic, according to Prime
Minister Andrej Babiš. He said on Monday that the future budget was flawed
in a similar manner to the one that is currently in operation. Mr. Babiš
said the EU had dictated programmes for the 2014 to 2020 period in which
large sums were earmarked for social areas but were hard to access.
The Czech leader said his government was therefore mapping fields in which investment was required and would push for more funding for those in the period beginning 2021.
President Miloš Zeman may hold the key to resovling the situation
surrounding the Social Democrats’ nomination of Miroslav Poche for
foreign minister, according to top party members quoted by the news website
The Social Democrats insist Mr. Poche get the post, despite opposition from potential coalition partners ANO, the Communists, who would support such a government, and Mr. Zeman.
Social Democrats deputy chairman Roman Onderka said that party boss Jan Hamáček cannot replace Mr. Poche as his nomination has been approved by the leadership.
Mr. Poche is due to hold talks with President Zeman, who reportedly plans to tell him to step aside. Mr. Onderka said that meeting may shed light on a possible way forward, adding that it could lead to talks between the head of state and the leaders of ANO and the Social Democrats.