President Miloš Zeman has defended Czech participation in NATO's
Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan.
In an address to Czech ambassadors, who are assembled in Prague for their annual consultations, President Zeman said that Czech soldiers in Kabul were fighting for Prague, and their presence there was vital for the country’s national interests.He said Afghanistan was the most important foreign mission in which Czech soldiers were currently taking part.
The words came in reaction to criticism of Czech participation in the Afghan mission from some Czech parties and suggestions that the Czech Republic should withdraw its troops.
President Zeman also addressed the issue of sanctions against Russia arguing that they should not be extended in the European Council without proper debate on the issue.
State support for NGOs has been lowered by 586 million crowns as opposed to
the government’s original plan, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš told
journalists on Wednesday. There should be less money for NGOs linked to the
education sector but more for those active in the field of social services.
Overall state support for NGOs should rise year-on-year by approximately 800 million. The government is also planning lay-offs in state administration. Over 1,300 positions will be scrapped, many of which have been unfilled for some time.
The government has approved the appointment of state attorney Radim Dragoun
as head of the General Inspectorate of the Security Forces. Prime Minister
Babis should officially appoint him to office on September 1st.
Dragoun said his task would be to stabilize the force, prevent information leaks, increase trust among its members and improve communication with state attorneys.
The inspectorate’s former director Michal Murín left his post at the end of April following criticism from the prime minister.
The inspectorate investigates crimes committed by members of the police.
The Czech Outdoor advertising agency has promised to remove all its
roadside billboards by the end of September, according to Transport
Ministry spokesman Jakub Stadler.
This is in line with a 2017 law which bans advertisement billboards within 250 meters from main roads and highways for safety reasons.
The legislation met with strong opposition from outdoor advertising operators some of whom attempted to bypass it by replacing advertisements with gigantic Czech flags and other non-commercial posters.
According to the ministry close to a thousand billboards still have to be dismantled.
Prague City hall has announced a 1.2 billion crown tender on the renovation
of the Průmyslový Palác building on the city’s main fairgrounds. The
left wing of the building was badly damaged by fire in 2008.
In view of the building’s historic value the renovation work will be a copy of the original and will be supervised by conservationists. The building, which dates back to 1891, underwent a major reconstruction in the 1950s. Reconstruction work on the building should start next year.
Prime Minister Andrej Babis is likely to visit Great Britain at the end of
October, for talks on bilateral relations post-Brexit, the Czech
Republic’s ambassador to London, Libor Sečka told the ctk news agency.
If the visit goes ahead as planned, the prime minister would hold talks with his British counterpart Theresa May and attend a concert of the Czech Philharmonic held on the occasion of the centenary of Czechoslovakia.
The Czech embassy in London is running a successful project called Czech Republic 100 within which it is presenting Czech achievements in different fields, such as medicine and nanotechnology.
Coalition parties ANO and the Social Democrats have come to an agreement on
raising public sector salaries next year. The chairman of the latter
grouping, Jan Hamáček, told journalists that the Ministry of Finance had
agreed to considerably higher increases than originally proposed.
The Social Democrats leader refused to reveal the precise figure involved but other senior party members indicated that it would be around 10 percent. For their part, ANO ministers would only say that they continued to favour salary increases.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has put forward a new decree that
would raise the minimum wage in the Czech Republic by over 12 percent. The
previously announced change would see the minimum wage climb by CZK 1,500
to CZK 13,700.
The amendment to the Labour Code, which has been posted on the Czech government website, also envisages tying growth of the minimum wage to average salary increases from the year 2020.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs is headed by Jana Maláčová of the Social Democrats.
The Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, held talks with his Italian
counterpart, Giuseppe Conte, in Rome on Tuesday. The pair discussed the
protection of the European Union’s external borders, cooperation with
third countries and migrant return policies, the Czech Office of the
Mr. Babiš and his host also spoke about the European Union’s relations with Russia and the US, as well as bilateral cooperation.
In July the Czech leader agreed to visit Rome after Mr. Conte sent an open letter in response to Mr. Babiš’s refusal of an Italian request to take in 450 migrants.