The Prague Municipal Council has rejected a proposed discount on public
transport for students aged 15-26. The author of the proposal, Deputy Mayor
Petr Dolínek, suggested students be offered annual passes for 365 crowns,
roughly equivalent to 1.2 euros a month, to encourage them to use trams,
buses and the metro more often.
Other city councillors argued that Prague could ill afford losing an estimated 300 million crowns in annual revenue. As a compromise, students will be allowed to pay for annual passes, which as of January will cost 1,200 crowns, in monthly instalments.
Former political prisoner František Suchý has died at the age of 91. As a
teenager Mr. Suchý helped his cremator father keep clandestine records of
the names of people executed by the Nazis and the Communists. The pair also
hid the ashes of many victims of those regimes.
In later years Mr. Suchý was sentenced to 25 years in a communist jail for aiding a people smuggler working with the US intelligence services. Last year he received a Memory of Nations award recognising his resistance to totalitarianism.
The Czech prime minister designate, Andrej Babiš of ANO, is hoping that
President Miloš Zeman will come to the lower house in person to support
his second attempt to form a government, Czech Television reported. Mr.
Babiš’s planned government should undergo a confidence vote in the
Chamber of Deputies on July 11.
The outcome of such a vote will depend on whether the membership of the Social Democrats opts to enter a minority coalition with ANO that would be backed during crucial votes by the Communists. The result of the Social Democrats’ ballot is due on Friday.
Mr. Babiš said Mr. Zeman had expressed interest in attending the lower house confidence vote, which would precede a NATO summit he is set to attend later that day.
Czechs regard the 1989 Velvet Revolution as the highlight of their
nation’s greatest moment since the foundation of Czechoslovakia a century
ago, while for the Slovaks their proudest hour was the Slovak National
Uprising in 1944. That is according to parallel opinion polls conducted in
both states and published on Tuesday.
Some 72 percent of Czechs polled rated the revolution as the “most positive” moment of the last century. By contrast, Slovaks placed the events of 1989 third among great moments since 1918, behind the Slovak National Uprising and the establishment of independent Slovakia.
The opposition Christian Democrats plan to call on the government to drop a
plan to reduce housing benefits for those on social welfare during a lower
house session on Thursday. The party have been joined in their petition by
the Pirates, TOP 09 and the Mayors and Independents.
The Christian Democrats’ Jan Čižinský said the Ministry of Labour proposal was targeted at the poorest in Czech society. He said cutting such benefits would lead to people being forced to leave their apartments and live in shelters.
The Social Democrats, who seem headed for a coalition with the Ministry of Health-helming ANO, say they are against such a debate but still have objections to the proposal.
The Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, says he regards a meeting on
Tuesday between the leaders of the United States and North Korea
positively. Mr. Babiš told reporters that he hoped the summit between
Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un in Singapore would produce results and remove
the risk of war in the region.
Prime Minister Babiš said it would be a great success if North Korea gave up its nuclear weapons. He said it was a pity that similar conflicts had not been resolved in the past and that Western states had attempted to bring about regime change by force rather than negotiation.
The population of the Czech Republic climbed slightly in the first quarter
of this year to reach just over 10,613,000, according to official figures
released on Tuesday. The population at the end of March was around 3,300
higher than at the end of 2017.
The growth has been attributed to immigration, in particular from Ukraine and Slovakia.
Deaths outnumbered births in the first three months of 2018, though both were down by several hundred on the previous quarter.
The Czech National Bank will introduce stricter rules for the provision of
mortgage loans in October. Under the change, mortgage holders should not be
allowed to spend more than 45 percent of their monthly income on
The central bank’s restrictions are not legally binding but are generally followed by banks.
Tuesday’s announcement comes against a backdrop of growing concerns that a shock to the economy could lead to widespread defaults on mortgages.
Property prices in the Czech Republic grew by an average of 16 percent
through most of 2017, the highest rate in the whole of the European Union.
The figure stems from a Financial Stability Report issued by the Czech
National Bank on Tuesday.
The central bank said that Czech apartments were overvalued by around 14 percent at the end of last year and warned that the figure was rising.
Officials said the conditions for a spiraling of the difference between property prices and the cost of loans remained in place. The Czech National Bank has identified this as the greatest risk to domestic financial stability since 2016.