The Czech Ministry of Agriculture has sent documents to the European
Commission pertaining to subsidies received by the Agrofert conglomerate. A
ministry spokesperson told the Czech News Agency that European Commission
auditors would visit Prague to investigate suspected conflict of interest
involving Prime Minister Andrej Babiš later this month. The former owner
placed Agrofert in trust funds; however, critics say they are under Mr.
The European Parliament voted last month to suspend subsidies to Agrofert until the matter is cleared up.
Mr. Babiš is facing criminal charges in the Czech Republic of EU subsidy fraud over CZK 50 million received by a hotel and conference centre near Prague that previously belonged to Agrofert. He denies any wrongdoing.
Supermarket chains in the Czech Republic have to keep providing certain
unsold goods to food banks free of charge. The Constitutional Court on
Wednesday rejected a motion from a group of senators to have the obligation
Twenty-five senators took the matter to the court in 2016, saying that the provision represented an infringement of ownership rights. They also argued against fines of up to CZK 10 million for failing to hand over such goods to food banks.
The items in question may have damaged packaging or incorrect markings but are safe to consume. They are distributed by NGOs.
A municipal fireworks show in Prague on New Year’s Day referenced the
fact that this year the Czech Republic will be marking the 30th anniversary
of the Velvet Revolution. The 11-minute display, which began at 6 pm on
Tuesday on the city’s Letná Plain, included five images meant to
represent phases on the path to freedom in 1989, the Czech News Agency
The individual parts were named Prayer, Bare Hands, Unity, Forbidden Fruit and Freedom. The show was conceived of as the story of 1989 being explained to a child by a father.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš does not rule out a cabinet reshuffle this
year, Czech Television reported. The ANO leader said he would definitely be
speaking to some ministers in the party’s minority coalition with the
The Communist Party, who support the government on key votes, are dissatisfied with the work of ANO nominee Dan Ťok as minister of transport and the Social Democrats' Tomáš Petříček as minister of foreign affairs.
Mr. Babiš told Czech Television that Mr. Ťok needed to get tougher and deliver results, adding that he would also get tougher.
Social Democrats leader Jan Hamáček says he is opposed to any of the junior coalition partner’s ministers being replaced.
Fifth seed Karolína Plíšková has reached the fourth round at the
Brisbane International tournament. The Czech advanced after overcoming her
compatriot Marie Bouzková, a wild card in the tournament, 7-5 6-2.
By contrast, Petra Kvitová crashed out of her first tournament of 2019 in the second round. She lost in Brisbane to fourth seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia 5-7 6-7.
Conditions in the Czech manufacturing industry further worsened in December
as measured by the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), according to IHS
The PMI dropped in December to 49.7 points, its lowest level since July 2016, and below the 50-point threshold between growth and decline.
The drop was due not only to weaker production growth, but also a decline in new orders. Companies saw a significant decline in export orders in December, the fastest in nearly ten years, IHS Markit economist Sian Jones said.
Weaker confidence among goods producers towards future output stems to a large degree from a slowdown in the wider automotive sector, he said.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has confirmed that he will seek re-election as
chairman of ANO, the centre-right party which he founded in 2011.
In an interview with Czech Television that aired on Tuesday evening, Babiš also said he fully backs ANO deputy chairman Jaroslav Faltýnek. He did not rule out a cabinet reshuffle in the coming months but declined to comment on the work of any particular minister.
ANO is due to hold its national party congress in February during which members will vote on leadership positions.
At ANO’s last national congress in February 2017, Babiš, then finance minister, easily defended his post, enjoying the support of 195 of 210 delegates present.
Babiš and Faltýnek have consistently been ranked the country’s most popular politicians in polls of eligible voters over the past six months.
A CVVM poll released just ahead of the Christmas holiday break suggests ANO would have won elections in December with 33.5 percent of the vote.
Czech stocks fell 9 percent in 2018 according to the main PX index of the
Prague Stock Exchange, with the biggest drop coming in December. By
comparison, the aggregate index of European stock exchanges (Stoxx Europe
600) depreciated around 14 percent.
According to the news site Novinky.cz, the most profitable titles listed on the Prague bourse were software company Avast, which rose 16 percent since its May debut, and state-controlled utility ČEZ, which added 8 percent; appreciation for investors, taking into account a dividend payment, exceeded 13 percent.
The biggest loser on the Prague exchange was regional media group CME, whose shares lost 38 percent of their value. The poor performance of flagship Czech station Nova TV was a major factor.
Soft-drinks maker Kofola also ended down over 30 percent despite improved earnings. The decline was primarily related to the departure of a Polish minority shareholder and pressure associated with the sale of his shares under accelerated subscription, Novinky.cz reported.
In his New Year's speech, Senate chairman Jaroslav Kubera (ODS) has
called on Czechs to show more grace, humility and respect for the work of
others, as well as to have greater confidence in their own abilities.
Kubera, the second-highest constitutional official, expressed his view that the state should be as uninvolved in the private lives of the people as possible, so that freedom flows naturally, while calling on Czechs to take to heart the “live and let live” ethos.
He spoke against efforts by lawmakers to “over-regulate” citizens, whether that be by imposing bans on smoking or on consuming a small amount of alcohol before cycling. Kubera also criticized the new EU privacy rules (GDPR) and tendencies to erase differences between men and women.