The 2019 Arnošt Lustig Award, founded in honour of the late Czech writer
by the Czech-Israeli Chamber of Commerce, was presented to General Karel
Řehka at a special ceremony in Prague on Thursday. General Řehka heads
the NATO Multinational Division North East based in Elbląg.The award is
given in recognition of exceptional courage, bravery, humanity and justice.
The general, who in the past headed the country’s special forces, said he was greatly honoured to have been selected, adding that he considered the award to be a recognition of all soldiers of his generation serving their country.
Police President Jan Švejdar has said he considers cooperation between the
Pirate Party and an officer from the National Centre Against Organized
Crime absolutely unacceptable.
In a statement on Twitter the police president said that if it were confirmed that Jan Šmíd, a member of this special force, had cooperated with the Pirate Party he would be sacked.
The ruling ANO Party which brought attention to the alleged close cooperation between Šmíd and the Pirate Party, expressed concern regarding possible information leaks and asked the Security Committee of the Chamber of Deputies to look into the matter.
The committee is due to meet on May 21st.
Communist Party deputy-chair Kateřina Konečná, who heads the party
ticket in the European elections, has said she will file a criminal
complaint against the head of the Freedom and Direct Democracy Party, Tomio
Okamura for allegedly spreading lies in the party’s election campaign.
The Communist Party’s MEP said she would provide further details at a
press briefing on Friday.
Konečná recently wrote on Facebook that Okamura was lying when he told voters that the Communist Party’s MEPs had voted in favour of admitting migrants from Africa to the Czech Republic.
Czech top officials have publicly distanced themselves from Communist Party
MP Zdeňek Ondráček’s visit to the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s
Republic this week. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš told journalists on
Thursday that the visit was not in accordance with Czech foreign policy.
His statement came a day after Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček
critisized Mr. Ondráček’s visit on Twitter, saying his actions were
shameful and damaging to the Czech Republic.
The Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chamber of Deputies met for a special session to debate the matter on Thurday, distancing itself from the visit and emphasizing that the Czech Republic does not recognize the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic and considers it a part of Ukraine.
Mr. Ondráček insists his trip was “private", but a video shows him being welcomed by the leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic in what looks like an official ceremony.
There is no alternative to EU membership for the Czech Republic and the
country is not looking for any alternate options, Czech Foreign Minister
Tomáš Petřícek stressed at an international conference at Černín
Palace marking 15 years of Czech membership in the EU.
Minister Petříček said there was more to EU membership than just economic interests, emphasizing that by joining the alliance the Czech Republic had joined a community of nations sharing the same democratic values.
EU Justice Commissioner Věra Jourová said the Czech Republic had greatly benefitted from EU membership and stressed that EU decisions were based on a broad consensus, so that no country left the negotiating table with a sense of defeat.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš called for EU reform, stressing the need to strengthen the role of individual member states.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš met with representatives of Nestlé, Unilever
and other multi-national food retailers to discuss the issue of dual food
quality on Thursday morning. According to the Czech News Agency, there is
information that these retailers make it impossible for Czech traders to
purchase better-quality food made for West European markets. Speaking after
the meeting, Mr. Babiš said that this allegation was dismissed by the
retailers, who stated that differences in their product composition were a
consequence of the specific tastes customers have in each country.
The issue of dual-quality revolves around allegations that food companies are supplying lower quality versions of the same product for markets located in Central and Eastern Europe, as opposed to Western markets.
Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Tomáš Petříček has reacted to the
visit of Communist Party MP Zdeněk Ondráček to the Donbas region of
Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists, saying he was
“embarrassing the Czech Republic”. Mr. Ondráček is depicted on a
video published by DNR Online which resembles an official state visit. He
is welcomed with various other Russia-friendly state delegates by the
leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic, which the Czech Republic does
Mr. Petříček highlighted that this was not an official visit. Mr. Ondráček said his trip to the area was private.
A European Commission directive which defines the maximum costs of mobile
phone calls and texts into other EU states went into effect on Wednesday.
The directive has forced Czech telecom operators to lower their prices by
about a half to CZK 5,80 per minute, with some operators taking their
prices even lower.
The price limits are a continuation of the EC’s 2017 policy to end roaming charges and is a part of the union’s revision of telecommunications regulation.
Hearings in the infringement cases against the Czech Republic, Poland and
Hungary started to take place at the European Court of Justice on
Wednesday. The European Commission is asking the court to confirm that the
three countries failed to meet requirements regarding the temporary
programme of dividing asylum applicants located in Italy and Greece
according to assigned union quota following the 2015 migrant crisis.
Commission representative Zuzana Malůšková said a judgment in favour of the EC would confirm the principles of the rule of law in the European Union. The countries which stand accused say they did not fulfil the quota requirements because of the need to maintain order and security in their countries. They also say that the program did not work.