The open-air festival Rock for People gets underway on Thursday at the
former military airfield near Hradec Králové in east Bohemia. Among the
headliners this year are the British bands Manic Street Preachers, Franz
Ferdinand and Bring Me the Horizon.
Now in its 25th year, Rock for People is one of the biggest music events of its kind in the Czech Republic, with over 100 bands, musicians and DJs performing over the course of the next three days.
The Czech weather office has extended a fire warning to the whole of the Czech Republic, in reaction to especially dry conditions in the coming days. In line with the warning, people should refrain from building campfires, smoking or heating meals on portable cookers out in the open. According to the weekly weather forecast, there should only be scattered showers in the coming days, with daytime temperatures hovering around 25 degrees Celsius. The fire warning has been issued for an indefinite period for all of the country’s regions.
President Miloš Zeman has not made any final decision concerning the
replacement of Culture Minister Antonín Staněk, Prime Minister Andrej
Babiš said after a meeting at Lány Chateau on Thursday. Mr Babiš and
Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamáček met with the head of state with the aim
to resolve the dispute that could bring down the government.
Mr. Hamáček, leader of the Social Democrats, has threatened to walk out of the ruling coalition unless the president complies with his party’s request to remove Antonín Staněk from the post of culture minister and replace him with the party’s nominee Michal Šmarda. The president has so far refused to do so, despite the fact that the prime minister officially requested the minister’s dismissal over a month ago.
While Mr Babiš repeated that he would seek a compromise in the dispute in order to preserve the ruling coalition, Mr Hamáček said he would call a special meeting of the party leadership on July 15 to discuss the party’s possible exit from the government. Meanwhile, the president said he would meet with Mr. Hamáček and the culture minister on July 12 to try to reconcile them.
Culture Minister Antonín Staněk stepped down in mid-May after mounting pressure following his dismissal of the director of the National Gallery in Prague, Jiří Fajt, and the head of Olomouc’s Museum of Art, Michal Soukup, accusing them of improper management.
The traditional pilgrimage festival marking the legacy of Saints Cyril and
Methodius, Greek missionaries who brought Christianity to the Czech lands,
gets underway at Velehrad in South Moravia on Thursday.
The event, called the People of Goodwill Days, includes a number of cultural events, lectures and is traditionally attended by tens of thousands of believers. The celebrations will be launched in the evening with a charity concert and will culminate on Friday with a national pilgrimage and a celebratory mass.
Two Czech MEPs have been elected deputy chairpersons of the European
parliament. Dita Charanzová (44) of the ANO party is a member of the
Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe political group. Before being
elected to the European Parliament in 2014 as an independent, she worked in
the Czech diplomatic service for over a decade. In the past election term,
she was a deputy chairwoman of the Committee on the Internal Market and
Marcel Kolaja is a newcomer to the European Parliament, serving as an MEP for the Pirate Party since the 2019 election. Mr. Kolaja, who is 39, is a computer expert working with free software and the copyright and is a member of the Greens group. As an MEP, he wants to focus on the digital agenda, IT and consumer rights.
Italian MEP David-Maria Sassoli became the President of the European
Parliament in the second round of the vote. Czech MEP Jan Zahradil of the
Civic Democrats, a candidate of the European Conservatives and Reformists
(ECR) group, finished a distant second.
Zahradil’s loss means that Central and Eastern Europe lost its theoretical chance to gain one of the top EU posts for the next five-year term. Still, Mr Zahradil said after the vote that he regarded the result a success, considering that the conservative ECR group only has 52 MEPs.
The election of the 14 vice-presidents was due to take place on Wednesday afternoon, with Czech MEP Dita Charanzová of the ANO party, a member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) political group, running for one of the posts.
The Czech political scene is divided over the nomination of German defence
minister Ursula von der Leyen for European Commission president. While
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš hailed the nomination as a great success
for the Visegrad Four group, opposition Pirate Party chairman Ivan Bartoš
said the vote had side-lined democratically nominated candidates. He also
criticised Mrs von der Leyen for not trying to appeal to voters beyond
Civic Democrat chairman Petr Fiala has welcomed the choice of the German minister over the Dutch socialist Frans Timmermans. He also expressed his hope that under her leadership, the European Union would be less activist and listen more closely to the individual EU member states.
Czech tennis player Karolína Plíšková has advanced to the third round
of the Wimbledon singles main draw after beating Puerto Rican and 2016
Olympic gold medallist Monica Puig 6-0, 6-4.
Karolína Muchová has also advanced to the third round of the women’s singles, after defeating Madison Brengle of the U.S: 6-3, 6-4. In the men’s singles, Jiří Veselý defeated Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay 4-6, 7-6, 6-4.
The European Union should be more flexible in allocating money to member
states and should take their individual needs into greater account, Czech
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and his Maltese counterpart, Joseph Muscat,
agreed at a meeting in Prague on Wednesday.
Mr Babiš said that it was important for the Czech Republic to have its own say on how to use the EU funding it receives.
The two politicians also welcomed the outcome of the EU summit and expressed the hope that the European Parliament will confirm the nomination of Ursula von der Leyen as the European Commission president.