The first day of a European Union summit in Brussels saw no progress on
finding agreement on the bloc’s 2021–2027 budget, the Czech prime
minister, Andrej Babiš, told reporters on Thursday night. Four states are
rejecting proposals from European Council president Charles Michel; he
wants national contributions of 1.074 percent of gross national income but
they say they will contribute a maximum of 1.0 percent of GNI.
Mr. Babiš said if the European Council put forward budget figures that it would not have sufficient funds to cover that left a fundamental problem.
He said if the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Austria did not back down on Friday there was no point in carrying on negotiations.
Pavel Šámal has been appointed a justice of the Czech Constitutional
Court by President Miloš Zeman in a ceremony at Prague Castle. The judge,
who previously headed the Supreme Court, was approved by the Senate in a
vote at the end of last month. His appointment means that the
Constitutional Court is now complete after over a year.
The president said on Thursday that he believed Justice Šámal’s appointment would help make the country’s highest court more dynamic.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to visit Prague in the first half of
this year, meaning during the current Czech presidency of the Visegrad
Four, iHned.cz said on Thursday. The news site reported that the German
leader had been invited to a summit of Visegrad Four prime ministers and
would most likely come to the Czech capital in May.
Chancellor Merkel’s last visit to the Czech Republic was in October 2018, shortly before events marking the centenary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia.
Police have charged three people with fraud amounting to over CZK 1
billion. Using the company name J. O. Investment, the accused offered to
invest clients’ money on international stock exchanges and to deliver
very high returns.
Officers from the police’s organised crime unit said more than 2,000 people were allegedly duped by the three, who now face up to 10 years in jail of found guilty of serious fraud.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and his ANO party colleague Finance Minister
Alena Schillerová are the two of the most popular politicians in the
country, suggests an opinion poll released on Thursday. The STEM survey of
ministers and party leaders indicates that 50 percent of Czechs view Mr.
Babiš favourably, while Ms. Schillerová’s approval rating has climbed
to 47 percent.
The next most popular lower house politicians are the Social Democrats’ Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Jana Maláčová, on 41 percent approval, and Pirates’ chairman Ivan Bartoš on 40 percent.
The state attorney’s office has charged two people in connection with the
collapse of a foot bridge in Prague. The architect of the bridge in the
city’s Troja area and a former head of the bridges section at the state
agency that manages communications are facing charges of reckless
negligence, the Czech News Agency reported.
Four people were injured, two of them seriously, when the bridge collapsed into the Vltava River in late 2017.
Prosecutors say steel ropes on the structure were damaged by corrosion and that it crumpled following an inadequate safety review and poorly executed repairs.
Footballer Václav Kadlec is to retire at the age of 27 due to a series of
serious injuries, Sparta Prague announced on Thursday. The striker is due
to undergo another knee operation on Friday and does not plan to return to
the game afterwards, his club said.
Kadlec made his league debut at 16 and at 18 years and four months became the youngest player to score for the Czech national side. Alongside separate spells at Sparta, he appeared for Eintracht Frankfurt and the Danish side Midtjylland.
Opponents of the freshly appointed Czech ombudsman, Stanislav Křeček,
attempted to prevent him entering his office in Brno for the first time on
Thursday morning. When the protesters refused to move the police made seven
arrests and cleared the way for the new public advocate.
Responding to the protest, Mr. Křeček said democratic elections must be respected, adding that at least it highlighted the presence of the Ombudsman’s Office, of which many people had previously been unaware.
Prior to his election as public advocate Mr. Křeček angered critics by saying he would serve the majority society and would not pursue a human rights agenda.
Prague City Hall is asking Prague residents to report Airbnb flats to
municipal police officers and any connected problems, the Daily
Hospodářské noviny reports. If the property owner is not registered with
a Trade Certificate, he may be liable to a fine of up to CZK 1 million.
City Hall has been trying for some time to get Airbnb to share the details
on the owners of the flats who are believed to often avoid paying tax for
renting out their properties.
Airbnb is one of the short-term letting platforms active in Prague, which has come under heavy scrutiny in recent years. Critics say that such platforms have moved from the original idea of a shared economy to a purely business venture, with up to 15,000 flats in Prague being rented out for this purpose, blocking flats for long-term rent as well as often causing unease for local residents who have to deal with loud tourists.