Czech daily news roundup: Friday, December 31, 2021

Consumer protection in the energy market increasing, Czechia coordinates EU presidency with France, Police seek Grinch who stole from children's home.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 31.12.2021 08:56:00 (updated on 31.12.2021) Reading time: 4 minutes

14:42 Zeman's aides fined for not wearing respirators in hospital

Participants in the Oct. 14 meeting of President Miloš Zeman and then lower house chairman Radek Vondráček at Prague's Central Military Hospital (ÚVN) were fined CYK 10,000 each for not having worn respirators there. The fine does not apply to Zeman as a patient in the hospital. The Defense Ministry has decided on the fine since the ÚVN falls under it. Along with Vondráček, Presidential Office head Vratislav Mynář and other Zeman aides attended the meeting when Zeman signed the convoking of the constituent session of the new Chamber of Deputies.

13:30 Traffic-related death rate slightly rose in 2021

There were 98,521 traffic accidents this year, claiming 466 lives, which was almost 3,873 accidents and seven more deaths, than a year ago, according to preliminary data. The final figures will be released on Jan. 7. By contrast, there was a fall in the injured participants in traffic accidents. This year, a serious injury was sustained by almost 1,600, some 200 fewer than a year ago. The number of light injuries fell by 500 to 20,329. In the mid-1990s, there were about 1,400 road traffic fatalities a year. By contrast, the traffic police in the past decade only reported a maximum of 681 deaths per year. That figure occurred in 2012.

Consumer protection in the energy market increasing

From January 1, customers in the energy market will have higher protection due to a change is brought about by the amendment to the Energy Act. For example, energy suppliers will need to inform customers of price changes. Their publication on the Internet will no longer be enough.

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An increase in the price for the supply of electricity or gas or a change in other contractual conditions must be notified by the supplier to the customer no later than 30 days in advance. If it does not do so, it cannot take effect. If the customer does not agree with the changes, he can terminate the contract without penalty no later than 10 days before it enters into force. The customer will also have the right to know exactly when the obligation under the contract expires, and the supplier will be obliged to inform him.  

Zeman to meet next agriculture minister Nekula on Monday

President Miloś Zeman will meet the candidate for the post of Agriculture Minister Zdeněk Nekula (Christian Democrats, KDU-ČSL) in the Lány presidential seat on Monday. Nekula was the only candidate not to have been appointed to the government of Prime Minister Petr Fiala in mid-December, due to the coronavirus he has caught shortly before the appointment date. The Presidential Office said before that his appointment would take place in January. The oath-taking ceremony may be held in Lany on Tuesday morning. Due to the epidemiological situation, there will be no photo session and only a limited number of reporters would be present.

Czech Republic coordinates preparations for EU presidency with France

France will assume the EU presidency on Saturday, and the Czech Republic will take it over in six months. Despite the coordinated preparations of both countries, Prague may struggle to follow up due to the French position in the EU, experts have told ČTK. France is going to boost the common defense and relax the EU budget and debt rules. It opposes international free trade agreements and it is also skeptical about the plans of the EU enlargement.

The Czech cabinet has a different view of all of these topics, but it cannot be expected that the two consecutive countries will set a completely different direction for the EU as there is a joint program that does not allow for any major deviation from the line acceptable for all EU member states.

Válek wants former Minister Kalousek on the VZP board

Health Minister Vlastimil Válek wants to nominate former Finance Minister and Chairman of TOP 09 Miroslav Kalousek to the board of directors of health insurer Všeobecná zdravotní pojišťovna (VZP). He should become vice chairman of the board. According to Válek, the deputy speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Jan Skopeček (ODS), should also be on the board.

The VZP board of directors changes regularly after the parliamentary elections according to the composition of the Chamber of Deputies. It has 30 members. Of these, 20 are elected by the Chamber of Deputies, 10 are decided by the government. The new cabinet of Petr Fiala should decide on the nominations in January.

Police seek Grtinch who stole gifts from children’s home

The case of a stolen Christmas is being investigated by the police in Pyšely in the Benešov region, according to news server iDnes. Before Christmas Day, the thief stole dozens of wrapped presents from under a tree in the children's home. The thief deprived the children of a total of 40 packages, which included toys, clothes, and electronics worth CZK 15,000. At the last minute, the staff of the home sought replacements. People also shared a call on social networks to help children. In the end, Christmas no child was left without a package. If the thief is caught, they may end up in prison for up to two years.

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