Czech daily news roundup: Thursday, April 21, 2022

Sberbank's license is being revoked, construction starts on Prague's Metro D line, and Prague plans major US defense cooperation. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 21.04.2022 09:53:00 (updated on 21.04.2022) Reading time: 5 minutes

16:00 Czech Foreign Minister to attend Albright's funeral

Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský and Czech Senate leader Miloš Vystrčil will attend the funeral of the former U.S. Secretary of State with Czech roots Madeleine Albright in Washington next week. The funeral will take place on April 27 at the National Cathedral in Washington. While in Washington, Lipavský will meet current U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Lipavský will also speak at the Center for European Policy Analysis and the Atlantic Council analytical institute.

15:02 Czechia has third-highest inflation in the EU

Year-on-year inflation in the European Union hit a record 7.8 percent in March, increasing from 6.2 percent in February. European statistical office Eurostat released the figures today. The Czech Republic has the third-highest inflation in the EU by Eurostat's calculations, at 11.9 percent. Inflation throughout the eurozone is meanwhile far above the European Central Bank's 2 percent target. The highest inflation in the EU was recorded in Lithuania, where consumer prices rose 15.6 percent year-on-year. Estonia was second with inflation of 14.8 percent. The lowest inflation was recorded in Malta, France and Portugal.

14:22 Czech government requests EU financial aid

The Czech Republic and eight other countries severely affected by the Ukrainian refugee crisis will ask the European Commission for financial assistance, according to Minister for Regional Development Ivan Bartoš. By the end of April, they will present a proposal containing 14 measures intended to address the pressing needs of each separate country. The proposal was prepared jointly by the Visegrád Four countries (Czechia, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary) together with Bulgaria, Romania and the Baltic states.

14:15 Guarantee system for Sberbank kicks in

The financial market's guarantee system will start paying out compensation for institutional clients with deposits in Sberbank CZ, which has seen its banking license revoked by the Czech National Bank. Compensation for institutional clients will be paid out through the Komerční banka network from Friday. The institutional clients who can claim compensation from tomorrow are payment service institutions, small-scale payment service providers, e-money institutions, securities dealers and others.

12:22 Okamura must apologize for migrant comments

Freedom and Direct Democracy party leader Tomio Okamura must issue a public apology to two Christian Democrat MEPs, Tomáš Zdechovský and Pavel Svoboda, for making untrue claims about them related to migrants. Okamura claimed the two Czech MEPs voted for the EU to impose sanctions on the Czech Republic to refusing to accept migrants. The head of a court panel said the statement "was clearly untrue, a lie." Okamura must post the apology on his Facebook profile within a month of the verdict taking effect.

12:15 Afghan mission was good for Czech army, says ambassador

The Czech army's deployment in Afghanistan was very food for the Czech military as soldiers were able to see the results of their training in real life. Czech ambassador to Afghanistan Jiří Baloun made the comments about the mission, saying deployment in Afghanistan also helped the army improve its logistics and planning procedures. Before becoming a diplomat, Baloun served in high posts in the Czech military. On the allies' withdrawal from Afghanistan and subsequent takeover of the country by the Taliban, Baloun said the West failed to understand the Afghan mentality.

10:00 Jurečka seeking re-election as Christian Democrat leader

Czech Labor and Social Affairs Minister Marian Jurečka will seek re-election as leader of the Christian Democratic Union Czechoslovak People's Party (KDU-ČSL) at its congress in Ostrava this weekend. The centrist party is a minority partner in the current coalition government. Jurečka currently faces no rival candidate but challengers may still emerge at the congress.

Finance Czech National Bank revokes Sberbank's license

The Czech National Bank has revoked the license of Sberbank CZ, according to the news server and Seznam Zpravy. The Russian bank can still file an appeal against the decision.

If Sberbank appeals against the revocation of its license, the case will be heard by the Appeals Commission and then by the ČNB board. The National Bank has not yet commented on the matter. The first step towards revoking Sberbank's license were taken on Feb. 28, shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. The ČNB also issued a preliminary measure to stop Sberbank handling its assets and liabilities. At the beginning of March, Sberbank announced that it was pulling out of Europe entirely.

Transport Construction starts on Prague's Metro D line

Prague's public transport company is officially starting construction on the Metro D line today, with the occasion marked by a ceremony attended by City Hall representatives. The new metro line will run from Pankrác to Písnice. Construction is starting at Pankrác.

The project should cost a total of around CZK 52 billion, and it's hoped that operations will commence in 2029. The first phase will see a line created from Pankrác to Nové Dvory, before a second phase takes the line to Písnice Depot. In the future, an additional section linking Pankrác to Nové Dvory will be added.

Military Defense Minister plans major American defense cooperation

Czech Minister of Defense Jana Černochová has said that the Czech Republic should try to ensure that soldiers have 24 fighter jets at their disposal in future, ten more than are currently available in the Czech Air Force.

The possibility of acquiring jets will be discussed during a meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin today. Other modernization projects will also be discussed, including further purchases of helicopters and tanks.

Demonstrations Protests against Russia's invasion of Ukraine held in Prague

A protest called “Stop Killing Ukrainians” will take place today at Prague's Václavské náměstí at 18.30 to commemorate the victims of war and show support to the people of Ukraine. The protest is also intended as a show of support to Russians and Belarusians fighting dictatorship in their countries.

Business Kofola launches re-usable drink bottle project

Popular soft drinks brand Kofola is launching a new project called Cirkulka, which sees Kofola, Rajec and Vinea drinks availbale in selected Tesco stores and on in returnable bottles.

These re-usable bottles will gradually be introduced to the company's entire retail range across the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Kofola decided to introduce the new packaging as part of a drive to create a circular system for the beverage industry, including the creation of durable returnable bottles and delivery crates made of recycled materials.

Prague Church on Petřin Hill vandalized with 'Z' symbol

St. Lawrence Church on Prague's Petřín Hill was vandalized yesterday with a "Z" symbol sprayed by an unknown perpetrator. The symbol was quickly cleaned off by the local priest, but other "Z" symbols also appeared elsewhere on Petřín, including on the Hunger Wall, part of the medieval defensive structure for Prague's Malá Strana.

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