Czech daily news roundup: Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Controversy erupts over US military base proposal, accusations of Roma discrimination at refugee center, ministers confirm Czech commitment to Green Deal. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 12.04.2022 09:21:00 (updated on 12.04.2022) Reading time: 3 minutes

11:15 Babiš told to apologize to Senator over 'psychopath' claim

Former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has been ordered to apologize to Pirate Party senator Lukáš Wagenknecht over his repeated description of Wagenknecht as a "psychopath" and part of an organized plot to destroy him politically. Babiš's lawyer confirmed that the ANO party leader will appeal against today's verdict from the Prague-West District Court.

11:05 Fiala calls US military base a 'nice wish', not a firm plan

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala this morning described the proposal to establish a permanent U.S. military presence in the Czech Republic as a "nice wish," but not an item high on the national list of priorities. Fiala stressed that no real negotiations on this topic are yet underway with the U.S. authorities. The possible establishment of a permanent presence for U.S. troops on Czech land was suggested by Defense Minister Jana Černochová in an interview on Saturday, and has met with considerable controversy.

Army Controversy erupts over US military base proposal

Andrej Babiš has expressed his opposition to the idea of a new military base for the U.S. Army in the Czech Republic. Babiš said the best solution would be to hold a referendum on the issue after Defense Minister Jana Černochová raised the possibility of a new U.S. base on Saturday.

Černochová has attracted criticism for statements to Deník N that after Easter, she will meet her U.S. counterpart to discuss the possibility of establishing a permanent U.S. presence in Czechia. The Biden administration appears to have been taken by surprise by Černochová’s statement, refusing to commit to firm discussions about a military base despite the open invitation from the Czech government.

Refugees Accusations of Roma discrimination at refugee center

The server has reported an instance of alleged segregation and racism at a Ukrainian refugee processing center in Ostrava. It’s claimed Romani refugees were separated from non-Romani refugees and taken into a different area marked off by tape and upturned tables. They were not allowed to leave the space.

The Governor of the Moravian-Silesian region, Ivo Vondrák, accused the Romani refugees of theft. But local police refuted the allegation and said they have yet to deal with any incidents of theft at the refugee center.

Environment Czechia committed to Green Deal, confirms minister

Environment Minister Anna Hubáčková said the Czech Republic is not going to back out of the EU's Green Deal and its Fit For 55 climate goals. Speaking to her Austrian counterpart Leonore Gewessler, she discussed sky-rocketing energy and fuel prices caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The EU is now trying to reduce its energy dependency on Moscow, which could entail a temporary increase in domestic fossil fuel production, including coal mining, according to Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Marian Jurečka. Austria is ahead of the Czech Republic in many environmental issues, such as a lower dependency on fossil fuels including natural gas.

Politics C5 Foreign Ministers meet near Prague

The Foreign Ministers of five Central European countries are meeting today at the Štiřín chateau near Prague. The ministers will discuss the war in Ukraine and its international repercussions. Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský called the meeting in keeping with the Czech Republic's leading role in supplying arms and humanitarian aid to Ukraine since the war began.

The C5 group consists of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, and Slovenia. It was established as a regional forum in response to the Covid pandemic, and last met six months ago in Vienna.

Economy Vast majority of Czechs fear rising inflation

A survey by Generali Investments CEE conducted from March 11 to 15 among 1,050 Czech respondents found that 95 percent of the country is worried about the effects of inflation on their finances. The survey took place before new figures were announced yesterday showing an even greater increase in inflation.

Year-on-year inflation in March reached 12.7 percent. The survey conducted in March found that three-quarters of Czechs have already changed the way in which they think about their finances and their savings, though only one-fifth have started to invest more as a result of the economic downturn.

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