Czech morning news in brief: top headlines for May 25, 2021

Czech Republic closer to four-day work week, EU summit to discuss green future, summer coming slowly with chilly end of May predicted. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 25.05.2021 09:57:00 (updated on 25.05.2021) Reading time: 4 minutes

Czech health minister resigns amid property scrutiny

Petr Arenberger, the Czech Health Minister embroiled in media scrutiny due to property irregularities, is leaving office -- and will likely be replaced by former Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtěch who Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has nominated for head of the department. Arenberger faced criticism for withholding information about his property. According to Babiš, the minister has decided to resign due to pressure on the family. Arenberger was appointed Minister by Minister Miloš Zeman on April 7; his predecessor Jan Blatný, who was dismissed in April, was in office for just five months. Vojtěch unexpectedly resigned in September 2020 following a spike in COVID-19 cases in the country. Babiš said that Vojtěch's appointment has yet to be discussed with President Miloš Zeman.

EU voices solidarity with Czech Republic in feud with Russia

EU leaders expressed solidarity with the Czech Republic in its diplomatic dispute with Russia at an EU summit and supported the Czech reaction in a collective resolution Monday night. The diplomatic rift between the Czech Republic and Russia flared up some two weeks ago. There was a well-founded suspicion that Russia's GRU secret intelligence service agents were involved in the Vrbetice ammunition-depot blasts in 2014, in which two Czechs were killed. Russia has denied the allegations. The incident led to the bilateral expulsion of Czech and Russian Russian diplomats. The summit condemned "the illegal, proactive and disruptive Russian actions against the EU." It also said the EU will insist on its previous approach to Russia, which is a combination of pressure on the observance of international law and cooperation in the spheres of joint interest. Collective expulsion of diplomats as a sign of solidarity with the Czech Republic was not on the agenda. The more than two-hour debate on relations with Russia took place ten days after Moscow blacklisted the Czech Republic as an unfriendly country. ČTK

EU leaders meets today to decide on who will pay for green transition

European Union leaders will meet on Tuesday to debate the bloc’s shift to a low-carbon future and who will foot the bill. The EU’s executive Commission is due to publish an extensive set of climate policy proposals in July, including carbon market reforms and tougher carbon dioxide standards for cars. All policies will need approval from its 27 member states. Leaders will discuss on Tuesday how to meet the new EU target agreed last month to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, against 1990 levels. The previous target was 40%. Poland and the Czech Republic want a larger EU modernization fund given to poorer countries for clean energy investments. A Czech official said the share of CO2 permits set aside for the fund must be “increased substantially” to help poorer states meet climate targets. Euractiv

Labor Minister: Czech Republic must prepare for 4-day work week

Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Jana Maláčová has a plan to reduce working hours in the Czech Republic saying that Czechs could enjoy longer weekends until the end of this decade. "By 2030, we must prepare for the fact that we will have to introduce a four-day working week," she told CNN Prima News. While Maláčová said shortening the working week is out of the question now, it will be a key topic for the coming years. The minister cited low wages in the Czech Republic in the European context as the need for a shorter work week. Czechs are among the most developed countries within the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The average Czech works about 300 hours more per year than the average Austrian, and even 400 hours more than the average German. With eight hours of working time, this means that Czechs spend fifty working days more at work than Germans. At the same time, they receive about half the wages (in terms of purchasing power parity) than their western neighbors. CNN Prima

Temps to remain below 20°C this week; June not much warmer

This week the temperatures in the Czech Republic will probably not cross 20° while the turn of May to June should see slight warming according to the monthly forecast published Monday by the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (CHMI) From today until June 20, this week will likely be the coldest. On Tuesdays, daytime temperatures will only reach between 12 and 16 degrees. In the following days, they will rise, but by the end of the week, they will probably reach a maximum of 19 degrees. While temperatures will gradually rise, CHMI meteorologists do not anticipate extreme heat, predicting that in the coming weeks the average weekly temperatures will gradually increase, but will remain close to the limit of below-average and average temperatures for this time of year. Extreme winds are also predicted for Western Bohemia this week. ČTK

Smartwings resumes flights to Tel Aviv Wednesday

Airline company Smartwings is planning to resume flights to Tel Aviv, Israel, as of May 26, if the security situation permits, reports Travel Daily News. Scheduled flights between Prague and Tel Aviv will be operated twice a week (Wednesday and Saturday), with frequency expected to increase incrementally by July to two flights a day, seven days a week. The current flight schedule offers departures from Prague to Tel Aviv on Wednesday and Saturday at 23:00. Flights from Tel Aviv to Prague will depart on Thursday and Sunday at 04:50. Resumption of air traffic is conditional on applicable travel restrictions imposed by the respective countries in association with the health situation. During the summer season, Smartwings will operate flights not only from Czech airports but also from its hubs in Poland, France, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Canary Islands.

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