Czech news for March 16: Czech snowboarder lands silver, Pavel signs pension bill

Top headlines for the Czech Republic for Thursday, March 16, 2023, updated daily to keep you up to speed. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 16.03.2023 08:30:00 (updated on 16.03.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

POLITICS Pavel announces 100-day plan

Petr Pavel this afternoon released his plan for the first 100 days of his presidency. His program centers on eight areas. One of these is changing the operations of Prague Castle – one of his aims is “revitalizing” it and opening the grounds up as much as possible to the public. He also wants to increase the level of communication between the President’s Office and the public – with a particular focus on the youth – via more regular press briefings and more online social-network activity. He also plans to have more frequent meetings with the prime minister and opposition, as well as create a team of advisers in fields such as the economy, energy, constitutional law, environmental protection, and education.

WEATHER Warm spell awaits Czechia, starting Friday

Despite the recent cold and scattered snow showers in the capital Wednesday, people in Czechia can expect a warm next few days. The Czech Hydrometeorological Institute forecasts that temperatures around the country will rise to above 10 degrees Celsius tomorrow. The weekend will bring with it warmer temperatures than Friday, with 15 degrees Celsius expected to the east of the country. This trend will continue into next week, with temperatures predicted to hover around 17 degrees Celsius next Tuesday.

DIPLOMACY Czech president begins Poland visit

President Petr Pavel will today travel to Poland to meet with Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda and other senior officials. This afternoon, Pavel will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw, which commemorates Polish soldiers who lost their lives in World War I. The trip to Poland will be Pavel's second foreign outing in his post as president after visiting Slovakia on Monday and Tuesday. He will be accompanied by his wife Eva. He also plans to meet Czechs living in Poland in front of the Czech embassy.

LAW Pavel signs pension-reform bill this morning

President Petr Pavel has this morning signed the government amendment on the re-evaluation of pensions. This means that, from June of this year, the average monthly pension will increase by CZK 760, rather than the previously declared CZK 1,770. The state is set to save almost CZK 20 billion this year alone.

The passage of this bill comes after intense debate between parties in parliament, with the opposition ANO movement and Freedom and Direct Democracy party accusing the government of “stealing from” pensioners. Pavel has asked the Constitutional Court to assess the legality of the law before it is properly implemented.

SPORTS Czech Olympian wins silver in the parallel giant slalom

After recovering from an injury, Ester Ledecká, a three-time Olympic champion, came in second place in the parallel giant slalom snowboard race in Rogla. Ledecká won the qualification and three elimination races at the World Cup in Slovenia before being beaten by Austrian Sabine Schöffmannová by five hundredths in the final duel.

Ledecká entered the season at the last moment, which was almost lost by a summer fracture of the collarbone. After two operations and a long recovery, she raced almost a year later.

ENVIRONMENT Czechia to spend almost CZK 500 million on forestry

As part of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, the Czech government confirmed at a press conference Wednesday that it will spend CZK 446 million to improve the state of Czech forests in the next four years.

The money will be sourced both from the state budget and EU subsidies. Deputy Prime Minister Marian Jurečka said that the regulation aims to improve different animals’ habitats and maintain “species-rich forests.” The government will also spend money to plant new forests across Czechia.

SPORT Czech baseball squad eyes success at Euro championships

After a strong maiden showing at the World Baseball Classic event, Czechia’s national baseball team told journalists Wednesday that they have their minds set on success at the 2023 European Baseball Championship, which the country is hosting in late September.

Czechia scored an impressive win over China – the Czechs’ first-ever international victory – in the tournament and qualified for the 2026 World Baseball Classic. Notably, the Czech squad does not play baseball for a living. The country is currently ranked 15th in the world baseball rankings.

INDUSTRY Domestic car production improves

The Czech Automotive Industry Association announced today good news for a weakened car-manufacturing sector in the country. Factories in the first two months of this year produced 26 percent more passenger cars year on year, amounting to over 215,000 cars.

Škoda Auto increased its total output by 29 percent and a Hyundai plant in Moravia-Silesia made 17 percent more cars. The car industry in Czechia has been unsteady in recent months due to a shortage of technological chips.

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