Czech news for March 17: Pavel finishes up Poland state visit

Top headlines for the Czech Republic for Friday, March 17, 2023, updated daily to keep you up to speed. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 17.03.2023 08:30:00 (updated on 17.03.2023) Reading time: 4 minutes

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Pavel praises Poland and Slovakia donation of jets to Ukraine

Czech President Petr Pavel this afternoon praised Poland and Slovakia’s recent decision to supply some of their fighter jets to Kyiv, while saying he believed that Ukraine can win the war against Russia. Earlier today, the Slovak government approved the issuance of 13 MiG-29 aircraft to the war-stricken country. 

Polish President Andrzej Duda also said Thursday that Poland would provide Ukraine with four of the supersonic jets. Pavel said this type of aircraft was the “optimal” choice for Ukraine.

sport Czech national volleyball squads get unlucky Olympic draws

Both the Czech men’s and women’s national volleyball teams will play the current reigning Olympic champions during qualification matches for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. The men’s team will face reigning champions Italy in its group, whereas Czechia’s women will come against Serbia, who won in the previous Olympics. Matches will be played in September and October this year. The men’s squad is ranked 22nd second in the world, and the women’s team is 18th.

EVENT Police shoot dead violent man in Central Bohemia airport

Czech police announced today that they shot dead a 45-year-old Czech male who had been vandalizing buildings with a metal bar in Central Bohemia late Thursday night. The man entered a small airport in the area, where he caused substantial damage to planes and helicopters. He failed to heed calls to drop his weapon – police subsequently attempted to diffuse the situation with tear gas and tasers. After still posing a threat, police shot the man. He received medical attention immediately, though was unable to be saved. The man’s motives are not fully clear.

diplomacy Pavel meets with Polish PM

President Petr Pavel earlier today met with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki to discuss current relations in the Visegrád Group, energy security, aid to Ukraine, and cross-border transport projects. Pavel commented that Czech-Polish relations were probably the strongest they have been in over 1,000 years. During his visit to Poland, Pavel received a rare samizdat postage stamp, issued during the communist-era regime to mark the secret distribution of literature banned by the state.

LAW Court maintains ruling on former forestry administration head

The Central Bohemian Regional Court on Thursday upheld its decision to fine former head of the Lány Forestry Administration Miloš Balák. According to authorities, Balák manipulated public procurements by signing contracts that cost the state at least CZK 1.3 million. Prosecutors say that, due to Balák’s actions, stone mined from the forest was sold substantially below market price. Former President Miloš Zeman had pardoned Balák in March 2022. The former forest head describes the case as a fabricated political process.

TOURISM Czechia increases revenue from tourism

According to the CzechTourism agency, Czechia made CZK 118 billion from tourists in 2022 – a year-on-year increase of CZK 51 billion. Total revenue was lower than the 2019 figure, however, which stood at CZK 167 billion. As per the organization’s findings, Ukrainian, German, and Polish tourists together contributed the most to Czechia’s tourism industry. Last year, the average spending per person, per day by foreign tourists – including accommodation and food – was about CZK 1,900.

LEGISLATION Most Czechs disagree with pension change – survey

A survey by NMS Market Research has found that the majority of Czechs are against a new law that will change monthly pension payments. Fifty-five percent of respondents said that they disapproved of the government’s decision to increase the pension payments by CZK 760 per month – rather than the previously proposed CZK 1,770. Six in 10 young people approved of the change, whereas just 18 percent of those over the age of 65 approved of the new law, which Petr Pavel signed on Thursday morning.

law European Commission to sue Czechia for lack of whistleblower protection

A spokesperson for the Court of Justice of the EU confirmed Thursday that the European Commission (EC) will sue the Czech Republic for failing to introduce rules that would protect whistleblowers. According to an EU directive made in 2019, countries in the bloc should by now have updated their national legislation that would safeguard whistleblowers from sanctions or punishments – the deadline for doing this was at the end of 2021. The EC plans to impose a fine on Czechia, which will increase every day until the country adheres to the EU law.

EDUCATION University humanities teachers plan strike due to pay dispute

Many university lecturers from arts and humanities faculties nationwide have announced that they will go on strike on March 28 – known as “Teachers’ Day” in Czechia – if the government fails to respond to their wage-related demands, according to academic representatives. According to the Ministry of Education, negotiations will soon commence. Academics have recently drawn attention to the growing disparity in funding for primary and secondary schools compared with universities. Teachers are calling for more money to be sent from the state to universities.

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