Czech news in brief for April 18: Thursday's top headlines

Ukraine could receive Czech-sourced ammo by June, Citizen Portal mobile app to launch today, and the govt. approves regulation of crypto-asset market. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 18.04.2024 09:06:00 (updated on 18.04.2024) Reading time: 3 minutes

TOWNS AND CITIES Žatec named Czech historical town of 2023

The Czech Historic City of 2023 award has been awarded to Žatec in the Ústí nad Labem region, in part due to its restoration of monuments funded by the Ministry of Culture. Mayor Radim Laibl accepted the accolade, along with a CZK 1 million reward for monument upkeep.  Žatec’s hops-based landscape also became a UNESCO World Heritage Site last year.

The competition, organized by the Association of Historical Settlements of Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia, honors outstanding urban heritage preservation efforts supported by the Ministry of Culture's subsidies.

POLITICS Interior minister defends EU migration pact

Interior Minister Vít Rakušan said today that the EU migration pact, to be discussed at an extraordinary Chamber of Deputies meeting soon, is not perfect but provides a basis for further measures. Rakušan believes it is an improvement from the current lack of precise rules on information sharing and return policy.

 Opposition leader Andrej Babiš has criticized the pact, calling it a betrayal by Prime Minister Petr Fiala and Rakušan. Babiš has also described the agreement as "insane and monstrous," claiming it includes hidden quotas and commits to accepting African and Asian migrants.

ECONOmY Czechia's GDP as share of whole EU increases

The Czech Republic's share of the EU’s GDP has increased from 1.1 percent in 2004 to 1.8 percent last year. This growth was due to the country's above-average economic growth, particularly in the first years of EU membership, when it averaged 5.3 percent per year.

During the financial crisis, the Czech Republic experienced a decrease in GDP of 0.3 percent per year, compared to the EU's average of 0.2 percent. However, after the crisis, the Czech Republic's GDP grew by 3.7 percent per year.

real estate Rent ticks up marginally in Prague

Deloitte's Rent Index reported a 1-percent increase in average rent prices in the Czech Republic's first quarter, reaching CZK 295 per square meter. The largest increase was seen in Olomouc and Hradec Králové.

Brno, Central Bohemia, and Zlín also saw the next-highest increases, while prices dropped in Karlovy Vary, Liberec, and Jihlava. Prague has the highest prices at CZK 400 per square meter, with the most significant increase in Prague 7. Prague 1 had the highest rent, at CZK 469 per square meter.

Aid Ukraine could receive Czech-sourced ammo by June

Following talks in NATO headquarters Wednesday, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala announced that Ukraine might receive its first ammunition outside the European Union by June. During discussions, NATO leaders, including Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, emphasized Ukraine’s need for more robust air defenses.

Fiala highlighted the critical support Ukraine requires, urging NATO members to prioritize aid. Efforts to secure ammunition involve cooperation between Czechia, Denmark, and the Netherlands, with pledges totaling millions of euros.

Tech Citizen Portal mobile app to launch today

The Digital and Information Agency will officially debut the new Citizen Portal mobile app today. Available on the App Store and Google Play, it grants access to over 600 state services previously accessible only via the web. The launch was briefly delayed for app placement approvals. Jakub Neščivera, Deputy Prime Minister’s office, highlights the app’s convenience, offering digital access to various services, including tax filing and record requests.

Sanctions Senate asks govt to ban Chinese forced labor goods

The Czech Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs urged government backing for an EU ban on goods from Chinese forced labor camps Wednesday. Committee head Pavel Fischer emphasized the need for companies operating in the EU to certify their products are not linked to slave labor. The Senate also called for sanctioning Chinese officials and firms involved in Uyghur repression and labor abuse. This motion follows a public hearing revealing harrowing accounts of Uyghur mistreatment, including forced sterilization and torture.

Economy Govt approves regulation of crypto-asset market

The Czech government has greenlighted the Digital Finance Act, empowering the Czech National Bank to oversee the crypto-asset market. Deputy Prime Minister Vít Rakušan said that the move aims to safeguard consumers. Minister of Finance Zbyněk Stanjura underscored the necessity of legislation amid growing investments in crypto-assets. Influenced by the impending MiCA EU regulation, the law mandates issuer obligations and CNB supervision, with fines of up to CZK 50 million for violations. Enforcement will align with EU standards, effective from June 30 onwards.

Money Czech man wins second-tier Eurojackpot prize

A Prague resident secured the second-tier Eurojackpot prize, netting CZK 129,349,298. Martin Brabec of Sazka lauded it as the Czech Republic’s fourth-largest Eurojackpot win and the twelfth-highest overall. The winning combination—35, 36, 37, 41, and 48 from the first draw, and 9 and 12 from the second—led to the win. While the jackpot remains unclaimed, soaring to CZK 3 billion, two others from Central and South Bohemian regions snagged prizes.

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