Czech news in brief for June 11: Tuesday's top headlines

House could discuss tightening of gun law today, Škoda Group's sales soared last year, and Karlovy Vary film fest to show Kafka retrospective.

Expats.cz Staff ČTK

Written by Expats.cz StaffČTK Published on 11.06.2024 08:45:00 (updated on 11.06.2024) Reading time: 3 minutes

international relations Czech ForMin emphasizes support for Ukraine

During a conference on the reconstruction of Ukraine in Berlin, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský stated that the Czech Republic's main focus in aiding Ukraine is on restoring areas near the front lines, with a focus on energy, water purification, and healthcare. In an interview, government representative Tomáš Kopečný highlighted the Czech Republic's unique approach of conducting reconstruction projects as close to the front lines as possible, helping to prevent depopulation by Russia. Lipavský also mentioned three areas of non-military aid: energy, water treatment, and healthcare. 

diplomacy B9 summit fails to reach consensus on key topics

Czech President Petr Pavel reported to Czech media that the Bucharest Nine (B9) summit, which includes nine Central and East European NATO countries, could not reach a consensus on a new NATO chief or issue a joint declaration. The main issue was Hungary's opposition to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte's candidacy and general support for Ukraine. Pavel stated that while there is a majority consensus on Rutte, some countries have a different idea, but he expects a full consensus to be reached by the upcoming ministerial meeting.

COMPANIES Czech TV at risk of lay-offs if new fee unapproved

Czech Television CEO Jan Souček announced this afternoon that if legislators do not approve an increase in the state television license fee to CZK 150, Czech Television will lay off 350 employees next year. The media amendments, which include raising the fee by CZK 15 and expanding the group of taxpayers, are expected to be approved by the government this month. In preparation for both scenarios, the budget for next year includes a reduction in employees and original programming. 

MILITARY Czechia sends Ukraine more bridge rigs

The Czech Republic has sent five heavy bridge rigs to Ukraine as humanitarian aid, in response to Russian aggression. Czech firefighters from the Hlucin fire department are transporting the rigs this week, along with accompanying vehicles. The first part of the shipment was loaded on Monday and transported to a warehouse in Poland on Tuesday. The rest will be transported over the next two days. This action was authorized by a government resolution in February 2022.

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Politics Elected MEP: ANO has always supported Ukraine

The ANO movement has always supported Ukraine and will continue to do so, newly elected MEP Jaroslav Bžoch told ČTK. ANO secured seven of Czechia’s 21 European Parliament seats. Other Czech parties, including TOP 09, STAN, and the Pirates, also reaffirmed their commitment to aiding Ukraine. Communist and SPD representatives, However, called for peace talks. The Pirates’ Marketa Gregorová noted challenges ahead due to rising nationalism in the EP.

legislation House could discuss tightening of gun law today

The House may conclude initial debates today on mandating weapon and ammunition sellers to report suspicious purchases. This follows a fatal December mass shooting at Charles University’s Faculty of Arts. Also on the agenda is the status of freelance artists for state support, simplifying state real-estate transfers, increasing regional tax shares, and introducing nursing allowances for the self-employed. The session will also address the controversial proposal for postal voting for Czechs abroad, with discussions likely extending into next week.

Diplomacy Czech president arrives in Riga for summit

Czech President Petr Pavel arrived in Riga for the Bucharest Format (B9) summit, set for Tuesday. He will meet Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda to discuss defense and trade. The B9 includes Bulgaria, Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia. The summit will address NATO’s future strategy, support for Ukraine, and the upcoming Washington NATO summit. Pavel will also visit Czech soldiers at the Adazi military base.

Economy Škoda Group's sales soared last year

Škoda Group's sales soared by 81% to €1.382 billion (CZK 33.18 billion) last year, despite operating profit EBITDA dropping 57% to €21.8 million (CZK 523 million) due to COVID-19 and the Ukraine conflict. The company delivered 400 vehicles, an 88% increase. CEO Petr Novotný emphasized organizational changes and capacity boosts. Key contracts include trams for Prague and trains for Finland. Škoda plans to maintain stable orders and EBITDA, investing €85 million in R&D last year.

Culture Karlovy Vary film fest to show Kafka retrospective

From June 28 to July 6, the Karlovy Vary Film Festival will feature a retrospective on Franz Kafka and premiere the documentary Janžurka. The Kafka selection includes 13 feature films, four medium-length, and five shorts, exploring his work’s themes of movement and transformation. The documentary Janžurka, about actress Iva Janžurová, will be presented by Janžurová and her daughter, director Theodora Remundová. Oscar-winning actor Geoffrey Rush will be a jury member for the main competition.

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