Czech news in brief for November 27: Monday's top headlines

Iconic Havel jacket auctioned for CZK 2.76 million, first heavy snowfall of winter season hits most of Czechia, and more headlines. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 27.11.2023 08:30:00 (updated on 27.11.2023) Reading time: 7 minutes

local Prague municipalities to receive CZK 6.66 billion for 2024

Prague's municipal districts will receive over CZK 6.66 billion from the municipality for their operation next year, increasing their funding by CZK 1.3 billion compared to the previous year. Revenues for 2024 are estimated at CZK 105.8 billion, with expenditures at 109.4 billion CZK, covered by funds from previous years.

City districts' share of shared taxes is estimated at CZK 8.34 billion, with CZK 6.66 billion allocated to town halls and project financing. The budget also includes a special-purpose investment reserve of half a billion CZK, as well as funds for state administration, gambling revenues, and the participatory budget.

banking Komerční banka will pay creditors of Sberbank CZ

Komerční banka, with experience in paying compensation from the Guarantee Fund, announced that it will pay the majority of Sberbank CZ's creditors. Payments will be made in Czech crowns through cashless transfers to bank accounts maintained in the Czech Republic.

The payment of CZK 57 billion to approximately 16,000 creditors was approved by the Municipal Court in Prague, allowing all creditor groups to receive 95 percent of their claims within two months.

IT Czech Citizen's portal reaches one million users

The Czech Citizen's Portal, an electronic platform for state services, has seen a two-thirds increase in active users, reaching nearly one million in the past year. Deputy Prime Minister for Digitalization Ivan Bartoš announced that the portal's design and user interface have been revamped to improve user experience.

With over 600 state services available, the portal aims to attract 1.5 million users by June 2022 through an information campaign. The Citizen's Portal, launched in 2018, allows citizens to access various services, including tax filings, criminal record extracts, and driver's point system forms.

media Slovak newspaper criticizes Fico's visit to Czechia

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico's recent visit to the Czech Republic was described as hostile, impolite, and propagandistic by the Slovak newspaper Sme. Fico criticized his predecessors and current Czech politicians during his trip, which was seen as audacious by the paper. The article also highlighted the positive relationships between the presidents of both countries and the previous cooperation between Fiala and former Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger.

Fico's meetings with various Czech figures demonstrated his intentions to restore relations between the two countries. The newspaper concluded that Fico's behavior reinforced stereotypes about Slovakia's smallness and allowed the Czechs to feel more mature and advanced.

economy Czech standard of living at 91 percent of EU average

The standard of living in the Czech Republic slightly decreased last year, with GDP per capita reaching 91 percent of the European Union average, according to data from the Czech Statistical Office. However, the Czech Republic has the highest standard of living among the Visegrad Group countries. Meanwhile, Bulgaria has the lowest GDP per capita in the EU, while Luxembourg has the highest.

Among countries that joined the EU in the last two decades, the Czech Republic is in fourth place, with Malta having the highest standard of living. The Czech economy grew by 2.4 percent last year. The country also has the lowest unemployment rate at 2.2 percent.

international V4, Austrian and German ministers talk migration in Szeged

The problem of illegal migration requires a European solution, according to Czech Minister of the Interior Vít Rakušan. Today, ministers from the Visegrad Group countries (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary) are meeting in Szeged, Hungary, with Austrian Minister of the Interior Gerhard Karner and Federal Minister of the Interior and Community of Germany Nancy Faeser to discuss better protection of the EU's external border.

Rakušan emphasized the need for a pan-European approach to migration and highlighted the importance of coordination. Central European countries have implemented temporary border controls to manage the influx of migrants, and today's meeting will focus on addressing these challenges.

Education Nationwide school strike begins in Czechia today

A nationwide warning strike disrupted classes across the Czech Republic today as unions estimate 70 percent of primary, secondary, and kindergarten schools will participate to varying degrees. Some schools have closed while others operate with limited services. Education Minister Mikuláš Bek apologized that parents and children have been "held hostage" in the dispute but said proposed changes won't degrade education quality and aim to ensure long-term, sustainable staffing.

The unions seek more education funding and oppose a regulated teaching-hour reduction, saying it will lower quality. They also want to avert salary drops for non-teaching personnel. University faculties and students have voiced support through brief walkouts and a Prague rally. Negotiations continue to end the strike.

Economy Russian gas flowing to Czechia once again

Russian natural gas started flowing into the Czech Republic again in October according to Industry Minister Jozef Síkela. Imports from January to October totaled 79.6 million cubic meters or 1.2 percent of supply. Traders' identities are confidential. Data from Lanžhot station on the Slovak border shows gas no longer exiting but entering the Czech Republic at up to 100-gigawatt hours daily, suggesting 40 percent of imports could originate from Russia.

While some EU nations still rely on Russian gas, its import isn't sanctioned. However, Síkela would consider informing consumers about suppliers that purchase Russian fuel. National restrictions or continued EU coordination are under debate.

Business will no longer allow file sharing Disk, a popular Czech cloud storage service, will limit what files users can download from Dec. 1 in response to new European legislation. Going forward, users will only be able access files that they personally uploaded to the service.

The Digital Services Act aims to make tech companies more responsible for content on their platforms. The changes will end public sharing of music, movies and software but users can keep files already in their storage.

Art Iconic Havel jacket auctioned for CZK 2.76 million

Václav Havel's iconic green jacket, worn during pivotal moments in 1989 during the Velvet Revolution, was auctioned in Prague for CZK 2.76 million on Sunday, far surpassing its CZK 200,000 starting bid. The jacket, featured in historical photos, was accompanied by a handwritten text from Havel dated February 21, 1989.

Two paintings by Havel from the 1950s were also auctioned, raising funds for the reconstruction of Lucerna Palace. The authenticity of Havel's artwork was verified by the Trinity Art Research Institute. Havel, a playwright and the first president of the independent Czech Republic, also had a lesser-known talent for visual arts.

Weather First heavy snowfall of winter season hits most of Czechia

The first heavy snowfall of the winter season blanketed most of the Czech Republic over the weekend, with snow covering much of the territory. According to the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute, there are varying accumulations, ranging from 20 to 30 centimeters in mountainous areas to up to 60 centimeters in the Krkonoše mountains.

In the Liberec region, road officials closed a third-class road for trucks over six tons due to snow, urging caution. Prague's road workers were active over the weekend during efforts to keep major roads clear, while complications affected some bus routes. The snowfall also impacted roads in the Hradec Králové, Pardubice, and Liberec regions.

Economy Chamber of Deputies set to approve 2024 state budget

The Czech Chamber of Deputies is set to approve the draft state budget for 2024 next week, featuring a 252 billion crown deficit, a decrease of CZK 43 billion from the previous year. The regular session will extend from Tuesday afternoon to Thursday, with additional meetings addressing energy prices and a proposal to revoke controversial doctors' overtime regulations.

The governing coalition, holding the majority, is likely to secure approval for the budget. Opposition attempts to reallocate over CZK 200 billion within the budget may face challenges. Following parliamentary approval, President Petr Pavel will sign the budget into law.

Money Study: Czech wage growth lags behind Eastern Europe

A study by financial company Orbi has revealed that the net incomes of people in the Czech Republic have grown over the last ten years, with the median net income rising by more than half between 2013 and 2022. However, most Eastern European countries are closing the income gap with developed European nations more rapidly.

Romania has experienced the fastest growth, although from a low base. Estonia also saw significant income growth, surpassing the Czech Republic. The study highlights persistent disparities in median wages between men and women and notes a recent decline in real wages due to high inflation.

Science Czech Space Week kicks off with workshop on analog space missions

The Czech Space Week space festival kicked off over the weekend with a workshop on analog missions in Brno. Attendees can explore an extreme space conditions simulation and visit potential training locations like the Výpustek cave. Analog missions aid in testing instruments, spacesuits, and studying biological and psychological processes.

The Czech Republic's engagement in analog missions is growing, involving start-ups, universities, and research teams. A presentation from Masaryk University showcased a real-time stress measurement method using a modified vest for astronauts, with applications in professions requiring flawless performance under stress.

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