Czech news for March 31: Czech National Bank reports massive losses, Czechia unveils 'digital wallet'

Top headlines for the Czech Republic on Friday, March 31, 2023, updated daily to keep you up to speed. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 31.03.2023 08:00:00 (updated on 01.04.2023) Reading time: 5 minutes

Newsletters sign-up

geopolitics Czechia's foreign minister open to Bucharest Nine expansion

Following a meeting of foreign ministers from the Bucharest Nine (B9) geopolitical group in Poland, Minister of Foreign Affairs Jan Lipavský has said he is open to the group’s expansion. Should Finland and Sweden join NATO – this is looking imminent for the former – Czechia would be open to both countries joining the B9, Lipavský said in Łódź this afternoon.

In addition to Czechia, the B9 – formed in 2015 – also includes Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia. As well as discussing the Ukraine-Russia war, ministers also made preparations for the NATO summit this July.

SOCIETY Czech senator's Roma-segregation comment faces backlash

Czech politicians and Roma organizations in Czechia have criticized anti-Roma comments by Senator Jana Zwyrtek Hamplová, who Thursday said that schools could create separate classes for Roma children to help them learn. The Romea non-governmental organization has called the senator’s statements unacceptable and unethical.

Interior Minister Vít Rakušan said that Hamplová’s comments were “pure racism.” The Czech Republic has in the past been repeatedly criticized by international organizations and institutions for the segregation of Roma children in schools. 

ENIVORNMENT City tests Czechia's first ever electric articulated bus

The city of Hradec Králové is testing a new type of articulated (split in two) electric bus, which will be in operation until the beginning of May. It is the first city in the whole country to test this type of electric bus.

The range of the articulated electric bus is about 350 kilometers. The city’s transport company has several years of experience in operating electric buses, and now operates 22 such buses on five routes.

EVENT Prague nightclub fire causes around CZK 100,000 in damages

A “technical fault” was found to be the cause of a fire on the premises of a large nightclub in Prague’s Wenceslas Square. Duplex nightclub called firefighters before midnight – around 350 partygoers were evacuated. Wiring in an air-conditioning unit caught fire, causing the minor blaze. No casualties were reported. 


Apartment for rent, 2+1 - 1 bedroom, 63m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 2+1 - 1 bedroom, 63m2

Okořská, Praha 8 - Čimice

Apartment for sale, 3+kk - 2 bedrooms, 79m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for sale, 3+kk - 2 bedrooms, 79m2

Platanová, Benátky nad Jizerou - Benátky nad Jizerou II

Apartment for rent, 2+1 - 1 bedroom, 75m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 2+1 - 1 bedroom, 75m2

Jankovcova, Praha 7 - Holešovice

According to the spokesperson for Prague’s fire department Martin Kavka, “drunk tourists” complicated the intervention of the fire brigade. Office equipment, plastering, and painting of walls and ceilings were destroyed in the fire. Window frames and doors were also damaged. Total damage is estimated at around CZK 100,000, CNN Prima writes.

economy Czech National Bank reports loss of over CZK 400 billion in 2022

The Czech National Bank has revealed in its annual financial statement that it made a loss of CZK 412 billion in 2022 – this is a preliminary finding. This was mainly caused by a drop in the value of fixed-rate bonds and higher interest paid to Czech domestic banks. 

This is the second loss annual loss in a row – the Covid-affected 2021 saw a much lower deficit of CZK 38 billion. 

health Czechia in talks with South Korea to source medicine

According to Czechia’s Deputy Health Minister, Czechia will attempt to source antibiotics from South Korea in the near future. This comes amid ongoing shortages in some types of medicine in Czechia, such as penicillin.

The country is currently negotiating with five Korean manufacturers before the signing of any contracts. The medicines will need to be approved by the Czech State Institute for Drugs Control. Czechia presently depends on China for a lot of its drugs. South Korea is one of the biggest foreign investors in Czechia.

FILM Danish doc wins Czech 'One World' festival

"Apolonia, Apolonia," a documentary about French painter Apolonia Sokol by Danish director Lea Glob has won the One World festival of human rights. The festival, held in 28 Czech towns by the People in Need NGO, also awarded other films such as "We Will Not Fade Away," "Strangers to Peace," "The Visitors," and "Kuciak: The Killing of Journalist."

A total of 75 feature documentaries and ten virtual reality films were presented. The festival included a newly introduced category called One World Interactively, which was won by the virtual reality project On the Morning You Wake. The Abakus Foundation Audience Award for Exceptional Discussion was also granted for the first time this year.

Health Scarlet fever cases quadruple in Czechia

The number of scarlet fever cases in Prague is currently four times higher than usual, with 141 cases recorded from January to March alone. Children under nine are the most affected group, and hygienists recommend an increased level of cleaning and disinfection of surfaces.

Children with symptoms of the disease should not attend nurseries and schools. This year's season of respiratory infections has also seen an increase in all respiratory diseases among children, with the peak reached before Christmas, earlier than usual. The hygiene station reminds the public to take necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the disease.

society Digital wallet could replace identity cards starting next year

The first major project of the Digital and Information Agency, which will start managing the digitization of the state in April, is a digital wallet, or eDokladovka, which will replace plastic identity cards as a means to identify people.

The responsibilities of the digital and information agency will include the administration and operation of basic registers, data boxes, Czech POINT contact points, and the operation of public administration as well as citizen portals. 

Prague Firefighters put out tram fire at Karlovo náměstí

Tram traffic around Karlovo náměstí ground to a halt between 1:25 and 2:15 p.m. Thursday due to a fire that broke out in the ceiling of a tram car, iDnes reports. The incident did not result in any injuries.

The responsibilities of the digital and information agency will include the administration and operation of basic registers, data boxes, Czech POINT contact points, and the operation of public administration as well as citizen portals. 

Defense Czech Senate greenlights military deployments

The Czech Senate gave the green light to the deployment of two dozen army instructors to Niger, where they will instruct and advise the country's defense capacities until the end of 2023. Their responsibilities will include information gathering and mapping the situation. 

Additionally, Czech senators approved the participation of 15 Czech police officers in an investigation of war crimes committed in Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion. The police officers will also be part of a multinational investigative team at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Women in science Czechia to participate in global WikiGap edit-a-thon

Those interested in bringing their contribution to Wikipedia articles about Czech women scientists of note can sign up for a workshop on editing the Czech version of the Wikipedia online encyclopedia.

Experienced editors will be there to help, and the session will include refreshments. The sign-up link also has a version in English, and the event is part of global WikiGap edit-a-thons taking place around the world in 2023.

Business Czech brewery closes its doors for good

The brewery behind Pardubický Porter closes its doors for good on March 31, according to Good Beer Hunting. The beer, which is a European Baltic Porter, has been brewed in Pardubice since 1890.

Aleš Vejr, the brewery’s technical manager, says that its closure was due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the political situation in Europe, which ground exports to Russia to a halt. Brewing already stopped in mid-December, Vejr added.

Would you like us to write about your business? Find out more