Despite billions in EU subsidies, most Czech waste ends up in a landfill

Plus: CNB may raise interest rate by 0.75 points or more in June, Karlovo náměstí fire ends in tragedy, and more.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 04.06.2022 12:07:00 (updated on 01.07.2022) Reading time: 9 minutes

June 6, 2022

ECONOMY CNB may raise interest rate by 0.75 points or more in June

The Bank Board of the Czech National Bank (CNB) is likely to raise the key interest rate by 0.75 percentage point or more this month due to continuing rise in inflation, as stated by the CNB governor Jiří Rusnok in an interview with Aktuálně.cz server. The key interest rate is now 5.75 percent, the highest since 1999. The Bank Board last decided to raise it in early May, which was the sixth above-standard increase in the base rate by more than 0.25 percentage points in a row.

environment Most Czech waste landfilled despite EU subsidies

Despite billions of European subsidies, landfilling is still the most used method of waste disposal in Czechia, according to the press report released by the Supreme Audit Office (NKÚ) that checked the use of the EU and state money on the matter between 2018 and 2020. The state has failed to increase its capacities for waste recycling or build and modernize the facilities for the energy use of waste. The production of waste is not declining either, the NKÚ report said. According to the Ministry of the Environment, a high level of landfilling is a problem, but several measures taken and planned will improve the situation in the coming years. 

accident An apartment fire in the center of Prague claims a life

One person died in the night fire of an apartment building at Charles Square in Prague, 80 people were evacuated. "At the time of the arrival of the first unit, the flames engulfed the apartment in full," said Prague firefighter spokesman Martin Kavka. Firefighters and police officers are investigating the cause and amount of damage, added Kavka.

covid Two types of omicron "variant of concern" present in Czechia

The presence of two new types of coronavirus, the omicron variant, designated BA.4 and BA.5, in the Czech Republic was identified by laboratories of the State Institute of Public Health (SZÚ), shows the EAA's weekly report on the epidemiological situation in the country. Experts from the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) have changed the classification of the two omicron variants from a "variant of interest" to a "variant of concern". These variants are behind the increase in cases in South Africa or Portugal. According to the Ministry of Health, the number of positive cases has been steadily declining since the end of March, and the two variants are not epidemically significant in the Czech Republic.

POLITICS Former Czech PM likely to postpone presidential candidacy announcement

MP and former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) said in an interview with Czech Television he will likely decide at the last minute whether he will run for the presidential election at the beginning of 2023. Babiš is expected to announce his candidacy at the beginning of November the deadline, as the first round of the presidential election can be announced by the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies on January 13 and 14, 2023. A Median agency survey considers the former PM to be a frontrunner for the presidency. In the Median election model for May, Babiš polled slightly higher, gaining the support of 28.5 percent of those surveyed.

energy Special energy tariff to be ready by August

A special energy tariff for low-income households and some operations should be ready for discussion by the beginning of the heating season at the latest (by the end of August), as stated by Deputy Prime Minister for Digitization and Minister for Regional Development Ivan Bartoš to ČT24. The planned special energy tariff is intended to help low-income families and selected operations with rising energy costs. At the same time, it should motivate savings in consumption. 

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Radek Špicar, vice-president of the Confederation of Industry and Transport of the Czech Republic, criticized that the companies did not yet know the parameters of the prepared programs. He also believes that the deadline for presenting a specific plan before the heating season is too late.

AUTO EU speeding regulations to be put on carmakers

The European Union is finalizing its regulation, which will take responsibility from drivers and put it in the hands of cars, writes AAzdraví.cz. According to the new rules, carmakers will be tasked with installing speed limiters. Although it is not yet clear how will they work exactly, the speed limiters are likely to limit both the maximum possible speed of the car and the maximum speed in certain places, depending on what is currently allowed there.

Spotted Shakira attends baseball tournament in Czechia

The largest sports center in the Czech Republic hosted a world-renowned visitor over the weekend. Colombian singer Shakira attended the largest youth baseball tournament in Europe to support the Catalonia team. The singer's son with partner Gerard Piqué, a Barcelona footballer, plays for the Catalonia team. The complex is located just under the Hluboká Castle.

germany Czech anthem played at Sudeten German congress for first time

The Czech anthem was played live at the Sudeten German Landsmannschaft (SL) congress for the first time when the event held in Bavarian Hof ended on Sunday. Bavarian Minister-President Markus Soder, whose federal land took patronage of the Sudeten German transferred from Czechoslovakia after WWII, called this an important symbol that Czechs and Germans are no longer enemies. SL head Bernd Posselt called playing the Czech anthem, during which the congress visitors were standing to pay respect, a sign of mutual friendship.

June 5, 2022

SPORTS Lucie Havlíčková wins French Open girls' singles and doubles

17-year-old Czech tennis player Lucie Havlíčková won the French Open girls' singles tournament in Paris on Saturday, defeating Argentina's Solana Sierra 6-3, 6-3. Havlíčková becomes the second consecutive Czech to win the junior tournament following Linda Nosková last year. She also won the girls' doubles tournament with Sara Bejlek, defeating their compatriot Nikola Bartunkova and Switzerland's Celine Naef 6-3, 6-3.

Havlíčková's feat in the junior French Open tournament matches Barbora Krejčíková in the adult competition in 2021; last year, Krejčíková became the first woman in more than 20 years to win the French Open singles and doubles titles. Czech stars including Krejčíková made an early exit from this year's French Open; Poland's Iga Šwiatek won the tournament for the second time yesterday.

Music Eric Clapton to play in Prague tonight for first time in nine years

British musician Eric Clapton will kick off his 2022 European Tour at Prague's O2 Arena tonight, beginning a series of 15 concerts that culminates with a performance in Moscow at the end of June. Clapton last performed in Prague in 2013; he was previously scheduled to return to the Czech capital in 2020, but a planned concert was delayed numerous times due to the pandemic.

Tonight, Clapton will perform solo songs as well as older hits from his time with the bands Cream and Derek and the Dominos. He'll be accompanied by long-time collaborators Nathan East (bass), Doyle Bramhall II (guitar), and Paul Carrack and Chris Stainton (keyboards).

Money Average Czech wages down 3.7 percent after inflation

After taking inflation into account, average wages in the Czech Republic fell by an around 3.7 percent over the first quarter of 2022 according to estimates from analysts contact by CTK. High inflation is expected to continue to undermine wage growth throughout this year, with an even greater decline predicted in the second quarter.

Excluding inflation, the average Czech salary is estimated to have risen by around 7.2 percent in the first quarter, according to analysts. The Czech Statistical Office will publish official data on Czech wages on Tuesday, June 7. By the end of last year, the average Czech wage had risen to 40,135 crowns per month; due to unequal salary distribution, however, about two-thirds of Czech employees make less than the average.

Energy Survey: half of Czech households don't monitor energy consumption

Roughly half of households in the Czech Republic do not monitor their energy consumption and only wait for the annual tally, according to a poll conducted by PAQ Research. About one-fifth of Czech households monitor their monthly energy consumption, while one in eight households watch their quarterly consumption.

According to the survey, three-fifths of households said they would monitor their energy consumption if they knew the price in crowns, and not only the amount in kilowatt-hours. Half of households said that they ran into financial difficulties due to rising energy prices.

June 4, 2022

Weather Strong storm warning issued for south and west Bohemia

A warning of strong storms that may be accompanied by high winds and hail has been issued for areas in southwestern portions of the Czech Republic today by the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute. The storm warning is in effect from 1:00 p.m. through 8:00 p.m. in most areas of the Plzeň and South Bohemian regions.

"Hail and lightning will be the main danger," the Institute writes on social media. "Isolated incidents of torrential rain cannot be ruled out, with the potential for flooding in underground areas or cellars. Winds can be strong enough to break tree branches." Most areas of the country were also hit by strong storms overnight, though no major incidents were reported.

Prague Controversy over Astronomical Clock makes international headlines

A complaint filed over the "amateur" restoration of Prague's Astronomical Clock has made it into international headlines, with The Guardian's Robert Tait covering the story yesterday. Painter Stanislav Jirčík is accused of painting likenesses of his friends in place of the original artwork by Josef Mánes that adorned the clock's astrolabe. The original paintings are kept in storage for safekeeping, while the replicas by Jirčík were installed during recent renovations.

“I want to have a serious discussion with him and ask him about the quality of the painting, what was his inspiration, did he study Josef Mánes,” Prague Mayor Adam Scheinherr said of Jirčík, who has yet to comment on the controversy. “We have many sketches of the original work, so it’s certainly possible to do a copy. I want to know if he was trying. The value of the astronomical clock is incalculable to us, so it is not about cost.”

Music Vienna Philharmonic closes Prague Spring music festival

A concert by the Vienna Philharmonic under Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons closed the 77th edition of the Prague Spring International Music Festival at the Czech capital's Municipal House on Friday evening. The Vienna Philharmonic has regularly performed at the festival for more than 50 years, beginning with concerts conducted by Herbert von Karajan and Karl Bohm in the 1960s.

One of the Czech Republic's largest festivals of classical music, Prague Spring took place in full this year after two years of limitations caused by the pandemic and related restrictions. In 2020, the festival took place entirely online, while last year only the opening and closing concerts were performed in front of a live audience.

Politics Babiš, Pavel continue to lead early presidential polls

Former Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and former Czech chief-of-staff and NATO Military Committee head Petr Pavel are the leading candidates to become the next Czech president, according to a Median poll conducted in May and released this weekend. Neither Babiš or Pavel have officially announced their candidacy for president, though both are assumed to be running.

Support for Babiš to become the next president rose to 28.5 percent in May, while Pavel stood at 19.5 percent. Trade Union leader Josef Středula, who has announced his candidacy, came in third at 7.5 percent. The next Czech president will be elected early next year; current President Miloš Zeman's two-year term, the maximum under Czech law, will come to an end in March 2023.

Shopping Survey: Czechs save on clothes in times of financial harship

Czechs are most likely to save money on clothes, vacations, and entertainment options when facing financial hardship, according to a recent survey conducted by debt relief company KRUK. According to the company, rising costs related to effects from the pandemic and the war in Ukraine have resulted in Czech shoppers seeking ways of saving money.

More than half of Czechs surveyed (56 percent) said that they would reduce spending on clothes in the event of a job loss or other financial problems. Only eight percent of those surveyed said they would save on children's education or hobbies. Fifteen percent said they would save on transportation costs, for example by taking public transport instead of driving.

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