PM Fiala and his wife will represent Czechia at Queen Elizabeth II's funeral

Plus more top headlines for Sept. 16, 2022. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 10.09.2022 11:50:00 (updated on 16.09.2022) Reading time: 18 minutes

Czech PM to give emergency speech on energy crisis and plan for winter

Czechia's main TV networks and Czech Radio will broadcast a special address by PM Petr Fiala on Sunday at 8 p.m. which will focus on the cabinet's current steps in the face of the energy crisis and on the upcoming winter season. The Chamber of Deputies is debating the cabinet's proposal to set caps for gas and energy as well as aid companies. The opposition says the cabinet's steps are insufficient and too late. Fiala's speech will be broadcast on public Czech Television, TVs Nova and Prima, and public Czech Radio.

EU sees record inflation; Czech Republic ranks fifth highest

The inflation rate in the European Union rose to a record 10.1 percent in August, while it was 9.8 percent in July, the Eurostat statistical office announced in a report on Friday. In the Czech Republic, the inflation rate fell by two-tenths of a percentage point, but with a value of 17.1 percent, remains the fifth highest in the EU.

France had the lowest inflation in August at 6.6 percent, followed by Malta (7.0 percent) and Finland (7.9 percent). Conversely, inflation remains the highest in the three Baltic states - in Estonia, it was 25.2 percent, in Latvia 21.4 percent, and in Lithuania 21.1 percent.

PM Fiala and his wife will represent Czechia at Queen Elizabeth II's funeral

Czech PM Petr Fiala and his wife Jana will attend Queen Elizabeth II's state funeral in London on Monday and the preceding reception hosted by King Charles III, the Czech Government Office said today. The funeral will take place in Westminster Abbey before noon on Monday, preceded by the reception in Buckingham Palace on Sunday evening. Hundreds of foreign states' representatives are expected to attend. Fiala will leave for London aboard a government plane.

Czech PM Petr Fiala signs the condolences book for Queen Elizabeth II at the British Embassy on Sept. 9, 2022. Photo: Twitter/ @
Czech PM Petr Fiala signs the condolences book for Queen Elizabeth II at the British Embassy on Sept. 9, 2022. Photo: Twitter/ @P_Fiala

Participation in Elizabeth II's funeral has been confirmed by U.S. President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, and other 500 heads of state and government and representatives of many monarchies from all over the world.

Invitations have not been extended to representatives of Russia, Belarus, Myanmar, Syria, Venezuela, and Afghanistan, while Iran, Nicaragua, and North Korea received an invitation only on the ambassadorial level.

According to server Politico, the foreign guests will be able to bow to the coffin of the late Queen in the parliament building. After the funeral, they will be hosted by British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly.

Czech govt.'s energy cap will apply to companies as well

The maximum energy prices set by the Czech government will also apply to small and medium-sized companies. Companies with up to 250 employees with an annual turnover of up to EUR 50 million (about CZK 1.23 billion) will automatically have their prices capped. The specific groups of customers affected by the energy price ceiling will be determined by the government, said the advisory team to PM Fiala. The setting of maximum energy prices will also apply to gas heating plants.

Babiš, Jr. to testify against his father in court today

On Friday, the Prague Municipal Court will hear testimony from Andrej Babiš Jr., who will take the stand in the subsidy case against his father, former prime minister and chairman of the ANO opposition movement, Andrej Babiš.

The younger Babiš claims that he played the role of scapegoat and that the Stork's Nest was his father's project from the beginning. He also insists that his father had him abducted to Crimea in 2017 to prevent him from testifying about the transfer of shares of the farm. The accused politician insists that his son is mentally ill and unfit to testify in court.

Monkey pox case detected in Czech kindergarten

Hygienists in Prague have found a case of monkeypox in a five-year-old child. The child's family is not infected, so the source is not yet known. The child could have encountered the virus while on vacation in Spain. Epidemiologists have started an investigation and are waiting for the results of the blood tests. The kindergarten that the child attended has been ordered to have increased medical supervision and regular health monitoring.

Reconstruction of Prague's lower Wenceslas Square is complete

Reconstruction of the lower part of Prague's central Wenceslas Square is complete, with new cobblestones laid, the space for pedestrians extended, new trees planted, and new benches and a fountain installed said the city officials, architects, and builders presented the project to media Thursday.

The reconstruction, overseen by the Cigler Marani Architects studio cost CZK 420.1 million. The pedestrian zone runs from the Jindřišská–Vodičkova intersection to the Zlatý kříž, with a space reserved that would allow for the future possibility of restoring the tram line. On Monday, the city put up a tender for the reconstruction of the square's upper part where it plans to reintroduce tram lines.

Wenceslas Square, which is 682 meters long and 60 meters wide, was established by King Charles IV's decree as the Horse Market in the 14th century. In the 19th century, it was renamed St. Wenceslas Square and later Wenceslas Square, after the patron main saint of Bohemia.

EU agriculture ministers to discuss food security in Prague

Food security and climate change are the main topics of today's informal meeting of the ministers of agriculture and fisheries of the countries of the European Union in Prague. Among the announced participants is European Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski and Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides. Ukrainian Minister of Agriculture Mykola Solsky and environmental scientists are also expected to participate.

Sept. 15, 2022

Fourth day of Babiš trial begins with testimony of MP Bendl

MP Petr Bendl was the first to testify in the alleged CZK 50 subsidy fraud against former prime minister Andrej Babiš and his aid Jana Nagyová are accused. Bendl confirmed signed documents for the allocation of the subsidy for the Čapí hnízdo. According to the Seznam Zprávy server, Bendl's office knew that Farma Čapí hnízdo was connected to the Agrofert concern and did not meet the conditions of a small and medium-sized enterprise.

Tourist favorite in Bohemian Switzerland to remain closed this year

Boating excursions along the Kamenice River through the gorges near Hřensko in the Bohemian Switzerland National Park, will not reopen this year due to the danger of falling stones and trees following the devastating forest fires that raged through this summer. Hřensko's mayor said the removal of fallen trees from the river bed is underway to prevent the trees from forming barriers that could crack amid strong rains and cause flooding. Geologists will also examine the entire area with its picturesque sandstone formations and propose measures to ensure tourist safety.

With the halting of these popular boating trips Hřensko stands to lose millions of crowns as, under normal circumstances, the gorges would be accessible until November 5. The mayor hopes to welcome visitors from April 1.

Long waits and lines at Primark opening in Brno

Several dozen people waited for two hours for the opening of the new store of the Irish fashion chain Primark in the Olympia shopping center in Brno on Wednesday. More than 400 customers arrived at the opening event, the first of them as early as 8:00 a.m. to shop for clothes, shoes, accessories, and cosmetics. The first Primark in Czechia opened on Prague's Wenceslas Square in 2021.

Sept. 14, 2022

Fiala: Czech presidency to work with EC on reducing energy prices

Czech EU presidency will be cooperating with the European Commission on the lowering of energy prices, including the revisions of the electricity market, PM Petr Fiala wrote on Twitter in reaction to the speech of EC head Ursula von der Leyen. He also supports the continuation of the general support to Ukraine, he wrote.

The Foreign Ministry tweeted that it welcomed von der Leyen's "strong message of European unity, solidarity, and determination." One of von der Leyen's main messages was that the European Commission proposed to reduce the incomes of producers of electricity generated from non-gas sources who have extraordinarily high profits thanks to the soaring prices.

She said this crisis measure would bring EUR 140 billion (which equals more than CZK 3.43 trillion) that the EU member countries can use to support consumers threatened by the expensive energy.

Car crunched between two Prague trams in serious collision

On Wednesday morning, rescue services were called to a serious accident in Prague: two trams and a car collided in the city's Liben district. The car remained wedged between the trams as the driver, a 50-year-old woman, was extracted by rescuers. She is in the hospital with a concussion. Police are investigating the cause of the accident.

Monika Babišová exercises right to remain silent

As the third day of the former PM's fraud trial began, Babiš's wife Monika Babišová, who was previously accused in the Čapí hnízdo case as a shareholder at the time the farm applied for a subsidy, arrived at the courthouse to give testimony. Her brother Martin Herodes also took the stand (the former PM's daughter did not testify today due to illness and will not testify in the future).

Babišová exercised her right not to testify as did her brother. The judge read a statement from Babišová which she gave to the police during the preliminary proceedings. Andrej Babiš Jr. confirmed to the court that he will testify on Friday. MP Jaroslav Faltýnek and the former manager of Farma Čapí hnízdo are scheduled to be questioned.

EC to cut profits for electricity producers

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced a plan to cut profits for electricity producers. She expects an income of EUR140 billion for the member states to use to solve the energy crisis. In her State of the Union speech, she also announced assistance to Ukraine with the restoration of schools and its participation in the European roaming zone. The Union will also procure joint equipment for extinguishing forest fires.

Lower house to meet over caps on energy, gas prices on Friday

Czech MPs will debate the cabinet's bill on capping energy and gas prices on Friday. The lower house of the Czech Parliament will discuss the bill in a sped-up procedure in the state of legislative emergency which was declared by the lower house head based on the cabinet's proposal.

The government wants to impose a cap on electricity and gas prices for small consumers, putting it at CZK 6 per megawatt hour (MWh) of electricity and CZK 3 per MWh of gas. The opposition representatives say the price limit is too high and the cabinet proposed it too late. However, the lower house is expected to pass the bill due to the coalition majority.

Sept. 13, 2022

Expert testimony given on second day of Babiš trial

The trial of former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and others accused in the case of possible subsidy fraud continues for the second day on Tuesday at the Municipal Court in Prague. Babiš has been accused of committing fraud during the construction of the "Stork's Nest" (Čapí hnízdo) complex. 

Babiš associates stand accused of temporarily separating the farm from the Agrofert holding so that it could receive a subsidy to which he would otherwise not be entitled. Babiš advisor Jana Nagyová is also on trial. Expert testimony was given today and witness statements were read. A handwriting expert said the signature of Babiš's son on the deed for the acquisition of Stork's Nest shares looks forged.

Czech govt. caps gas and electricity prices

At a Monday meeting, the Czech government set the maximum prices for electricity and gas. Retail consumers, i.e. households and businesses, will pay a maximum of CZK 6 including VAT for one kilowatt-hour (kWh), gas will cost a maximum of CZK 3 per kWh. Prime Minister Petr Fiala expects the Chamber of Deputies to approve the government measures relating to soaring energy prices Fiala told reporters. This is a developing story, more news to come.

Krejčíková, Siniaková win US Open to complete career Grand Slam

Barbora Krejčíková and Kateřina Siniaková made history at the 2022 US Open on Sunday, pulling off a comeback in the women’s doubles final at Arthur Ashe Stadium. The No.3-seeded Czechs completed the career Grand Slam in women’s doubles, fighting back from 6-3, 4-1 down to overcome unseeded Americans Caty McNally and Taylor Townsend 3-6, 7-5, 6-1. The duo now have six Grand Slam doubles titles to their name.

Prayer for late Elizabeth II to take place in St. Vitus Cathedral

An ecumenical prayer for the late Queen Elizabeth II will take place in Prague's St. Vitus Cathedral on Thursday, Sept. 15, at 6 p.m. organized jointly by the Prague Archdiocese, the Ecumenical Council of Churches and the Anglican Diocese of Europe. The prayer will take place in cooperation with the British embassy and will be broadcast live on Czech Television.

Elizabeth II died at the Balmoral castle in Scotland on September 8, her state funeral in London is scheduled for Sept. 19. If representatives of the Czech Republic are invited to the funeral, PM Petr Fiala will attend it on its behalf.

Number of illegal migrants in Czechia surging once again

The number of illegal migrants who cross not only the whole Czech Republic, but also southern Moravia, is now greater than in 2015, Roman Pittner, an immigration police commander, told reporters Wednesday. Since the beginning of the year, the police have uncovered 5,500 illegal migrants in southern Moravia and 8,000 in the whole country, Pittner said. Last week alone, the police detained 700 illegal migrants in southern Moravia and since early September, a total of 1,700.

Sept. 12, 2022

Scooters and buses could soon use bus lanes in Czech capital

Scooters and motorcycles could start driving in the lanes reserved for public transport buses in the Czech capital. The management of Prague has sent a plan for the new rule to the road administration office. The new rule could come into force from the beginning of next year, the mayor's deputy Adam Scheinherr (Praha Sobě) told journalists today. In addition to public transport buses, ambulances also use reserved lanes and taxis can drive in them as well.

Babiš dismisses 'Stork's Nest' charges as untrue

The criminal charges in the Stork's Nest case are untrue, unrealistic, and not supported by evidence, Czech ex-PM and ANO leader Andrej Babiš, who is implicated in the case of a suspected subsidy fraud, told the court at the beginning of his trial today. He said he faces the trial only because he entered politics. Babis faces up to ten years in prison for assisting in a 50-million-crown subsidy fraud. "I committed no crime, I categorically reject this," he told the court today. He said the criminal charges blame him even for steps he never took. "I believe that the court will not decide under pressure, but justly," he said.

Praguers line up outside court to attend former PM's trial

A queue of people formed this morning in front of the Municipal Court in Prague where the trial of former Czech PM Andrej Babiš is getting underway. Babiš, accused of subsidy fraud in the Stork's Nest case, faces the indictment with his former adviser Jana Nagyová. Last week the Prague Municipal court announced it would issue entrance tickets to the public outside the courtroom daily. Earlier today a mock jail cell was placed in front of the courthouse. The trial is beginning after seven years of police investigation.

Czech population increases by 9,000

The population of the Czech Republic increased by 9,000 to 10.526 million in the first half of this year shows new data from Czech Statistical Office (ČSÚ). More people died than were born, indicating that the increase was ensured entirely by foreign migration. However, that figure does not include the Ukrainian citizens granted temporary protection from Czechia following the Russian invasion. According to the data from the Foreigners Information System, there were approximately 373,000 refugees at the end of the first half of the year. 

Period film 'Il Boemo' is Czechia's Oscar selection

Czech period film "Il Boemo," which tells the life story of Czech composer Josef Mysliveček and is directed by Petr Václav is The Czech Film and Television Academy's entry for the Oscar competition in the Best Foreign Film category. The narrative historical film presents the 18th-century Czech composer Josef Mysliveček. The film will have its world premiere in the main competition of the San Sebastian Film Festival, which starts on Friday. The film will be released in Czech cinemas on Oct. 20.

Autumn weather will fall on Czechia this week

Following warmer temps, in the early part of the week (up to 24 degrees Celsius is forecast for parts of Moravia), the weather will noticeably cool down in the middle of the week, according to the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (ČHMÚ). Heavy rain is predicted for Wednesday and Thursday with cooler temps predicted for the week when ČHMÚ predicts a maximum of 15 degrees. Nighttime lows will be between nine and four degrees Celsius.

Sept. 12, 2022

Zoo Prague Zoo has a new gorilla resident as pavilion launch nears

A new resident made his way to Prague Zoo last night as the male gorilla Kisumu arrived from Austria. According to the officials, Kisumu will continue the location's successful breeding program with female Duni, who became the first gorilla born in the Czech Republic in 2004 and will return to Prague Zoo from Spain next week.

"Kisumu is in Prague!" Zoo director Miroslav Bobek wrote on social media. "At 01:05, he ran out of his transport box to the back of the new gorilla pavilion." Prague Zoo's new gorilla pavilion, the Dja Reserve, is already populated by most of the zoo's gorillas and will be officially opened to the public on September 28.

Sports Czech tennis stars attempt to complete Grand Slam wins today

Czech tennis stars Barbora Krejčíková and Kateřina Siniaková will attempt to complete their collection of Grand Slam titles today as the pair competes in the women's doubles final at the US Open in New York. Krejčíková and Siniaková have previously won titles at the Australian Open, Wimbledon, and twice at the French Open.

Krejčíková and Siniaková, who also won an Olympic gold medal in Tokyo last year, will face off against Americans Caty McNally and Taylor Townsend from 7:00 p.m. Prague time. Regardless of the result, Siniaková will regain her title of world number one in women's doubles competition in next week's WTA rankings.

Politics President Zeman invites King Charles III to the Czech Republic

Czech President Miloš Zeman sent a letter to Britain's new King Charles III yesterday, wishing him strength and success in the wake of the death of Queen Elizabeth and inviting him to visit the Czech Republic again. In his letter, Zeman noted that Charles would begin his reign in difficult times, where fear of an uncertain future is growing.

Zeman added that relations between the Czech Republic and Britain are excellent, and that he believed Charles III would further deepen these ties. He noted that Charles had visited the Czech Republic a number of times in the past, and invited him to come once again in his new role as King.

Culture Cheb celebrates 700 years as part of the Czech lands

The town of Cheb in West Bohemia celebrated the 700th anniversary of its permanent addition to the Czech lands this weekend during European Heritage Days, a multi-day festival attended by thousands of visitors. Cheb was officially added to Bohemia in 1322 under the reign of John of Bohemia.

During the festivities, replicas of the Czech crown jewels were exhibited, and guests could also see a royal procession led by George of Poděbrady (Jiří z Poděbrad), who fathered two sons in the town. Two historical chronicles of Cheb, from the 18th and early 19th centuries, were also presented during the festival.

Economy Czech inflation remained over 17 percent in August, according to experts

Year-on-year inflation in the Czech Republic remained over 17 percent in August after reaching 17.2 percent in June and 17.5 percent in July, according to experts contacted by ČTK. The Czech Statistical Office will publish official inflation data for August on Monday, September 12.

"Further growth in inflation will be influenced by the continued rise in energy prices for households and, most likely, by rising in food prices," Czech Banking Association analyst Jakub Seidler said, while also noting that a month-on-month dip in fuel prices would partially counteract further rise. Seidler pegged August inflation in the Czech Republic at 17.6 percent, while a Raiffeisenbank expert forecast 17.7 percent and a Unicredit analyst predicted 17.2 percent.

Saturday, September 10

Sports Czech javelin thrower Barbora Špotáková announces retirement

Czech javelin thrower Barbora Špotáková, one of the country's most popular athletes, officially announced her retirement from the sport yesterday at the age of 41. Špotáková is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, three-time World Champion, and current holder of the all-time world record in the women's javelin throw.

After watching a highlight reel of her accomplishments during a retirement announcement yesterday, Špotáková pointed to her Olympic gold in 2008 as a high point. On August 21 of that year, the 40th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, Špotáková narrowly topped Russia's Maria Abakumova to take home the gold in Beijing. "The moment I threw it, I knew that nothing would beat it," she tearfully recalled. "That's when a miracle happened."

Memorial Prague's new Bell #9801 rings out in honor of Queen Elizabeth

Prague's new Bell #9801, created in memory of bells confiscated during WWII and unveiled in the Czech capital last week, rung out 96 times yesterday in honor of Queen Elizabeth, who passed away on Thursday at the age of 96. Sanctus Castulus, the organization that launched the campaign to create the bell, chose to pay tribute to the departed Queen.

"We decided to pay tribute to the monarch," Ondřej Boháč, head of Sanctus Castulus, told local media. "She was a significant queen and one of those who determined developments in the second half of the 20th century and two first two decades of the present century."

FILM Czech movie to play in competition at San Sebastián film fest

Il Boemo, the latest feature from Czech director Petr Václav, will have its world premiere later this month as it competes for the Golden Shell at the prestigious San Sebastián International Film Festival in Spain. The movie charts the life of 18th century Czech composer Josef Mysliveček, a close friend and musical influence on Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

"Being selected and being able to show the film to the festival audience is a holiday and an award," the director stated in response to his film being selected to play in competition. "The fact that the president of the jury will be Glenn Close, the actress who portrayed the Marquise de Merteuil in Dangerous Liaisons, one of the most famous films depicting the 18th century, is quite a surprising coincidence for me and results in joy, respect, and fear at the same time."

Politics Prague court to hear Čapí hnízdo case involving former PM Babiš

After seven years of police investigations and speculation in the Czech media, a Prague court is finally slated to publicly hear the Čapí hnízdo case involving former Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš from Monday. Babiš and former advisor Jana Nagyová, who have been absent during proceedings in the case so far, are expected to be present in court for the next phase of the case.

Babiš is accused of conflict of interest and misuse of EU funds in the case, which centers on the company Farma Čapí hnízdo, part of the Babiš-owned conglomerate Agrofert. In 2007, Farma Čapí hnízdo was transformed into a joint-stock company, received a European subsidy, and after several years returned back to Agrofert. As part of the Babiš-owned conglomerate, it would not have been eligible for EU funding.

Police Czech police see uptick in traffic violations during summer 2022

Czech police issued nearly 79,000 tickets for speeding and other traffic violations over the summer holidays this year, about 7,000 more than over the same period last year, according to data released on the police website yesterday. A total of 16,583 accidents were recorded on Czech roads this summer, resulting in 80 fatalities and 341 serious injuries.

"Although 80 people were killed in summer traffic accidents, compared to last year, we have recorded a decrease in fatal consequences," stated Deputy Chief of Czech Police Tomáš Lerch. "20 fewer people died on Czech roads this summer than in the previous year."

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