News in brief for June 14: President Pavel urges collaboration at European Values Summit 2023

The top headlines for the Czech Republic on Wednesday, June 14, 2023, updated throughout the day to keep you up to speed. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 14.06.2023 07:39:00 (updated on 14.06.2023) Reading time: 6 minutes

politics Marek Výborný named as new Czech agriculture minister

Following Deputy Prime Minister Marian Jurečka's press conference this afternoon, Minister of Agriculture Zdenek Nekula will leave his post due to his poor handling of food price inflation in Czechia. Nekula has recently been criticized for failing to prevent traders from bumping up food prices. reports that the Christian Democrats party (KDÚ-ČSL) in Czechia – of which Jurečka is head – had been actively looking for Nekula’s replacement for “weeks.” Marek Výborný, the former chairman of the KDÚ-ČSL and current member of parliament, will take the new position. Prime Minister has approved the change, which could be formalized as early as July 1.

politics SPD and Tricolor movement announce coalition for 2024

The right-wing Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) party and the national-conservative Tricolor Citizens' Movement party have reached a cooperation agreement for upcoming 2024 elections, which will involve voting for the composition of Czechia’s representation in the European Parliament, a third of the Senate, and regional councils. 

The purpose of this alliance, as stated by SPD chairman Tomio Okamura, is to prevent the patriotic and nationalist-minded parties’ loss of votes. Okamura emphasized that this is just the initial step towards uniting other parties and individuals who share patriotic values. Voter support surveys attribute roughly 10 percent to the SPD, while Tricolor gets some 2 percent of public support.

event Hungarian motorcycle racer loses life after Czech race

Hungarian motocross racer Bence Szvoboda passed away today following a crash that had taken place during a race in the Czech region of Vysočina on Sunday. The death of the 31-year-old was announced by his supporting team via social media. 

Szvoboda underwent emergency surgery in a Prague hospital, but his brain injury proved too severe. This is the first fatal accident in the Czech motocross championship since 2009, when 18-year-old Michael Špaček lost his life during a team race.

industry Škoda Group announces impressive annual profit

The Czech Škoda Group (or Škoda Transportation), a public transport manufacturer, achieved 22 percent year-on-year growth in operating profit compared to last year, according to a press release issued today. Škoda Group’s sales increased by 26 percent year on year, amounting to around CZK 18.2 billion. 

Additionally, the group witnessed an increase in production capacity, recording a 29-percent rise in production hours, to 4.4 million. At the end of last year, Škoda Group registered over 7,500 employees, 14 percent more than in 2021. Increased performance is primarily due to increased production capacity thanks to the freeing up of the global car-parts supply chain.

Labor Largest Czech trade union plans June 27 protest

KOVO, Czechia’s largest trade union, has announced plans for a demonstration in Ostrava on June 27. The protest aims to oppose the government’s proposed pension reform and advocate for early retirement without penalties for individuals working in risky professions. 

The demonstration will also address concerns regarding the government's proposed austerity package, such as tax changes. KOVO union leader Roman Ďurčo emphasized the union's long-standing opposition to raising the retirement age beyond 65.  The protest will be held in Ostrava, Ďurčo said, due to its high concentration of heavy and steel industry workers.

personal finance Majority of Czechs expect reduction in expenses during retirement

According to a recent survey conducted by financial firm Broker Consulting and the Ipsos polling agency, 70 percent of Czechs are actively saving and planning for their retirement. Around 73 percent of respondents anticipate having to reduce their expenses during retirement, and nearly two-thirds express concerns about a decline in their standard of living as they age. 

Over half of the population saves regularly, with 75 percent saving up to CZK 2,000 monthly for their pension. A significant portion – approximately 40 percent – currently have less than CZK 100,000 saved. On the other hand, 29 percent of individuals neither save nor invest for their retirement, mainly due to financial constraints.

diplomacy Pavel urges unity in European summit today

Speaking at the European Values Summit 2023 in Prague today, President Petr Pavel urged democratic nations to unite in their approach towards Ukraine, currently facing Russian aggression. He also stressed the need to safeguard democratic governance in Taiwan amid increasing pressure from China. 

Emphasizing the importance of cooperation, Pavel highlighted that preserving Europe’s values relies on collaborative efforts. Pavel also mentioned the upcoming NATO summit in July, which will take place in Latvia. "The political message to Ukraine should be in the form of the country's future membership in the EU and NATO," said Pavel.

defense Unmanned US military aircraft makes historic landing in Czechia

On Tuesday, an American MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft made a historic landing at Ostrava Airport in Mošnov. This marked the first time a military drone of this scale has landed at a European civilian airport, demonstrating the coordination between military and civilian authorities.

The landing was part of the AIR DEFENDER 2023 alliance exercise and showcased the increasing importance of unmanned aerial vehicles in military operations. The MQ-9 Reaper, a successor to the MQ-1 Predator, is a versatile machine used for reconnaissance, intelligence gathering, and ground target destruction, with an impressive endurance of up to 14 hours in the air.

economy Budgets cuts in R&D gamble with Czechia's future

Prague's Science Minister, Helena Langšádlová has criticized the Finance Ministry's draft budget proposal for science, research, and innovation, stating that reducing the budget to 0.45 percent of GDP in 2024 would be a risky move for Czechia's future. The working proposal allocates CZK 35.8 billion for science, a decrease of over ten percent from the previous year.

The Council for Research, Development, and Innovation (RVVI) has proposed a higher budget of CZK 47.8 billion, and Langšádlová plans to request a government discussion on the matter. The declining proportion of state spending on science in Czechia is a concern, as it lags behind scientifically advanced countries like Germany.

Society Study examines unusual sexual preference in Czechs

A survey conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health in Czechia revealed that approximately 31 percent of men and 14 percent of women have unusual sexual preferences, but only a small fraction of them seek professional help. The term "paraphiliac" is used to describe individuals who have fantasies about unconventional sexual objects or activities that may involve non-consent or violence.

Many individuals try to manage their sexuality independently and do not reach out for assistance. A self-help website called was recently launched to address this issue, receiving nearly 68,000 visits since its inception in 2019 and providing anonymous counseling to address concerns and questions.

politics Chamber to resume talks on migration, conflict of interest law

Members of the Chamber of Deputies in Prague will resume discussions on the conflict of interest law, known as "lex Babiš," which has faced opposition from the ANO movement. The coalition aims to tighten regulations on political media ownership and the acceptance of subsidies and investment incentives in the Conflict of Interest Act. The proposed amendment seeks to prevent circumvention of the ban by targeting the actual owner of media operators and companies.

In addition, deputies will debate the reform of EU migration rules, with ANO and SPD opposition leaders criticizing the government's support for mandatory solidarity and immigrant redistribution. Minister of the Interior Vít Rakušan views the agreement as a success, providing financial aid to heavily burdened states without imposing quotas.

education Secondary school admissions test data revealed

Approximately 7.6 percent of applicants were unsuccessful in the first round of secondary school admissions in the Czech Republic this year, according to a survey by Brno-based consulting company Než zazvóní. The failure rate varied across regions, with Vysočina recording about 1.2 percent, South Moravia 9.6 percent, and Prague 11 percent. Over 87 percent of ninth-grade elementary school students will enter the secondary school of their choice in September.

The survey revealed that more than 90 percent of respondents were accepted into at least one of their preferred schools, while 8.8 percent had to settle for their less desired option. Admissions stress and concerns about a shortage of secondary school places influenced students' performance in entrance exams and their choice of school.

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