News in brief for June 29: Czech PM – more cooperation needed with non-EU countries about immigration

Czechia bans Russian athletes from competition, a new agriculture minister, union strikes to go ahead, and more news in brief. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 29.06.2023 08:30:00 (updated on 29.06.2023) Reading time: 6 minutes

companies Balíkovna to separate from Czech Post in 2025

According to Czech Post CEO Miroslav Štěpán, the Balíkovna postal service will separate from Czech Post and operate independently starting from Jan. 1, 2025. As per the government-approved transformation plan, Balíkovna will take over logistics and parcel services, aiming to achieve sales of CZK 6 to CZK 7 billion in 2025 and 2026 respectively. 

Czech Post will continue as a state-owned enterprise, focusing on branches, letter delivery, and money orders while expanding services for the state. The transformation will require a CZK 4.5 billion investment from the state, with an additional CZK 2 billion financed through loans. 

INDUSTRY Czech audiovisual industry registers record-breaking profit

According to an announcement from the Association of Audiovisual Producers (APA) today, the Czech audiovisual industry achieved a record-breaking turnover of CZK 15.4 billion in 2022, surpassing the previous record of CZK 12 billion in 2021. 

Despite this success, the industry now faces a crisis due to suspended film incentives and uncertainties surrounding potential amendments to the audiovisual law. Film incentives saw a significant increase last year, but they are currently suspended, causing a sense of uncertainty to prevail in the sector once again. The Czech Film Fund has allocated CZK 1.4 billion crowns to incentives this year.

government Czech govt. has registered 8,000 apartments for refugees

The Czech Labour Ministry has announced today that it has registered 8,200 apartments for refugees, accommodating 13,000 people. Most of these apartments are located in Prague, while the fewest are in the Vysočina region and South Moravia. The ministry introduced a register for refugee housing in April. 

Starting from July, refugees with income below the living wage and specified housing costs can receive humanitarian benefits, with higher support provided for registered housing. Aid organizations criticize the new support as insufficient, potentially leading to illegal work, while the Labour Minister defends it as transparent and fair.

LABOR MARKET Czech union leader against calling off strikes

Head of the Bohemian-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions (ČMKOS) Josef Středula told journalists today that there is no justification to lift the strike alert that was declared in mid-May. This statement came after the government's approval of a package to consolidate public finances. 

Středula made these remarks ahead of a protest meeting organized by public sector trade unionists affiliated with ČMKOS. The unions plan to concentrate on negotiations in the Chamber of Deputies, where they will present proposed changes to the package. Recent protests against the government's consolidation measures have taken place in Ostrava-Vitkovice and Zlin, and if their proposals fail, the trade unionists intend to hold another protest in September.

agriculture Pavel appoints Czechia's new agriculture minister

President Petr Pavel today appointed Marek Výborný as Czechia’s new minister of agriculture. He replaces Zdeněk Nekula who resigned due to a lack of support within the party and his mismanagement of supermarket-food prices. 

Prime Minister Petr Fiala praised Výborný, saying that his experience and moral credibility would strengthen the coalition cabinet. The public expects the agriculture ministry to continue pressuring producers and sellers to lower food prices, despite lacking direct authority in this matter, Fiala added.

CZECH POLITICS Czechs as happy with internal democracy as in 1993

According to a survey released today by the STEM agency, the Czech public’s satisfaction with democracy in Czechia is unchanged, at 43 percent – the same amount as during the country's early years of independence. 

However, public priorities have shifted over time. While maintaining order and peace were previously the most important aspects, the fight against rising prices has become the top concern, despite lower inflation rates than in the 1990s. Satisfaction with the country’s overall political situation dropped to 7 percent in 1999, but has now increased to 19 percent.

EU Fiala praises EU migration policy agreement

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala today expressed support for the recent migration policy agreement among EU interior ministers, which includes financial penalties for countries refusing to accept relocated migrants. He also emphasized the need for further discussions on enhancing cooperation with third countries. Fiala noted that his government followed the previous cabinet's steps on migration and rejected calls from the current opposition party to block the EU agreement. 

He highlighted that blocking the European Council would be futile as other institutions are making decisions. Fiala praised the agreement for aligning with the Czech government's long-term positions, strengthening EU external borders, prioritizing effective return policies, and excluding refugee quotas.

Sports Czechia to ban Russian athletes from competition

The Czech government has agreed to ban Russian athletes and teams from participating in competitions held in Czech territory. The same ban will apply to Czech athletes participating in competitions in Russia. The decision is a response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which has led to the exclusion of Russian and Belarusian athletes from international competitions since last year.

The Czech Olympic Committee has also expressed opposition to the participation of Russia and Belarus in Olympic qualifications and the upcoming Paris Games, proposing that athletes sign an oath denouncing aggression against UN member states.

Society Parental allowance to increase from January 2024

The parental allowance in the Czech Republic is set to increase from January 1, 2024, while the duration of the allowance will be reduced from four to three years. Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Marian Jurečka announced the decision following a coalition cabinet meeting Wednesday. The plan is to raise the allowance by CZK 50,000 to a total of CZK 350,000.

Additionally, the cabinet approved a proposal allowing the state to provide replacement child support for up to four years, an increase from the previous maximum of two years. The increase in the allowance is a compromise among coalition parties and takes into account the state's financial capacity.

weather July to start cool and eventually heat up

The weather in the first week of July will start off cooler but gradually warm up, according to the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute. Saturday is expected to be cloudy with showers in most areas, and thunderstorms in some regions. Daytime temperatures will range from 20 to 24 degrees Celsius, reaching up to 26 degrees in certain regions.

On Sunday, the weather will be mostly cloudy with some rain or showers, which will decrease later in the day. Temperatures could reach up to 28 degrees Celsius in southern Moravia. Monday will see occasional showers with temperatures ranging from 23 to 27 degrees Celsius. From Tuesday onwards, there will be isolated showers or thunderstorms, with temperatures gradually increasing to 31 degrees Celsius.

Diplomacy Czechia honors Canadian ambassador on Canada Day

Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský awarded the Canadian ambassador to the Czech Republic, Ayesha Rekhi, with the minister's medal "For services to diplomacy" as a recognition of her diplomatic work. Rekhi expressed her surprise and deep honor upon receiving the award, emphasizing the strong bond between the Czech Republic and Canada in her speech at the Canadian embassy.

The award was presented during the Canada Day celebrations. The minister's medal is bestowed upon individuals, both domestic and foreign, for their exceptional contributions to Czech diplomacy, foreign policy, and the development of international relations between the Czech Republic and other countries or organizations. Rekhi is the 79th recipient of this award.

Culture Tickets go on sale for Karlovy Vary Film Festival

The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival will commence with advance ticket sales for the first two days starting this morning. The 57th edition of the renowned film festival will officially begin on Friday afternoon. Russell Crowe, an Oscar winner, will accept an award for his contribution to world cinema on the opening evening. The festival will run until Saturday, July 8.

This year's lineup includes 143 feature films and documentaries, with a focus on Cannes festival highlights. The festival also offers various accompanying programs, exhibitions, and opportunities to engage with film professionals. Despite concerns about the pandemic and European uncertainties, interest in the festival remains high, although increased ticket prices may be disappointing for some film enthusiasts.

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