Senate approves another 'merciful summer' for repaying debts to state

Plus: Pavel remains one of the favorites of the presidential election, Ukraine and Moldova granted EU candidate status, and more.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 23.06.2022 17:09:00 (updated on 24.06.2022) Reading time: 7 minutes

June 24, 2022

Debt Senate approves another ‘merciful summer’ in aid of debtors

Some debtors in Czechia who face distraint will probably get another chance to repay their debt without interest or penalty fees, based on the government bill introducing another "merciful summer," which the Senate, the upper house of parliament, approved today. The Chamber of Deputies, the lower house, passed the bill on June 1. President Miloš Zeman is yet to sign it into law. The three-month merciful summer will start in September and will enable people to get rid of the debts exacted from them by public institutions and state-run and state-controlled firms. The bill applies to distraint proceedings launched before Oct. 28, 2021.

Aid MPs approve simplified rules for housing benefit

The Chamber of Deputies passed an amendment that simplifies rules for drawing the housing benefit. Recipients would have to submit their income and expenditure survey once every six months only instead of every three months, which is the practice now. The offices should approve the benefit indefinitely, so people would not have to apply for it annually. The amendment also enables parents with low incomes to see their monthly parental allowance rise from the current CZK 10,000 to CZK 13,000. The bill still has to be approved by the Senate and signed by the president.

Energy Amendment would extend operation of coal-fired plants

The government approved an amendment to the Energy Act that would enable keeping coal-fired power plants in operation for a short time if there was a shortage of natural gas. The coal plants would otherwise have to be shut down due to emissions, Minister of Industry and Trade Jozef Síkela said. Currently, gas supplies to the Czech Republic are now stable. However, neighboring countries report a decline. It cannot be ruled out that the supply of Russian gas to the Czech Republic will be reduced or completely interrupted.  

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History Five Czechoslovak RAF airmen buried in Netherlands

Five Czechoslovak RAF airmen were buried at the military cemetery in Bergen-op-Zoom yesterday, exactly 81 years after a German fighter plane shot down their Vickers Wellington T2990 bomber. Ministers of the Czech, Slovak, and Dutch governments as well as several dozens of relatives and their friends paid honor to the dead soldiers. Remains of some 40 Czechoslovak soldiers have been buried at the Bergen-op-Zoom cemetery, The six-member crew of the British bomber was one of 70 aircraft that attacked Bremen in the night of June 23, 1941. When the bomber was on its way back to Britain, Germans shot it down and only one crew member survived.

EUROPEAN UNION Ukraine and Moldova granted candidate status

Ukraine and Moldova have both been granted EU candidate status, the European Council announced. Ukraine applied just after the Russian invasion in February. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday said she was convinced that Ukraine and Moldova will move as swiftly as possible to implement necessary reforms. "There can be no better sign of hope for the citizens of Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia in these troubled times," she told reporters on the sidelines of an EU summit in Brussels after both countries were granted EU candidate status. Georgia's application was not accepted, and the county was given a list of conditions to meet before it would be reconsidered.

economy Confidence in Czech economy fell in June

Confidence in the Czech economy fell by 3.5 points month-on-month to 98.3 in June. Consumer and business confidence in all sectors has declined. Consumer confidence reached its lowest level since May 2012 and the second-lowest level for the entire confidence survey period, the Czech Statistical Office (CSU) announced. Confidence in the economy also fell year on year in June.

ukraine Czech police investigates participation of Czech volunteers in Ukraine

Police in the Czech Republic are investigating the participation of Czech volunteers in fighting in Ukraine, iRozhlas.cz reports. Investigators are looking into at least 10 cases of Czech citizens who have joined Ukraine’s army in its defense against Russia's invasion without the required permission from the Czech president. Although President Miloš Zeman granted permission to around 100 Czechs in May, other applications have been turned down.

elections Petr Pavel remains one of the favorites of the presidential elections

General Petr Pavel remains one of the favorites of the presidential election despite the fact that he has still not fully launched his presidential election campaign. According to data from a STEM / MARK survey, Pavel is considered an acceptable option by 50 percent of voters, while 34 percent find him unacceptable. He was the only candidate with a more favorable than unfavorable perception. In second was Pavel Fischer, with 42 percent favorable and 45 percent unfavorable. Former prime minister Andrej Babiš was third with 41 percent favorable and 57 percent unfavorable.

Politics Pirates drafting 13 anti-corruption measures

The junior Czech government Pirates have drafted a package of 13 anti-corruption legislative measures they would like to push through on all public administration levels, Pirate deputy group head Jakub Michálek told reporters. The Pirates' initiative may have been motivated by the recent corruption scandal that implicated its coalition partner, the Mayors and Independents (STAN), with which the Pirate Party was running in tandem in the last autumn general election.

June 23, 2022

Weather Heavy storms expected in Czechia on Friday

On Friday afternoon and evening, strong, sometimes very strong storms will arrive in the western half of the Czech Republic. The most intense torrential rains are likely to occur in most of Central Bohemia, Prague, the east of the Plzeň region, South Bohemia, Vysočina, and parts of northeastern Bohemia. Heavy rains in the south of the country could raise river levels to the first degree of flooding, according to the current warnings of the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (CHMÚ).

Labor Czech Television unions declare strike alert

Unions at public broadcaster Czech Television (ČT) have declared a strike alert. They oppose austerity measures that were announced at the end of May by CEO Petr Dvořák. These call for 250 jobs to be cut by 2024. The unions are calling for the immediate start of negotiations with the political representatives responsible for financing Czech Television unions add that the proposed cuts will reduce the quality of service to the public.

Crime Kladno hit by internet outage due to tampering

Thousands of residents of Kladno have been affected by the failure of the Internet and landlines due to the attempted theft of an optical cable. The damage is estimated at roughly CZK 2 million. Police are searching for the perpetrator who could be charged with theft and damage as well as creating a threat to the operation of community service. These carry a sentence of one to six years in prison. The outage affected the town's financial office, some post offices, and the rail station ticketing system, TV Nova reported. Some customers were still without service as of the afternoon.

Crime Police bust drug gang in the Olomouc region

In the biggest raid on drug traffickers in the Olomouc region, police have uncovered an organized group making methamphetamine and distributing it in Czechia and Poland. Seven men including one a foreigner, aged from 30 to 55 years, have been accused. If convicted, they face up to 18 years in prison. According to detectives, the gang made at least 6.5 kilos of crystal meth worth CZK 13 million between autumn of 2020 and June 9, 2022. Detectives also seized seven meth-cooking units, one kilo of the drug, and CZK 1 million in cash.  

business PPF and Škoda Auto reach agreement over logo

From 2029, only the Mladá Boleslav-based car maker Škoda Auto will be able to use Škoda name and the winged arrow emblem. The similarly named Plzeň-based engineering conglomerate Škoda Group, which belongs to PPF, has sold the rights to the brand name. The agreement is intended to put an end to the trademark dispute between the two companies. PPF said in a press release that “the time has come to respect reality and resolve disagreements over the scope of rights, where completely different products operate on the market under the same brand.” The Škoda logo with a winged arrow dates to December 1923.  

Justice ECHR rules against Supreme Administrative Court

The disciplinary panel of the Czech Supreme Administrative Court (NSS) which is in charge of proceedings against judges, prosecutors, and distrainers, does not meet the required independence and impartiality, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled, according to the server Ceska justice. The ECHR said the Czech Republic had breached the right to a fair trial and it asked the court to correct this. The court decided on the complaint lodged by distrainer Jan Grosam who said the disciplinary proceedings with him did not have the character of a fair trial and there was no appeal process.

Equality Stand Up project educates witnesses of sexual harassment

The international educational project Stand Up, dealing with public harassment, was introduced in the Czech Republic and Slovakia today. Its main goal is to teach the general public how to approach harassment and help the victims, the organization said in a press release. A poll by the Ipsos agency showed that over 77 percent of women have experienced sexual harassment in public, and that rose to 90 percent for women under 34.

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