Weekend news: Czechia finishes tenth in Eurovision, florists expect big Mother's Day

Plus: Miss Czech Republic crowned, ANO rejects tax increase, and more weekend headlines.

Expats.cz Staff ČTK

Written by Expats.cz StaffČTK Published on 13.05.2023 08:59:00 (updated on 14.05.2023) Reading time: 6 minutes

ECONOMY Fiala's government won't back down on austerity measures

Prime Minister Petr Fiala has stated that the government's austerity package, which aims to consolidate public finances, will not see any fundamental changes. The measures will focus on reducing national subsidies, state operating expenses, and increasing revenues by introducing new taxes, such as on tobacco, alcoholic products, and gambling.

Fiala has rejected criticism from unions and indicated that the government will not be giving in to any kind of pressure, including strikes or protests. He expects pressure from many parties but emphasized that the cabinet is conducting a dialogue with unions. The prime minister also defended the edits to the tax system, which will be made socially sensitively.

POLITICS ANO party rejects tax increase, calls for return of EET

The opposition ANO party in the Czech Republic has proposed preventing tax evasion and initiating a discussion about returning to electronic sales records (EET) rather than increasing taxes. ANO's shadow cabinet chairman, Karel Havlíček, accused the government of being unable to handle professional work or communication in the shadow government's almost 90-page document.

The ODS, KDU-ČSL, TOP 09, STAN, and Pirate coalition presented an austerity package to reduce the state budget deficit by 94 billion crowns next year, but ANO claimed that it repeated "textbook national economic mistakes" and that the path to balanced budgets does not lead through the suffocation of the economy.

EUROVISION Czech band Vesna places tenth in Eurovision song contest

The competition was held in Liverpool, England, under the slogan "united by music", while Ukraine faced further Russian raids. The band Vesna includes members from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Russia, and Bulgaria.

Swedish singer Loreen won the Eurovision contest for the second time with her hit "Tattoo", making her only the second participant in history to do so, after Irish singer Johnny Logan. Czech all-girl international band Vesna finished in tenth place, which is the second best result for the Czech Republic in the competition, with their song "My Sister's Crown".

holiday Czech florists expect strong year for Mother's Day sales

Florists in Prague expect the third-highest sales of the year on Mother's Day, with Czechs willing to spend more than CZK 1,000 on flowers. Flowers such as roses, lilies, tulips, hyacinths, and irises are popular. On average, customers spend around CZK 750 on a flower, but this is lower than Valentine's Day spending.

Sales of potted plants are the most successful, but small gifts such as sweets or cosmetics are also in demand. E-shops expect a year-on-year increase in flower sales of up to 15 percent, and delivery services are expecting increased traffic.

Roma and Sinti victims of Holocaust remembered today

On May 14, a commemorative act will be held in Lety u Písek to honor the memory of the victims of the Roma and Sinti Holocaust. The camp site in Lety u Písek operated as the protectorate's so-called gypsy camp in 1942-1943, where entire families of Moravian and Czech Roma and Sinti were forcibly concentrated before being transported to the concentration and extermination camp at Auschwitz II-Birkenau.

The commemorative event s organized by the Museum of Roma Culture together with the Committee for Compensation of the Roma Holocaust in the Czech Republic. The event includes devotional meeting, speeches, floral offerings, and refreshments. Participants are advised to confirm their attendance and arrive via the recommended route.

PAGEANTRY Miss Czech Republic 2023 crowned on Saturday

Justýna Zedníková, a 20-year-old student from the University of Economics in Prague, was crowned as Miss Czech Republic 2023 on Saturday at the Karlín Forum in Prague. She will represent the Czech Republic at the Miss World competition. The event was moderated by Ondřej Novotný and the gala evening was filled with singing performances, musical accompaniment and interviews.

Zedníková received a year's free use of a Mercedes-Benz A-class car in the AMG version, a year's cooperation, and a selection of watches of her choice from Festina, among other prizes. The event had several winners for various international beauty pageants.

Saturday, May 13, 2023

politics Contribution of ODS cabinet greater than of predecessors, Fiala says

The current government's contribution will be greater than that of the previous two cabinets even if it does not pass anything else, Czech Prime Minister and Civic Democrat (ODS) chairman Petr Fiala said at the ODS conference in Prague today.

Fiala also highlighted the government’s willingness to undertake painful and unpopular reforms, such as the package rolled out earlier this week. The cabinet’s priorities for the future include strengthening the Czech energy and security sector, developing the transport network, reducing bureaucracy, and reforming education. 

finance Mattoni surprised by VAT increase

The largest producer of mineral waters in Central Europe, the Mattoni 1873 company, criticized the exclusion of mineral water from the reduced VAT tax bracket announced on Thursday. Mattoni representatives told ČTK non-alcoholic drinks  “should not become luxury goods due to high VAT,” and, given their health properties, should be in the same 12 percent tax bracket as other items with unquestionable health or social importance.

The tax reform placed mineral waters and other non-alcoholic beverages such as soft drinks in the 21 percent VAT bracket. As a result, Mattoni does not rule out raising the prices of goods sold in stores. 

politics Pavel calls for united EU stance towards China

Czech President Petr Pavel has called for a united and realistic stance towards China from the EU and other democracies. Speaking to Reuters, he said that China's actions in the Ukraine war demonstrated that Beijing was not a constructive player.

The EU has been attempting to strike a balance between the views of its 27 member countries and a desire to keep a distinctive EU approach to China while preserving a close partnership with the United States, Pavel added. China’s strategic aims really are not compatible with ours, that values on which Chinese society is built are not and will not be our values," he also said.

travel 40 percent of tourists come to Czechia for culture

About 40 percent of foreign tourists on average come to the Czech Republic in search of cultural heritage, mostly the French, followed by the British, Americans, Austrians, and Germans, representatives of CzechTourism agency and the Association of Music Festivals told reporters at a press conference this week.

Some of the events that attract them are classical music festivals. Jan Herget, director of CzechTourism, said that foreign guests spent about CZK 2,507 per person per day at these events in 2022. He added that, for example, the 2018 Prague Spring Festival brought in around CZK 35 million for cultural tourism. 

sport Czechs defeat Slovaks 3:2 in hockey game

The Czech hockey team won their first match of the World Championship in Riga against Slovakia with a score of 3:2, with Lukáš Sedlák scoring two goals. The team has won their federal derby in a major international event for the fifth time in a row, since their defeat in the 2012 World Cup semi-final.

All five goals were scored in the opening period and the Czechs lost twice at the start of the championship game. They will next face Kazakhstan in their next match in group B on May 15, and host Latvia at a later date.

Events Prague and Uherské Hradiště runners support Memory of the Nation

The charity Run for the Memory of the Nation takes place today in Prague and Uherské Hradiště, with ten-kilometer, five-kilometer and one-kilometer routes and a relay. Organized by non-profit organization Post Bellum, the run allows participants to choose from different routes and distances, and the event aims to remember political prisoners, war veterans, Holocaust victims, and other freedom fighters.

This year, the event will also support Ukraine. The Memory of the Nation is the largest collection of memories of witnesses in Europe, with over 13,000 stories managed by Post Bellum, Czech Radio, and the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes.

traffic Restrictions on Barrandov Bridge start today

Starting today, drivers can expect restrictions on Barrandov Bridge, as preparatory work for the second stage of the bridge’s reconstruction begins. The main work will kick off on May 15. Drivers should expect gradual traffic restrictions on the bridge, including the closure of the access ramp from K Barrandovu Street.

The reconstruction work will last until mid-August and is expected to be more demanding than the first stage. The Barrandov Bridge is the busiest road in Prague, with 140,000 cars crossing it daily. The entire reconstruction project is expected to last several years and cost CZK 594.5 million.

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