Overview of Czech news: Friday, March 11, 2022

11:54 Door open to Ukraine’s EU membership, says Fiala

European Union leaders want to send a message to Ukraine that EU membership is open to the country and that the EU cares about Ukraine’s future, Czech leader Petr Fiala as the EU leaders’ summit in Versailles, France entered its second day. “We know that a country’s path to the European Union sometimes takes years, even a decade, but we want to make it clear here: we want you,” Fiala said.

10:54 The former artistic director of the Karlovy Vary Festival has died

Eva Zaoralová, longtime artistic director of the renowned Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, died yesterday at the age of 89, a KVIFF spokesperson announced today. As a film publicist, Zaoralová mainly focused on French and Italian cinema. She worked closely with KVIFF director Jiří Bartoška to restore the festival’s international prestige from 1994, serving as artistic director until 2010 and remaining involved as an artistic advisor thereafter. Zaoralová is credited with playing a major role in transforming KVIFF into one of the most prestigious events on the global film calendar.

Ukrainian conflict EU summit underway to discuss new sanctions against Russia

The presidents and prime ministers of EU member states are in France to discuss the tightening of sanctions against Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine. A joint statement released after the first day of talks, however, did not address Ukraine’s request for fast-track EU membership, as it is an issue that divides EU member states. .

The summit of the Palace of Versailles continues today. On the issue of Ukraine’s accelerated EU membership, some member states have even spoken out actively against the opposition, including Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who has warned that “there is no accelerated procedure”. Bloc leaders are expected to discuss new sanctions against Russia, with a separate statement pledging to reduce dependence on Russian gas and increase defense spending.

Security Czech defense spending well below NATO requirements

The budget of the Czech Ministry of Defense will be 89.1 billion Czech crowns this year, or 1.35% of GDP. This figure is significantly lower than the 2% of GDP required by the NATO alliance for collective defence. The budget was increased by CZK 1 billion at the special request of the government yesterday.

The defense budget has increased from a year ago, but its size as a share of GDP has shrunk as part of wider cuts aimed at reducing the Czech Republic’s huge public deficit. The new coalition government led by Petr Fiala has pledged to increase defense spending to 2% of GDP by 2025, the year of the next Czech election.

Economy The Sberbank guarantee system comes into effect

Komerční banka has so far processed 21,275 requests from Czech Sberbank customers, two days after the financial market guarantee scheme began paying deposit compensation to those affected by the revocation of the Russian bank’s license by the Czech National Bank following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Komerční banka paid out compensations amounting to nearly CZK 10 billion, or about 40% of deposits. Cash demands amount to CZK 275 million, leading police to warn those making large deposits to beware of criminals. Around 106,000 customers will have to be compensated following the disappearance of Sberbank from the market, with around CZK 24.2 billion to be paid.

cyber security Czech company Avast ceases operations in Russia

Czech antivirus provider Avast stopped selling its products in Russia and Belarus following the invasion of Ukraine. At the same time, the company will expand the licensing of free paid products in Ukraine and provide other users in the country with the opportunity to obtain free versions of the company’s software.

Avast is one of the most successful technology companies in the Czech Republic and the second largest antivirus company in the world. It has been operating in Russia for almost 20 years. It has a considerable number of employees in Russia and Ukraine, so the company said it is focused on protecting all of its staff to the best of its ability, including continuing to pay full His salary.

Refugees EU funds could help Czechia in refugee crisis

European Union funds could be used to resolve the crisis by dealing with the influx of Ukrainian refugees into Czech regions. Regional Development Minister Ivan Bartoš discussed the use of EU funds, under the European Commission’s CARE (Cohesive Actions for Refugees in Europe) plan published on 8 March.

Bartoš said that Czechia is “thoroughly checking the possibility of using the proposal within the framework of our programs and the possibilities of use for the regions”. On the other hand, the long-term effects of using EU funds to solve problems must also be taken into account, he said.

Berta D. Wells