Overview of Czech news: Tuesday, April 12, 2022
11:15 Babiš said to apologize to senator for ‘psychopath’ allegation
Former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš was ordered to apologize to Pirate Party Senator Lukáš Wagenknecht for his repeated description of Wagenknecht as a “psychopath” and part of an organized plot to destroy him politically. Babiš’s lawyer has confirmed that the leader of the ANO party will appeal the verdict handed down today by the district court in Prague-West.
11:05 Fiala calls US military base ‘beautiful wish’, no firm plan
Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala this morning called the proposal to establish a permanent US military presence in the Czech Republic “a nice wish”, but not high on the list of national priorities. Fiala pointed out that no real negotiations on this subject are yet underway with the American authorities. The possible establishment of a permanent presence of American troops on Czech territory was suggested by Defense Minister Jana Černochová in an interview on Saturday, and sparked considerable controversy.
Army The controversy erupts over the proposal for an American military base
Andrej Babiš expressed his opposition to the idea of a new military base for the US military in the Czech Republic. Babiš said the best solution would be to hold a referendum on the issue after Defense Minister Jana Černochová raised the possibility of a new US base on Saturday.
Černochová was criticized for telling Deník N that after Easter she would meet her American counterpart to discuss the possibility of establishing a permanent American presence in Czechia. The Biden administration appears to have been taken by surprise by Černochová’s statement, refusing to engage in firm talks on a military base despite the Czech government’s open invitation.
Refugees Accusations of Roma discrimination at the refugee center
The server Romea.cz reported a case of alleged segregation and racism at a processing center for Ukrainian refugees in Ostrava. It is claimed that the Roma refugees were separated from the non-Roma refugees and taken to another area marked off with duct tape and overturned tables. They weren’t allowed to leave space.
The governor of the Moravian-Silesian region, Ivo Vondrák, accused the Roma refugees of theft. But local police denied the allegation and said they had yet to deal with a robbery incident at the refugee centre.
Environment Czechia is committed to the Green Deal, confirms the minister
Environment Minister Anna Hubáčková said the Czech Republic will not give up on the EU Green Deal and its 55 climate goals. Speaking to her Austrian counterpart Leonore Gewessler, she referred to the spike in energy and fuel prices caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The EU is now trying to reduce its energy dependence on Moscow, which could lead to a temporary increase in domestic fossil fuel production, including coal mining, according to the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Marian Jurecka. Austria is ahead of the Czech Republic in many environmental areas, such as less reliance on fossil fuels, including natural gas.
Policy C5 foreign ministers meet near Prague
Foreign Ministers from five Central European countries are meeting today at Štiřín Castle near Prague. Ministers will discuss the war in Ukraine and its international repercussions. Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský called the meeting in accordance with the Czech Republic’s leading role in supplying arms and humanitarian aid to Ukraine since the start of the war.
The C5 group includes the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria and Slovenia. It was created as a regional forum in response to the Covid pandemic and last met six months ago in Vienna.
Economy Vast majority of Czechs fear rising inflation
A Generali Investments CEE survey conducted March 11-15 of 1,050 Czech respondents found that 95% of the country are worried about the effects of inflation on their finances. The survey came before new figures were announced yesterday, showing an even bigger rise in inflation.
Year-on-year inflation in March reached 12.7%. The March survey found that three-quarters of Czechs have already changed the way they think about their finances and savings, although only a fifth have started investing more in the wake of the economic downturn.