Daily news summary 20.6.2016
Police president suspected of serious leak: Ostrava head of special police unit
The head of the Ostrava unit of a special police squad for combating organized crime has told public service broadcaster Czech Television that Czech police president Tomáš Tuhý is suspected of a serious leak of information concerning investigations into a case. Jiří Komárek said he wanted to take his evidence before a parliamentary committee. He added that the evidence would bolster the arguments that that moves to reorganize the police are not based on any objectives such as increased efficiency but are intended to get rid of the head of the police unit for combating organized crime, Robert Šlachta. Šlachta, who has already stepped down from his post, called Monday for a special meeting of parliament’s security committee. The moves to reform the police and merge two of its key units have sparked a crisis in the Czech government coalition with the second biggest party, ANO, now calling for a rewrite of aspects of the agreement between the three government parties. Police president Tuhý later denied being behind any leak.
Outgoing police chief requests special meeting of Parliament’s security committee
The outgoing head of the police unit for fighting organized crime Robert Šlachta has requested a special meeting of Parliament’s security committee. The head of the elite unit, who handed in his resignation in protest over the planned police reform, said he wanted to inform the committee about possible connections between the police and the criminal underworld.
NATO’s General Petr Pavel says defense spending not rising fast enough
The second highest NATO official, General Petr Pavel, has criticized the pace of increased defense spending by the Czech Republic and other members of the military alliance saying it does not respond adequately to the current security situation. The Czech chairman of the NATO Military Committee was Monday on his first official visit to the Czech Republic since taking up the top post. He pointed out that the Czech Republic is among the bottom quarter of alliance countries in boosting its military spending. Talks with top Czech military in Prague covered the upcoming NATO summit in Warsaw and joint NATO exercises in the Baltics.
Libya asks for Czech assistance in rebuilding public administration and training of security forces
Libya has expressed interest in Czech assistance in rebuilding its public administration and stabilization of its security forces, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaorálek told journalists on Monday. Mr. Zaorálek who held talks with Libyan representatives last week, said the country could help train Libyan police and security forces and provide knowhow in public administration. He said Libya would specify its needs in the coming months.
Czech growth likely to shrink up to 0.23 percent a year in case of Brexit: Deloitte
A British withdrawal from the European Union could result in a drop in Czech growth of up to 0.23 percent of Gross Domestic Product a year or around 10.4 billion crowns, according to a study released on Monday by the consultancy Deloitte. The Deloitte study is based on figures from the British Treasury which sees GDP down by 3.6 percent in the short term compared to the scenario if the country remained in the group of 28 countries. The long term impact over 15 year is shrinking of GDP to the tune of 3.4 to 4.3 percent. The consequences are based on Britain, like Norway, signed up to the European Economic Area (EEA) if it quit the EU. The impact would be much more dramatic if Britain just remained in the World Trade Organisation.
New wider coalition agreed to govern Brno
A new coalition agreement has been agreed between parties aimed at governing the Czech Republic’s second biggest city Brno. The new deal includes all the parties that took part in the previous coalition that collapsed in April. These are ANO, Live Brno, the Greens, and Christian Democrats. This time round, the TOP 09 party has been added to the coalition. Petr Vokřál will remain as mayor but changes have been made to the executive council. One of the main promises of the new coalition is a cut in tram and other public transport fares in the city.
State Cinematography Fund criticized by spending watchdog
Czech spending watchdog, the Supreme Audit Office (NKÙ), has criticized the functioning of the State Cinematography Fund. The fund has existed since 2013 with the aim of helping the domestic Czech film industry and encouraging foreign film makers to produce films in the country. In its report, the watchdog said that the fund had only drawn up a framework for its overall actions two years after being created. It added the funding decisions appeared arbitrary, opaque, and without sufficient checks. Between 2013 and 2015 the fund distributed around 500 million crowns mostly funded from the state budget.
Czech police return to Macedonian-Greek border
Forty Czech police are travelling to Macedonia to take up positions on the border with Greece and help local forces deal with the immigration crisis. The latest mission is the third time that Czech police have been dispatched to the Macedonian border. They were last there a month-and-a-half ago. Czech police have also been serving in Hungary, Slovenia, and Greece in a bid to help countries affected by the migration crisis.
Czech company buys stake in Serbia’s biggest film studios
Czech company Sebre has bought a 20 percent stake in what was Serbia’s biggest film studio complex. The business daily E15 reported that the Czech millionaires behind Sebre paid more than 10 billion euros for the stake in Avala Film. The Czech company is hoping to revive the studios which are described as the Serbian equivalent of Prague’s Barrandov complex. The hopes for a revival are fueled by the increased incentives being offered by most European states to encourage local film making.
Footballer Petr Jiráček loaned to Jablonec from Sparta Prague
In football, former player for the Czech national team and one of the stars in the 2012 European Championships, Petr Jiráček, has been loaned to north Bohemian club Jablonec for the next year. Midfielder Jiráček has been playing for the last year for Sparta Prague after coming back from spells in the German Bundesliga for Wolfsburg and Hamburg. He made an impression previously at Viktoria Plzeň after being discovered at second division Sokolov.