Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas (Civic Democrats, ODS) gave a brutal warning that the country’s budget deficit could jump to a staggering 6.0 percent of GDP if the billions of euros in payments from EU funding for programs now frozen — due to doubts in Brussels about how the money has been used and accounted for by the Czechs — are not cleared up.
The pomp and ceremony of Václav Havel’s state funeral on Friday will be followed by much smaller and private ceremonies for family and friends. The urn containing Havel’s ashes to be placed in the family tomb in one of Prague’s main cemeteries. The famously modest Czech playwright, statesman and global human rights campaigner had asked that no special inscription mark his final resting place.
Czech Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek (TOP 09) lambasted the proposal put forward on Wednesday by José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, to introduce a European-wide tax on all financial transactions. Kalousek described Barroso’s call for banks and financial institutions to be made to pay back their debt to the taxpayers as “beautiful populism.”
The number of applications for asylum in Canada is at its lowest level since 2006, the UNHCR says in a new report, noting a steep drop in applicants from Mexico and the Czech Republic stemming from the imposition of visa restrictions. Czech MEPs have pushed through a declaration criticizing Canada’s visa regime: The issue could scupper the EU-Canada free trade deal Ottawa has been pushing for since 2007.
Worldwide, the politician that Czechs trust most is US President Barack Obama, who was also the most well-known leader among respondents, after his Czech counterpart, Václav Klaus. Politicians from neighboring countries also did well, with Germany’s Angela Merkel placing third in the poll. At the far end of the scale, France’s Nicolas Sarkozy and Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi were the lowest ranked EU leaders, while Russia’s Vladimir Putin was last overall.
Nowhere in the EU is the risk of falling into poverty lower than in the Czech Republic, and the country also can boast one of the lowest percentage of people at risk of ‘social exclusion,’ according to a new Eurostat report. Meanwhile, the EU aims to reduce by 20 million the number of people at risk of poverty in Europe by 2020.