In the first in a series of discussion dinners organised by the European Leadership & Academic Institute (ELAI) with the new members of the government, the minister of Agriculture Marian Jurečka sat down to talk about his plans for agriculture and the direction in which he plans to steer the ministry during his term in the office. The event, which took place on March 6 at the scenic Villa Richter just by the Old Castle Steps, overlooking the Prague skyline, was attended by key stakeholders, ranging from business owners from the food and agriculture sector to members of industry, among others. Minister Jurečka argued that agriculture is a stable sector, very suitable for investment, but also emphasised the need to start treating water as a strategic commodity if agriculture is to remain sustainable. Additionally, Minister Jurečka also argued for the need of a long term strategy, one that has been missing and that would provide a certain degree of predictability for the future. In the upcoming weeks, the series of discussion dinners will continue with a get-together with Deputy Prime Minister Pavel Bělobrádek, followed by Minister for Regional Development Věra Jourová, and Minister of Industry and Trade Jan Mládek.
Insufficient capacity of preschool facilities, lack of flexible working arrangements and persistent social stereotypes are the most common obstacles to Czech women willing to return to work after maternity leave. Flexibility in the form of part-time jobs, home office or job sharing could often help women with children to get back to the working process more easily. Czech society is very conservative in this respect compared to the rest of the EU Member States. These weaknesses of Czech labour market have also been pointed out in the set of recommendations by the European Commission within the European semester and were the main topic of a debate devoted to obstacles in the labour market for women on maternity leave co-organized by CEBRE, Czech Chamber of Commerce, European Commission Representation to the CR and European Parliament’s Information Office in the CR on 17th December 2013 in Prague.
After three years of intensive negotiations between the European Parliament and EU Member States the reform of the Common agricultural policy (CAP) was finally approved in December 2013. Due to the fact that the implementation of the new legislation into national standards will take at least half a year, new CAP rules will come into force in 2015. As in previous years, CAP is to become the biggest slice of the European budget pie (39%). Under the new rules, quota systems, namely for milk, sugar and wine, should temporarily persist. The modernized CAP Directive should have an impact on the Czech agriculture, especially in the field of reduction of direct payments. What other impacts will have this reform on Czech farmers and what are the general CAP benefits has been discussed during a debate co-organized by CEBRE, Czech Chamber of Commerce, European Commission Representation to the CR and European Parliament’s Information Office in the CR on the 19th February 2014 in Prague.
St Patrick’s Day, 17 March, was celebrated in style in the Czech Republic. The Petřín Tower in Prague and the Ostrava City Hall joined Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative to mark the Irish Nati onal Day. The lights on the Petřín Tower turned green on Friday evening, 14 March in the presence of Prague City Mayor Tomáš Hudeček, Mayor of Prague 1, Oldřich Lomecký, and Her Excellency Alison Kelly, Ambassador of Ireland, who marked the event with a traditional toast of Jameson Irish whiskey. The Greening was made possible by the generous support of Tourism Ireland, Žabka, and the Czech Irish Business and Cultural Association. On the evening of St Patrick’s Day, Ambassador Kelly hosted a reception in the beautiful Mayor’s Residence for friends of Ireland, including members of the Government and the Chamber of Deputies, the Mayor and members of the City Council, diplomatic and business colleagues and t he Irish community.
The premiere of the show “The Alchemist of Dream”, which took place at Ponec Theatre in Prague on Friday 7th of March, 2014 has provided a brilliant, unique an artistic experience to the audience. The symbiosis of original piano music, composed and performed by Maestro José Miguel Maschietto, with fragile scenic dance of Michaela Josífková, carried the audience on a symbolic journey into the mysterious world of dreams – through harmonies and shades of colors, from silence to the rhytm.
A record-breaking number of the members and friends of the Czechoslovak Foreign Institute and Czech and Slovak speaking diplomats was interested in meeting the youngest chairman of the Chamber of Deputies in the Czech history and maybe in Europe Jan Hamáček (ČSSD) on February 25. The thirty-five-year old politician, at the age of 27 already adviser of the Prime minister, since 2006 deputy and member of the International committee and Committee for European affairs in the Chamber, caught attention of members by his knowledge and professional speech.
More than hundred members and friends of the Czechoslovak Foreign Institute and its Club of Czech and Slovak speaking foreign diplomats met in the unique Strahov monastery. The abbot of the monastery Michael Josef Pojezdný, the member of the Czechoslovak Foreign Institute, has offered splendid space of the monastery refectory and allows quests to enter unique halls of the Strahov library for five years now.
European Awards and Benefit Cheques Trebbia on March 9th, 2014.
The Gala Evening was held under the auspices of Miloš Zeman, President of the Czech Republic Daniel Herman, Minister of Culture of the Czech Republic Laureates of the Trebbia European Award 2014 for SUPPORT OF CULTURE AND THE ARTS: Juan González de Quirós y Corujo, Count of La Carrera (*1943), Art Patron and Collector (Spain)
Rudolf Kallat (*1938), Trained hospitality manager and restaurateur (Austria) Viacheslav Zarenkov (*1951), Doctor of economics, founder and president of Etalon (Russian Federation) Laureates of the Trebbia European Award 2014 for CREATIVE ACTIVITIES: Annie Leibovitz (*1949), Prominent U.S. photographer (United States) Jiří Srnec (*1931), Theatre producer and the inventor of “black theatre” (Czech Republic) Jane McAdam Freud (*1958), Prominent English sculptor and artist (United Kingdom) Laureates of the Trebbia European Award 2014 for CONTRIBUTION TO NATIONAL DIALOGUE OF CULTURES: Kunying Straková (*1969), Chinese painter and curator (Czech Republic – China) Jiří Straka (*1967), Czech Sinologue and artist (Czech Republic – China) Laureates of the Trebbia European Award 2014 for LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT Štefan Kvietik (*1934), Leading Slovak actor and theatre instructor (Slovakia)
On Thursday, March 6, 2014 the Prague Žofín palace hosted a traditional meeting of representatives of Czech companies – exporters into the Russian Federation and Commonwealth of Independent States. The 13th annual Czech-Russian Entrepreneur Ball was organized by the Chamber of Trade and Industry for CIS Countries, a special chamber of commerce.
On the first spring day, March 20, the Edith Stein Foundation held an honorary reception at Kampa Park Restaurant. The family foundation commenced its activities with translating the full work of a unique 20th century philosopher Edith Stein from its German original to Czech and held a commemorative reception on the occasion of completing and publishing the first volume of the collected works; Stein’s doctoral dissertation “On the Problem of Empathy”. Introductory words about the philosophical and spiritual significance of Edith Stein were pronounced by the Minister of Culture of the Czech Republic, Mr. Daniel Herman, by the Directors of the foundation Mr. Albin Sybera, Mr. Albin Sybera jr. and Ms. Adela Syberova and also by a special guest Mr. Manuel Herder, Owner of the Herder family publishing house. Honoring the legacy of the Judeo-Christian philosopher, the evening was well attended by important representatives of the Catholic and Jewish communities of the Czech Republic, by Senators and Members of the Parliament and also by guests affiliated with the Czech cultural and business society. Wonderful weather and fine cuisine of Kampa Park Restaurant contributed to the delightful atmosphere of the entire evening, which provided an opportunity for genuine conversations about matters surpassing our daily work obligations.
First session of the CFO Club in 2014 was held on February 26 in the Grand Hotel Bohemia in Prague. “Prognosis of economic development in 2014 and a look back at 2013” was the topic of the discussion in which differences in development of Czech and Slovak economies were mentioned. All speakers predicted a slight growth for 2014.
Wednesday March 5th saw the presentation of the “Přítomnost prize” of 100.000 Czech crowns at Národní kavárna on Národní street to three amateur authors, who wrote in essays to the magazine focusing on the so-called “Czech question”, namely that of Czech identity. Přítomnost the country’s oldest and best-known political social commentary magazine, also celebrated its 90th birthday. The magazine was founded with a million crowns from Cezchoslovakia’s first president T G Masaryk, who gave the money to Jaroslav Stránský, grandfather of the present publisher Dr. Martin Jan Stránský. Jaroslav recruited Ferdinand Peroutka, the greatest journalist of the day, to be the magazine’s first editor, which set the magazine’s reputation. Following 1948, the magazine was predictably banned, but was resurrected again by Dr. Stránsky, who eventually converted it to its present internet format (www.pritomnost.cz). The magazine also has its own English language section “The New Presence” which can be reached via the same website. Currently, the magazine enjoys steadily rising popularity among intellectuals, leaders as well as students. Accordingly, the award was very well attended. In the audience were some of the country’s most famous literary talents as well as political commentators, such as Ivan Klíma, Michal Fleishman, Jan Hartl and many others. The event was also symbolic in that it took place in Národní kavárna, which is reviving the tradition as its home to the literary community of journalists in inter-war Czechoslovakia.