Monday, 17 June 2019

Commissioner: Finances for 1918 events not to be cut

17 May 2018

Prague, May 16 (CTK) - The sum of over 400 million crowns that the Czech Republic plans to spend on the events marking the centenary of Czechoslovakia's birth in 1918 and other anniversaries will not be cut, Culture Ministry state secretary Zdenek Novak in charge of their funding told CTK on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO), who was the finance minister in the previous cabinet, said a week ago that some of the events were overpriced, such as some of those to be held abroad, while the celebrations should primarily belong to the citizens of the Czech Republic.

Babis said the previous government had approved the budget of the events without entrusting anyone to supervise them. He wanted Novak to coordinate their financing and single out those which need not be financed by the state.

"The budget will not be changed," Novak said on Wednesday.

The events include various exhibitions, commemorative acts, festivals and a military parade.

This year, the 100 years of the establishment of Czechoslovakia will be the most important anniversary.

Besides, Czechs commemorate the unfortunate anniversaries of the 1948 Communist seizure of power in Czechoslovakia and the 1968 Soviet-led invasion that crushed the Prague Spring communist-led reform movement.

The budget for the events was approved by the previous government of the Social Democrats (CSSD), ANO and Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) last May.

Under the approved document, most events (66) are planned by organisations under the Culture Ministry, followed by the Defence Ministry (46). This is why the Culture Ministry's budget was raised by 180 million crowns this year.

Out of the 322 million crowns that the celebrations cost this year, 33 million went to the interior and regional development ministries, and over 20 million to the foreign and education ministries and the Science Academy.

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