Prague, May 12 (CTK) – The Czech Regional Development Ministry’s proposal that the Prague Castle complex be owned by the Czech Republic was dismissed as impudence by Agriculture Minister Marian Jurecka, Christian Democrat (KDU-CSL) deputy chairman, in a statement for CTK yesterday.
The ministry sent the bill to other ministries to make their comments within 20 days.
Lawmaker Jeronym Tejc (senior government Social Democrats, CSSD), said the proposed bill would only have a symbolic importance, while it would cost the state hundreds of millions of crowns.
Prague Castle is the seat of Czech heads of state.
President Milos Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek said the Presidential Office will leave it up to lawmakers to assess the proposal.
But they should keep in mind the agreement the Castle signed with the Catholic Church on property settlement in March.
Jurecka said he does not comprehend why the bill has been drafted and why Regional Development Minister Karla Slechtova (for ANO) is dealing with it.
“I consider talk about the nationalisation of historical buildings an unbelievable impudence. I do not understand the motives,” Jurecka said.
“There already has been April Fools’s Day, hasn’t it?” KDU-CSL chairman Pavel Belobradek texted to CTK.
The party wrote in a press release that the proposal is unbelievable, there exists no public interest to nationalise it and that there are also other possible solutions.
Slechtova wrote on Twitter yesterday that citizens themselves should decide on “whether Castle as a symbol of the Czech Republic should belong to one church, or to all of us.”
Tejc, chairman of the Chamber of Deputies’ constitutional-legal committee, wrote that the law might not be at variance with the constitution, but that he doubts its sense.
“As far as I know, we would nationalise it, pay hundreds of millions of crowns to the church for the transfer of ownership to the state, and eventually would sign an agreement on use which would probably be free of charge,” Tejc said.
As a result, hundreds of millions would be paid for symbolism, Tejc wrote, but said the proposal can still be discussed.
“Every political party as well as a government member can submit any bill. But is is up to the lawmakers to make a decision on such a bill,” Ovcacek told CTK.
A similar proposal was made by the Communists (KSCM), which the government rejected on Wednesday, but the Chamber of Deputies will still discuss it soon.
The Communists proposed that the law on Prague Castle embed the right to managing the real estate within the complex, other real estate which creates one functioning whole with it and related movable property.
Ovcacek also pointed to the agreement on property settlement between the Castle and the Catholic Church.
According to it, the All Saints’ Church, including the land and movable furnishings, will go to the All Saints’ Collegiate Chapter at Prague Castle. The Metropolitan Chapter will gain the Provost’s Residence and the Religious Foundation will gain the St George’s Convent.
The church gave up claims to another seven properties at Prague Castle, which will allow the Prague Castle Administration to repair and operate them.
“Lawmakers should keep this in mind in their decision-making,” Ovcacek said.
The Regional Development Ministry justifies the bill by both historical and practical reasons, including heritage protection and the protection of the president of the republic in his seat.
The Catholic Church considers it a breach of private property protection.