There are optimists who think that Václav Klaus is actually beneficial to the Czech government. Whoever is holding talks in the European Union could say: You should be glad that it is us dealing with you and not Klaus, because he’s a to-tal lu-na-tic. There are realists who say that Klaus’ dabbling in European politics can be ignored. He is a harmless clown, a circus attraction, that we should not take too seriously. However, the last few days gave rise to pessimism: Klaus is no longer harmless. To sign a peace agreement with him for the time of the Czech EU presidency seems now more difficult than ever before. The cabinet may have no other possibility but to ask theContinue Reading

When the Constitutional court decided last week that house owners may claim damages from the state that they have suffered from rent regulation, it did not receive applause from the representatives of the association of house owners. They said they do not believe in Czech courts any more. And they expect justice to come from Strasbourg. If this is so, the shame of our judiciary cannot be more evident. Almost 5,000 house owners have filed lawsuits against the Czech state with the European Court of Human Rights. They are requesting compensation totalling CZK 4.5 billion as the rent that they collect in their houses with regulated rent does not cover all the building maintenance costs and the expenses for flatsContinue Reading

Leaders of the country’s most powerful political parties have disclosed their personal property holdings ahead of October’s elections. Only ODS chairman Mirek Topolánek refused HN’s request for information about his net worth. The richest party leader is Karel Schwarzenberg, chairman of TOP 09. Among Schwarzenberg’s reported properties are estates in Čimelice, Karlov, Rakovice, Hraběšín, Kutná Hora-Sedlec and many others, as well as real estate in Germany and Austria. Schwarzenberg has CZK 700,000 in the bank and roughly CZK 9 million more in other financial vehicles. ČSSD chairman Jiří Paroubek lives in a flat which belongs to his wife. He has a cottage in the country but does not own a car. The former prime minister has CZK 700,000 on hisContinue Reading