Press Advisories

24. 5. 2021 19:07

Government discusses Coal Commission outcomes and emergency measure amendments while deciding to help at-risk women tackle menstrual poverty

Press conference after the government meeting, 24 May 2021.
Press conference after the government meeting, 24 May 2021.
On 24 May 2021, Andrej Babiš’s government discussed the scenario of a decline in the use of coal in the Czech Republic, assistance to women at risk of menstrual poverty and further relaxation of anti-epidemic measures. It also approved the distribution of the Just Transition Fund between the Ústí nad Labem, Karlovy Vary and Moravian-Silesian regions.

The government took note of the Coal Commission’s interim outputs and recommendations. The Coal Commission assessed that the most advantageous scenario for phasing-out the use of coal in the Czech Republic is the “conceptual scenario”, which envisages 2038 as a realistic date for phasing-out coal from a technical, safety and economic point of view, as well as in terms of impact on emissions.

However, the government recommended that the Coal Commission elaborate and evaluate in more detail the conditions, instruments and impacts of an earlier phase-out of coal from the Czech energy sector, and it ordered the Coal Commission to prepare a detailed decarbonisation schedule for individual types of sources with regard to their emission intensity, drafts of the necessary regulatory and legislative instruments to enforce the government’s goals in this area and a detailed assessment and solution of economic and social impacts in regions affected by the phase-out. The Commission is to submit further outputs to the government by 31 December. For more information, see the press release of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (in Czech language).

The government has also approved plans to purchase disposable sanitary pads for humanitarian aid supplies for the State to support socially disadvantaged women facing menstrual poverty. The State, through the Administration of State Material Reserves (ASMR), will purchase ten million pieces of these sanitary items and release two million of them through food banks for women in need. Every year, the ASMR will replace two million pads and release the discarded ones gratuitously through food banks again. The reserve itself will be kept for crisis situations. For more information, see the press release of the Ministry of Finance (in Czech language).

The Cabinet also discussed and approved a proposal for the distribution of the Just Transition Fund between the Ústí nad Labem, Karlovy Vary and Moravian-Silesian regions. A total of CZK 41 billion will be available from European sources from this fund for the three regions structurally affected by the reduction in coal mining and coal use. This money is intended to mitigate the effects of the reduction, both social and economic, for example to reduce unemployment, support restructuring, but also to restore the devastated landscape. The Ministry of the Environment, in cooperation with the Ministry of Regional Development, developed a methodology for allocating these funds which evaluates the current situation in individual regions and used it to decide that the Karlovy Vary region would receive CZK 6.3 billion, Ústí nad Labem CZK 15.8 billion and Moravian-Silesian CZK 18.9 billion.

The government also agreed to change the user of the State-owned office building at Štěpánská Street in Prague from the Czech Trade Inspection Authority to the Business and Investment Development Agency (CzechInvest). This step will make it possible to continue the synergy project of the CzechInvest, CzechTrade and CzechTourism implementing agencies.

It also approved an amendment to a government regulation on the implementation of certain provisions of the Act on Insurance and Financing of Exports with State Aid, which, in line with the amendment to the Temporary framework for State aid measures to support the economy in the current emergency of COVID-19 of the European Commission, extends the provision of guarantees by the Export Guarantee and Insurance Company for the repayment of loans provided by banks to exporters, manufacturing and trading companies facing liquidity shortages due to the unfavourable economic situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic until 31 December 2021.

The government has also discussed amendments to the existing anti-epidemic measuresFrom 25 May 2021, the conditions for accommodation of guests in hotels or boarding houses change so that to the hitherto valid possibilities of demonstrating absence of infection now also include the following: an employer’s confirmation of having passed a test; a statutory declaration of having passed a test; passing an antigen self-test on site. At the same time, the obligation to prove absence of infection will not apply to children under the age of six.

Other changes will enter into force on 31 May and they concern, among other things, academic ceremonies at higher education institutions, entrance examinations at tertiary vocational schools, the organisation of congresses and educational events, and choir activities. Open-air swimming pools, swimming pools and paddling pools will also be able to open at 50% of capacity, and the ban on group tours of castles, chateaux, museums and trade fairs is to be lifted as well. Groups of up to 30 people will be allowed subject to meeting certain conditions. The restrictions on the number of visitors will cease to apply to the outdoor areas of zoos and botanical gardens; only the indoor pavilions will be restricted, namely by the number of persons per area. The number of persons at sporting or association events will also increase, to 75 people indoors and 150 people outdoors.

From 1 June 2021, there will be a change in the payment for Covid-19 tests by health insurance companies. In June, insurance companies will cover one antigen test every seven days and two PCR tests a month. On the same date, the rules for entry into the Czech Republic will also change in response to the European Union regulation on the issue of a digital Covid certificate. It will be possible to use this certificate to comply with the conditions for entry related to having passed a test, being vaccinated or having recovered from Covid-19. People coming to the Czech Republic will be able to avoid the mandatory testing using the national vaccination certificate.

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