Prague – Deputies did not get around to approving proposals to speed up the construction of a deep repository for radioactive waste and to limit the unavailability of some medicines on the Czech market today. At an extraordinary meeting called at the initiative of the coalition, they voted on six draft laws out of the planned eight. The meeting was then interrupted by Olga Richterová (Pirates), chairperson, without giving a date when it should continue. Thus, deputies could discuss the proposals for storage and medicines in the final round at the regular meeting, which will begin in mid-November.
Approval of laws was possible today according to the rules of procedure until 2:00 p.m. However, the Chamber extended this time by around 45 minutes with its verdict on the proposal of the chairman of the ODS deputies, Mark Benda, in order to complete the vote on the proposal for strategic investments. Due to the number of amendments, it dragged on for more than an hour.
Benda’s proposal to further extend the meeting day was then blocked by the opposition clubs ANO and SPD. The leader of the ANO faction, Alena Schillerová, stated that the House of Representatives could have approved the drug law already last week. She paused at the fact that, although she considers it a priority for the coalition, she included it only as the last item of the current extraordinary meeting. “It’s just this kind of media theater that you’re playing here right now, and you’re not talking about the issue at all,” she said.
The draft for the deep storage of radioactive waste sets the rules for individual procedures, where it primarily determines the rights of the municipalities concerned. Deputies will also vote on amendments that would give municipalities the right to veto the construction of such a facility on their territory. They probably won’t support them. In addition, the House of Representatives could remove from the proposal the condition that both parliamentary chambers agree to the government’s decision on construction.
The Radioactive Waste Repository Administration wants to inspect four areas for the construction of the repository, namely Horka and Hrádek in Vysočín, Janoch near Temelín in South Bohemia and Březový potok in Klatovsk. The storage facility was originally supposed to be built by 2065, but there is talk of speeding up construction due to the temporary inclusion of the core in the EU as a green investment. The condition is that countries relying on nuclear energy must have deep storage facilities from 2050.
The drug amendment imposes an obligation on manufacturers to provide the medicinal product for up to two months after the interruption or termination of supplies. Drug distributors will also maintain a monthly supply of drugs that the Ministry of Health places on a special list.
In the amendment, the House of Representatives will probably strengthen some of the powers of the Ministry of Health. According to the amendments, it is authorized to adjust the conditions for the distribution, prescription and dispensing of drugs with limited availability so that “in cases of significant need, it can actively intervene in the path of the medicinal product from production to the patient”.
According to the draft, manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies will report to the State Institute for Medicines Control on the specified date the stock status of the medicinal product whose availability is at risk. The creation of disproportionate stocks in some pharmacies is to be avoided. According to the amendment, distributors will not be allowed to favor selected partner pharmacies.
The opening of the extraordinary parliamentary session was accompanied by verbal exchanges
In the morning before today’s extraordinary meeting called at the initiative of the coalition, the opposition leaders occupied the parliamentary rostrum for about 1.5 hours. They criticized the government, for example, because of the health care situation and because of energy prices. The opening of the Lower Chamber meeting was also accompanied by verbal exchanges after the SPD chairman Tomio Okamura’s speech. The coalition included the approval of eight drafts on the agenda of the meeting. It is not certain whether the deputies will have time to vote on all the proposals. Approval of laws is possible today according to the rules of procedure until 2:00 p.m.
Okamura spoke critically about the fact that, according to him, the deadlines for awarding pensions are still being exceeded, the healthcare sector is in danger of collapsing in connection with doctors’ overtime. Okamura called after the departure of the Minister of Health Vlastimil Válek (TOP 09), but also the Minister of Defense Jana Černochová (ODS) because of her call for the Czech Republic to withdraw from the United Nations. The chairman of the SPD dwelled on the procedure against disinformation and also talked about other topics. “Not a penny for Ukraine. We insist on it,” he declared in his speech.
The chairman of the People’s Club, Aleš Dufek, then advised Okamura to visit the contact center before “placing negations” and told the Ukrainians in the queue to their faces that Ukraine and Ukrainians should not receive a single crown. The deputy speaker of the lower house, Jan Bartošek (KDU-ČSL), responded to the statement of the chairman of the SPD, in which he connected the KDU-ČSL with the Sudeton German expatriate association. Bartošek pointed to the SPD’s “relatively intensive cooperation” with the German Alternative for Germany (AfD), which, according to Bartošek, is described as an extreme right-wing party.
Černochová did not leave Okamura’s speech without a response either, when she stated that Okamura is probably not afraid of the wave of anti-Semitism. “Anti-Semitism is resurging throughout the world, including the United Nations,” she declared. Okamura responded that he was “blabbering complete nonsense”. “We are all here against anti-Semitism,” he emphasized, and declared Černochová a “crazy” and “disgusting person.” Banging on the benches was then heard from the hall. Bartošek told Okamur that his behavior towards Černochová was inappropriate. “A rough patch for a rough sack. You’re a nasty fellow, too,” he said.
The president of the ANO club, Alena Schillerová, spoke again about the fact that, in her opinion, the draft state budget for next year is based on unrealistic starting points and assumptions with regard to new, worsened economic growth forecasts. Karel Havlíček, the deputy speaker of the House of Representatives for ANO, focused on energy, who reminded that the movement wants to call an extraordinary meeting. “We’re really going to make hell here. That’s not a threat,” he said.
According to Havlíček, the government “fatally underestimates” the energy situation. According to him, it transfers 38 billion crowns for the distribution and transmission of electricity and another 26 billion crowns for renewable sources to customers. “The budget will be saved by the state transferring payments to residents and companies,” he said. According to the head of the SPD club, Radim Fiala, energy prices are a big problem not only for residents, but especially for companies. “It is absolutely necessary to immediately withdraw from the EU’s single energy market and start selling Czech electricity preferentially at affordable prices in the so-called social tariff to Czech consumers,” he said.
Czech Republic House of Economy meeting