The Central Crisis Staff will start operating again, Babiš admitted. So far, he has refused to restore it

The government will resume the activities of the Central Crisis Staff due to the coronavirus epidemic from Monday, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (YES) told Deník. He justified this by poor communication between the Ministry of Health and the region. So far, Babiš has refused to renew the crisis staff, citing ministers discussing the epidemic in the government’s health risks council. The opposition criticizes that the resumption came late.

The Central Crisis Staff (ÚKŠ) will start operating on Monday, September 21, the Deputy Prime Minister said on Twitter. Jan Hamáček (CSSD). The proposal will be discussed by the government at the next meeting, added the Minister of the Interior, who led the staff in the spring and will probably be its chairman even now. The regular meeting of the cabinet is currently scheduled for Monday afternoon. The re-launch of the activities of the ÚKŠ, which was called for by the regions, the CSSD and most of the opposition, was confirmed by the Prime Minister on Friday despite the original disagreement Andrej Babiš (YEAR).

On Thursday, the Association of Regions addressed a call to the Prime Minister to restore the staff, which was operating in the spring at the beginning of the epidemic. “Cooperation between the regions and the Ministry of Health was not good. The governors therefore pushed for the activation of the crisis staff. It will become a platform for communication between individual ministries and regions,” Babiš told Deník.

On Friday, Babiš should discuss the details of the establishment of the staff with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, Jan Hamáček (ČSSD), who chaired the ÚKŠ in the spring and should once again head it. According to the vice-president of the Association of Regions Jiří Běhounek (for the CSSD) and the minister Adam Vojtěch (for YES), the government should deal with the establishment of a crisis staff at Monday’s regular meeting.

The decision came late, the opposition says

However, according to the opposition, the prime minister’s decision was late. “The crisis is serious, the prime minister repeatedly fails and lies. At such a moment, the country should not be headed by a person who changes his mind from hour to hour. It is dangerous for the country and especially for its inhabitants,” said ODS chief Petr Fiala. The head of the People’s Party, Marian Jurečka, wrote that Babiš was only acting under pressure and late. “He repeats the same mistake as in March. ÚKŠ has clear competencies and possibilities according to the law, and I promise it far better coordination and systematic measures that should have been implemented,” he said.

According to the head of TOP 09, Markéta Pekarová Adamová, the pressure of the opposition and the public proved its worth. “It makes sense and it would be a mistake to think that we can do nothing. But the Prime Minister does not waive responsibility and I will remind at every opportunity that he completely failed,” she said. The vice-president of the Pirates, Olga Richterová, reproaches Babiš that he is primarily concerned with his own PR.

The Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Jana Maláčová (CSSD) wrote that the Czechia had lost a lot of valuable time. “It will be extremely difficult for Honza Hamáček now,” she mentioned on Twitter the head of the CSSD and Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamáček, who should take over the leadership of the staff.

The convening of the staff is not on the table, Babiš claimed on Monday

The cabinet did not agree on the establishment of the ÚKŠ at the last few meetings, most recently this Monday, when, according to Hamáček, the Social Democrats encountered the disapproval of the coalition partner of the YES movement. Babiš said on Monday that the convening of the staff is “not on the table”, because there is a council for health risks, in which all interested ministers are represented. He originally refused to convene a staff in the spring.

According to Běhounek, the Association of Regions agreed on Thursday that, due to unfavorable predictions about the disease, it is appropriate to reactivate crisis management. Vojtěch did not react to the proposal at the meeting of the ministers with the representatives of the regions, the governor added. On Friday in the Chamber of Deputies, before Babiš’s statement, Vojtěch avoided answering the question of whether he would support the activation of the staff, which the chairman of the TOP 09 deputies, Miroslav Kalousek, described as cowardice.

Municipalities also want representation in the staff

Some local governments request their representation in the central staff. They should be nominated by municipal unions, said Stanislav Polčák (STAN), chairman of the Association of Local Authorities, in a press release.

According to the association, the involvement of municipalities in the activities of the staff is important in order to better get information directly to the municipalities. “It is also logical given the specifics of the Czech Republic, ie the high number of municipalities in international comparison. During the spring phase of the pandemic, municipalities have proven that they are able to effectively engage in solving problems caused by pandemics. Polčák.

In connection with the epidemic of a new type of coronavirus, ÚKŠ was established in mid-March despite Babiš’s original disapproval. The government declared a state of emergency due to the epidemic on March 12, the crisis staff was set up three days later. He ended his activities on June 11. Originally, the cabinet changed its statute so that the staff could be headed by the then Deputy Minister of Health and the current Government Commissioner for Science and Research in Health Roman Prymula instead of Hamáček. After two weeks, Hamáček took the lead.


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