Compact archive December 13, 2006

Strict border controls with Slovakia?

The Czech Republic together with the other new EU member states should cross the borders with the old EU member states without passport controls from 31st December 2007. Slovakia has the biggest problems to fulfil the criteria needed for implementing the Schengen Agreement now.

In case the Slovak Republic does not manage to fulfil the criteria in time, the Czech Republic is prepared to create strict border controls on the Czech-Slovak border. The biggest problem for Slovak is the border with Ukraine and the airport without corridors for EU citizens.

Other states that are prepared to create strict border controls are Poland and Hungary. According to Jan Kohout, the Czech representative to the EU, the cost of having strict border controls with the Slovak Republic would be much lower then keeping border controls with the old EU member states.

Prague among candidates for Galileo

A meeting of Ministers of Transport did not find the solution about the seat of Galileo, a satellite navigation system, said the Finish Minister of Transport, Sasanna Huovinen. There are many European countries who want to have the prestigious and lucrative seat in one of their cities. One of the candidates is also Prague.

Galileo is is project of the European Commission and the European Space Agency. It should be an alternative of American GPS and Russian GLONASS. Twenty-seven satellites will provide navigation services from 2011.

Eleven candidates for the seat are mainly from old EU member states, which is, according to Jan Kohout, the Czech Permanent Representative to the EU, against the signed agreement from 2003 that all new EU institutes will be in new member states. Old member states now call attention to security measures, even though all eleven candidates fulfil the basic criteria.

Education project to support tourism in Prague

To present Prague as a safe tourist place – that is the aim of the educational project TouristEduca organized by The Economic Chamber of the Czech Republic this year. The project was dedicated to police officers, owners and employees of travel agencies.

About 2,94 million tourists came to Prague in the first half of this year. 60 percent of them went to Prague. In many foreign guidebooks or on TV Prague is presented as a city with a high level of criminality, especially pickpocketing, car stealing or distribution of drugs. According to Petr Duben from Prague police, the rumours are exaggerated. Criminality in Prague is similar or even less than in other European metropolises.

The programme taught the police officers how to assist the tourists who were the victims of a crime, or show them the right way. The tourist guides were informed, among others, how to warn tourist against pickpockets.

Charles Bridge on a virtual CD

A lot of information and more than six hundred pictures of Charles Bridge in Prague will be issued on a virtual CD soon. Charles Bridge will be the first Prague monument in a series of CD’s.

Besides the pictures made from various angles and views (made also from a platform 30 meters above Vltava River) the CD will contain also a lot of legends or views on the monument from many places in Prague.

The CD will be distributed for free to schools, travel guides or Czech centres abroad in spring next year. This CD can also help during the reconstruction of Charles Bridge. The bridge will be not closed completely during the reconstruction. It will get new insulation, a stronger balustrade and new paving in the first phase of the reconstruction.


Prague is popular for congresses

Prague Congress Centre hosted 110 000 people and there were 375 conferences last year. With the number of planned congresses Prague is in the 6th position in the world before Hong Kong and Berlin.

Among successful conferences were the conference of astronomers who decided to withdraw Pluto from the list of planets in our Solar System and change the textbooks of millions of students. Another successful conference was the symposium of 4000 delegates discussing about calcified tissues. This symposium was in the chart of Top 100 European congresses.

A hotel with the biggest congress hall in Prague is Hilton hotel with 1500 seats. The hotel belongs to the top ten congress hotels in the world according to the Conference&Incentive Travel Magazine.

Prague can offer 10 000 seats for congresses but it is not enough for very big conferences. But the number of middle and small congresses taking place in Prague is rising. In 2008 Prague will host a psychiatric congress with 10 000 delegates and in 2009 a dermathologic congress with 7 000 delegates.