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Babiš considering a new Deputy PM

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) is considering establishing a new post for a deputy PM of the economy.

There have been significant changes in the Czech government recently. The Minister of Transport, Dan Ťok, will be replaced by Vladimír Kremlík, whom Prime Minister Babiš knows well from his earlier work at the Ministry of Finance. The current Minister of Industry and Trade, Marta Nováková, will be replaced by Karel Havlíček, who until now led the Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Crafts of the Czech Republic.

In an interview with Lidové noviny, Babiš said that he is considering renewing the post of Deputy Prime Minister for the Economy, which was held by the Minister of Finance in the previous government. However, this time it would not be the Minister of Finance, but Karel Havlíček, the future Minister of Industry and Trade. “I'm thinking about it, but I haven't decided yet,” said Babiš.

Babiš also said that he is currently not satisfied with the functioning of the Ministry of Industry and Trade and expects Havlíček to improve the situation. According to Babiš, the Ministry does not benefit from a conflict of interest business groups, which Havlíček will have to address, for example, with regard to pricing of energy and mobile services. The Prime Minister also expects the new Minister to review the state material reserves and optimize the foreign network of dealerships in cooperation with the Foreign Ministry.

Babiš similarly expects the new Minister of Transport Kremlík to rationalize and improve the performance of key state-owned companies, which are in charge of rail transport and the construction and maintenance of roads and highways in the Czech Republic. According to Babiš, it is possible that new Minister Kremlík will decide on personnel changes in the management of these state companies.

The Czech media speculates about other possible personnel changes in the government, but Babiš said to Lidové noviny that he is currently not considering any further changes.

Besides the situation in Czech politics, Babiš also commented on the forthcoming European Parliamentary elections. The Prime Minister revealed that the ANO campaign would start on April 29th, but did not specify what topics it is going to focus on. Babiš personally does not plan to be too involved in the campaign because he is busy with his Prime Minister work, but to some extent, he would like to be involved. "I would like to tell people that this is a very important election, asking them to come to vote, and explaining that we must send capable people to Brussels to be seen and heard there," Babiš concluded.

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