Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis


PM Babis Amends Civil Service Laws Further Enabling Nepotism

Andrej Babiš, ANO, Czech Corruption, European Commission, Miloš Zeman

Prague, March 14 (CTK) – The Czech minority government, which keeps working after its resignation, approved today an amendment to the law on civil service that would open it to external experts and facilitate the dismissal of officials based on a new assessment system, PM Andrej Babis (ANO) has told reporters.


The cabinet will now officially ask the European Commission (EC) to assess the draft and take a stance on the proposed changes, Babis said after the cabinet meeting.


His ANO government lost a confidence vote in the Chamber of Deputies in January and resigned, but it continues ruling pending the establishment of Babis’s new cabinet on which he is negotiating with other parties.


The cabinet started debating the amendment in February.


According to the original draft, the civil service directorate would be transferred from the Interior Ministry to the prime minister’s agenda. Afters debates in the government and the criticism by the opposition, the ministers are now speaking about another alternative of the civil service law. They say the work of deputy ministers should be assessed more often.


The major changes apply to competitions for civil service posts. The current three-round competitions would be replaced with a two-round system, Deputy Interior Minister Petr Mlsna told reporters.


Deputy ministers should have at least a four-year practice and section heads one and a half years, he added.


Further changes are to raise flexibility in the service assessment.


A new regulation will enable to repeat the assessment in 40 days in the case of an employee with an unsatisfactory assessment.


Mlsna said the rating system should also change to start using the standard school marks on the scale from one to five, in which one is the best. A civil servant would have to get four or five to be dismissed.


Regional Development Minister Klara Dostalova (ANO) was negotiating about the amendment to the civil service law in Brussels last week.


She said the EC had agreed that the changes were of a technical character and the draft had no impact on “partnership agreement” on the basis of which the Czech Republic was drawing finances from European funds.


Yet the EC said its representatives had issued no assessment of the amendment at the meeting with Dostalova.


The EC is studying the submitted amendment and will release its comments in the weeks to come.


“The Commission has expressed a preliminary consent,” Mlsna said.