20 June 2018

This morning we moved from Ostrava to Praha, a journey of around 400 km from east to west Czechia. The capital seems to be in a sunny mood and whilst the bus was driving along the Moldau, we saw that the tourist season has already taken off.

Our first stop was a square in the Smichov district, where we were welcomed by the mayor, who gave us his full support in our mission to defend the rights of the most vulnerable people in society. Our volunteer Emil joined us to Praha and also the musicians are here. We even persuaded a famous ex-football player, Tomas Skuhravy, to sign the petition.

Later in the afternoon, I was invited to address to meeting of the Czech European Movement, who’s president is Vladimir Spidla, former European Commissioner for Social Affairs. Together with one of our volunteers, Leos, who is also a member of the organisation, we explained the purpose of our journey to the affiliates, who were all eager to sign the petition. We told them about our experiences on the road and compared the situation in the Czech Republic with other countries. One participant in the discussion insisted on the difficult situation of pensioners, who do not have full careers or who’s earnings were low. There is no guaranteed minimum pension in Czechia, neither are there maximum levels, and therefore pensions many vary as much as between 5000 CZ Krone and 100.000 CZ Krone. Poor pensioners with pensions below the poverty threshold amount to around 15% of total, and also rich pensions with pension above 20.000 Krone represent around 15%. People in the meeting also refuted the popular idea in this country, that only lazy people are poor and that those who want to work can easily get a job.

We said our good-bye by making an appointment for tomorrow to sign the bus and participate in the debate that is planned in the afternoon.