Czech churches win tax dispute

Compensation by the Czech state to churches for property that was seized in the 1950s may not be taxed. With this ruling the country's Constitutional Court has overturned a law passed by the minority government comprising the populist Ano and the Social Democrats together with the Communists. Commentators are delighted.

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Lidové noviny (CZ) /

Intentions behind the move were reprehensible

It has not come to the worst, Lidove noviny comments with relief:

“The principles of the rule of law have been upheld. If the compensation payments had been taxed and thus reduced, this would have caused great damage to the country's reputation. ... It is actually very sad that the Czech parliament passed such a law at all. It would have meant stolen goods being stolen again. Money that the churches need for their social services, health facilities and hospices. Not a nice statement about our society.”

Hospodářské noviny (CZ) /

Victory against lies and hatred

Hospodářské stresses how important the ruling is for Czech democracy:

“At a time when the democratic ideals that were secured in the Velvet Revolution are being eroded, this judgement is an extremely fundamental and stabilising factor: truth and the constitution continue to prevail against lies and hatred. ... The communists incensed and say they want the Constitutional Court's judgement overturned. That, however, is in fact no longer possible as an appeal is no longer admissible. And only the churches can take the case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. After this ruling they no longer have any reason to do that.”