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Breakfast Brief – 1 June 2009

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Table of Contents

Svoboda elected new KDU-ČSL chair
Former minister and KDU-ČSL leader Cyril Svoboda was elected new party chair in the second round of voting on Saturday, beating MEP Jan Březina by 30 votes. MP Michaela Šojdrová will take the deputy chair post. Svoboda intends to push for a progressive tax rate, a move that has been criticised by several party members, including Miroslav Kalousek, who confirmed his intention to leave the party after the European Parliament elections.
most Czech press

Topolánek: Lisbon Treaty dead, conservatives unite
Speaking at a congress of Poland’s conservative party PiS in Warsaw on Saturday, former PM Mirek Topolánek said the Lisbon Treaty is “dead and the real discussion on the form of the EU lies ahead”. ODS, PiS and the British Conservative Party plan to form a new group after the EU parliament polls. The head of British Conservative Party, David Cameron, was in Prague on Saturday to support ODS.
most Czech press

Egg throwers end attacks against Paroubek
The group of young Czechs who started throwing eggs at ČSSD leader Jiří Paroubek on 15 May symbolically returned some eggs to their carton Friday, saying it was time to stop throwing eggs and to vote instead at the upcoming elections. The group distanced itself from the aggressive egg attacks that took place at ČSSD rallies in Prague last Wednesday.
most Czech press

ODS, ČSSD leaders vow support to Fischer’s govt
In a television debate on Sunday, ČSSD leader Jiří Paroubek and the ODS chairman Mirek Topolánek said that they will support the interim government led by Jan Fischer in Friday’s vote of confidence.

Topolánek to Berlusconi: ‘Shut your mouth’
Recently resigned PM Mirek Topolánek told Italian PM Silvio Bersuconi to “shut [his] mouth” in response to Berluconi’s claim that the Czech Republic is incapable of presiding over the EU.
LN 3 Sat

Pope confirms Prague visit in September
Pope Benedict XVI will visit the Czech Republic between 26 and 28 September, the Vatican announced on Saturday on the occasion of the Czech presidential couple’s visit to the Vatican. The pope will travel to Prague, Brno and Stará Boleslav during his Czech visit., Právo 2

More Czechs afraid of swine flu
One in three Czechs is concerned about the threat of swine flu, and the fourth fears a shortage of flu drugs in the event of a pandemic, according to a Factum Invenio survey in May. Of the 147 cases of suspected swine flu examined to date in the Czech Republic, only one case has been confirmed, and 15 people await test results. A Czech pilot infected with the virus was released from home quarantine on Friday.
most Czech press

Pay rise approved for regional hospital nurses
Following a decision to increase nurses’ salaries in state-run hospitals, nurses in hospitals run by regional government will also see an average monthly pay rise of CZK 2,500 starting in July, the Association of Regions of the Czech Republic said Friday.

Czech singer Matuška dies in Florida
Czech singer Waldemar Matuška, who has lived in the United States since 1986, died of pneumonia and heart failure at the age of 76 in Florida on Saturday.
most Czech press

20 years of freedom exhibit ends tonight
An exhibition marking the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall 20 years ago and the end of Iron Curtain is on show on Wenceslas Square until Monday evening.

Penta set to become central Europe’s biggest window maker
The Czech-Slovak investment group Penta is taking steps to acquire Slovakia’s second biggest window manufacturer, Noves Okná. Last year Penta acquired Poland’s window maker Okna Rabień. If the transaction proceeds, Penta’s holding will become the leading window manufacturer in central Europe, with annual revenues reaching EUR 70 million, said Penta’s partner Marek Dospiva.
HN 17

MfD: ČKD Group will withdraw from Škodaexport deal
Czech engineering holding ČKD Group plans to withdraw from its CZK 210 million contract last year to buy Škodaexport, and will re-sell the company to the state, daily Mladá fronta Dnes reported, citing unnamed sources from ČKD. Non-transparent accounting and a higher-than-revealed risk level are the alleged reasons behind the decision. ČKD will comment on the issue after talks with the Finance Ministry this week.

Court: State must pay CZK 1.3m compensation to Tchibo
The Brno Regional Court ruled on Friday that the state must pay CZK 1.3 million in compensation to Tchibo for the coffee manufacturer’s losses from a 1994 dispute over cartel agreements. Tchibo paid a CZK 7 million fine to the antimonopoly office based on the dispute, but a court later overturned the penalty.

Household gas prices on decline
Gas distributors E.ON, Pražská plynárenská and RWE Transgas will cut household gas prices by an average of 9%, 7% and 6.1% respectively starting in July.
most Czech press

Property tax up five-fold
Property taxes have increased up to five-fold thanks to changes to the law allowing municipalities to raise taxes. One in every twenty Czech towns has raised taxes so far, and many are planning more increases next year.
MfD A8 Sat

FinMin will proceed with CZK 115bn clean-up tender
Finance Minister Eduard Janota on Friday rejected a proposal from some political parties to cancel a state tender for a company to handle the clean-up of old ecological damage. He said that the winner of the CZK 115 billion state commission would probably not be chosen until after the October general elections.

Construction of D47 motorway postponed
The final construction stage of the D47 motorway to the Czech-Polish border has been postponed due to a lack of funds, Transport Minister Gustáv Slamečka said Friday. Completion of the motorway is expected in 2012, two years later than formerly planned.
most Czech press

Industry output down 23.2% in April
Industrial output in the Czech Republic fell by 23.2% year-on-year in April, according to the preliminary results of the Czech Statistical Office. Annual sales from industrial activity dropped by 23.9%, while those from direct exports decreased by 25.3%. The value of new contracts was 27.5% lower year-on-year.
ČTK, LN 1, 7 Sat

Hyundai to raise salaries by 6.5% on average
Nošovice-based carmaker Hyundai approved a 6.5% salary hike for some 1,900 of its employees on Friday, following eight months of negotiations with the company’s trade unions. The agreement takes effect retrospectively from 1 May and guarantees the employees a one-year pay rise.

Tatra to lay off 450 employees
Kopřivnice-based automaker Tatra will lay off about 450 employees 30 June. The company suffered a record-high loss of CZK 712 million last year.
ČTK, Právo 5 Sat

PM says nuclear energy only alternative to coal, gas
Speaking at the European Energy Forum in Prague, PM Jan Fischer said nuclear energy is the only alternative to coal and gas and the sole way the country can meet its climate protection pledges. He said that the interim government would not decide on the expansion of nuclear units.

Škoda Auto plans upgrade of Fabia, Roomster next year
Škoda Auto has plans to begin the large-scale modernising of its Fabia and Roomster models next year followed by the launch of small urban car production in Bratislava and upgrades of its first generation Octavia, Octavia Tour, the company’s board chair Reinhard Jung told the weekly Profit last week.
ČTK, E15 11

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