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Breakfast Brief – 2 September 2009

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Table of Contents

Constitutional Court postpones elections
Based on a complaint filed by MP Miloš Melčák, the Constitutional Court yesterday postponed the early elections that President Václav Klaus had set for October. The court will now deal with Melčák’s complaint against the law that shortens members of the lower house’s term of office, but court spokesman said that it might still reject the MP’s claim. Eliška Wagnerová, the court’s deputy chairwoman, said that it would be impossible to decide on the complaint by October.
Source: most Czech press

Political leaders offer solution for constitutional crisis
In reaction to yesterday’s decision to postpone the early elections, ČSSD leader Jiří Paroubek said that he will try to push through a 3-year-old constitutional amendment that would change the rules for early elections. ODS Chair Mirek Topolánek said that his party is ready to immediately support a general law for disbanding the parliament. Klaus convened a meeting of party chairmen, the Prime Minister and chairmen of both chambers of the parliament to deal with the situation today.
Source: most Czech press

KDU-ČSL wants talks on new government
Yesterday, Christian Democrat Chairman Cyril Svoboda called on parliamentary parties to immediately start negotiations to form a political cabinet because the date of early elections is uncertain now.
Source: ČTK

Senators file first part of Lisbon Treaty complaint
Some Senators filed yesterday the first part of a constitutional complaint against the Lisbon Treaty. It concerns the rules of procedure of the Czech parliament, and the second part of the complaint, against the wording of the treaty, will follow in October.
Source: Tý

Ministry to propose dissolution of Workers’ Party
The Interior Ministry will recommend that the government dissolve the far-right Workers’ Party on 16 September, a spokesman said yesterday.
Source: ČTK

Bookmakers fancy ČSSD
Bookies put the odds on the Social Democrats, rather than the ODS, to win the October early elections and do not believe that the other parties could win.
Source: ČTK

Intelligence records Russian, Chinese spooks in ČR
The military intelligence agency recorded activities by the Russian and Chinese secret services in the Czech Republic last year, according to the agency’s annual report. The Russian military intelligence was interested in the planned construction of the US radar base, and the Chinese focused on advanced technologies for military or dual use.
Source: ČTK

Some 200,000 children abused in ČR
Roughly 200,000 children in the Czech Republic have been victims of violence, said Eva Vaníčková, of Charles University’s Department of Child and Youth Health, yesterday.
Source: ČTK

Agency: Ministry knows too much about students
The Office for Personal Data Protection has launched investigation into the Education Ministry’s database of information on pupils. The office alleges that the ministry collects “too much unnecessary information” and suspects that the database is being abused for commercial purposes.
Source: HN 4

LN: Ministry’s ban of Sudeten German Homeland Association gets response abroad
The Interior Ministry’s decision last week to ban the Czech-based Sudeten German Homeland Association, which calls for the abolition of the Beneš decrees, has met with reactions from the German and Austrian press, which have been writing articles on the topic since yesterday. Senator Jaromír Štětina says that the ministry’s decision is against democratic principles.
Source: LN 5

Czech pilots end NATO mission in Lithuania
Czech fighter pilots on Monday finished their four months of NATO service in Lithuania’s Baltic Air Policing programme. The mission was taken over by the German Luftwaffe. This was the first mission of the Czech fighter plane pilots who had to take off eight times to follow an alien plane that crossed the border in a new NATO record. The mission cost CZK 100 million.
Source: HN 5, LN 14, MfD B1

Analyst: Prague bourse to slow down in September
In August a record volume of transactions, reaching CZK 55 billion, the best month of this year so far, was concluded at the Prague bourse. The stock exchange grew by 80% since March. Analysts interviewed by Hospodářské noviny expect a drop in transactions. David Brzek of the brokerage Fio said he expects the PX index to close in negative numbers at the end of September.
Source: HN 23

Budget gap biggest since 1993
The state budget deficit amounted to CZK 89.6 billion at the end of August, while the deficit for the year is projected at CZK 38.3 billion. The state budget deficit for January to August was therefore the biggest since 1993, the Finance Ministry said yesterday.
Source: LN 1, 16, MfD B2

SkyEurope sold 280,000 tickets for flights that will never depart
Slovakia’s SkyEurope, which ended its activities on Monday, sold roughly 280,000 tickets for flights that will never take off, the company’s PR agent Ronald Schranz said yesterday. SkyEurope’s clients currently staying abroad have to arrange and pay for their returns home on their own.
Source: most Czech press

Wizz Air to boost Prague flights
The Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air will increase the frequency of flights from Prague to London, Rome, Milan, Brussels and Eindhoven in September and October in response to the bankruptcy of SkyEurope, according to a press release. In June of next year, Wizz Air wants to extend its Prague fleet from two to three aircrafts.
Source: ČTK

Govt wants to raise excise duties
The caretaker cabinet wants to increase the excise duties on alcohol, petrol and cigarettes as part of austerity measures aimed to slash the huge state budget deficit, Finance Minister Eduard Janota told Tý
Source: Tý

ČSA pilots reject wage cuts
Pilots for Czech Airlines have rejected a proposal by management to cut their wages by one-third in exchange for the managers leaving the company. Pilots said the proposal would jeopardise security because it also includes a lifting of limits on their working hours.
Source: HN 15

Ministry approves PRE’s new power plant
The Environment Ministry has approved the construction of a gas power plant in Prague’s Bohnice by Pražská energetika (PRE). The plant’s output should be between 54MW and 56MW, and its construction should be launched next year.
Source: E15 12

Hyundai won’t assemble i20 model in ČR
The Korean carmaker Hyundai announced yesterday that it would move production of its i20 model, to be sold on the European market, from India to Turkey. Speculation appeared in the media recently that the i20 could be assembled in Hyundai’s Czech plant or in the Slovak unit of Kia.
Source: ČTK

Albert supermarkets no longer offer free plastic bags
As of yesterday, Ahold started charging CZK 1 for the small plastic bags that had been available for free in its Albert supermarkets. Tesco and Globus are now the only chains offering free plastic bags.
Source: MfD B1, B2, LN 14

ČD Cargo shows loss in H1
ČD Cargo, a unit of Czech Railways, showed a pre-tax loss of CZK 371 million in the first half of this year, after a CZK 335 million profit a year ago. Cargo transport dropped by 30% to 31 million tonnes.
Source: ČTK

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