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Breakfast Brief – 3 June 2009

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Table of Contents

Klaus describes EP elections as useless
Czech President Václav Klaus said Tuesday that holding elections to the European Parliament is useless. Klaus said it would suffice to send selected members of national parliaments to Brussels because state legislative assemblies are the only fundamental institutions in the EU, AFP reported.

Senator calls on PM to bring KSČM to court
Senator Jaromír Štětina called on Prime Minister Jan Fischer to consider the Senate’s proposal to take the Communist Party to court. The upper house came up with the notion last October, but the previous cabinet, led by Mirek Topolánek, did not act on it.

Egg throwers accused of rioting
Police charged two of the three young men who threw eggs at Monday’s ČSSD election rally in Brno with rioting, and a third ought to be accused soon, police spokeswoman Andrea Procházková said Tuesday.
most Czech press

Communists want Horáková film withdrawn from television
The Communist Party wants public broadcaster Czech Television to refrain from broadcasting a documentary film about the 1950s judicial murder of Milada Horáková. KSČM chairman Vojtěch Filip said the film damages the party’s campaign ahead of European Parliament elections.
most Czech press

Eight people deprived state of CZK 1bn in fuel taxes
The anti-corruption squad has accused eight people of failing to pay taxes from petrol they imported to the Czech Republic. Those charged probably deprived state coffers of more than CZK 1 billion, the police said., HN 21

Ministry guide helps towns dealing with extremist events
The Interior Ministry is preparing a handbook to advise municipalities on how to deal with extremist rallies and how, for example, to cancel or disperse them. The guide will include a calendar of days with special meanings to hardcore partisans – and therefore potentially targeted for marches or gatherings.

KDU-ČSL wants PM to explain policy statement
The Christian Democrats will ask Prime Minister Jan Fischer to explain some parts of its state policy announcement ahead of Sunday’s vote of confidence, according to new KDU-ČSL Chairman Cyril Svoboda. If the party does not support Fischer’s cabinet, it will abstain from voting, Svoboda said.

Court opens insolvency proceedings for top football club
The Regional Court in Ostrava has begun the insolvency process for Baník Ostrava over unpaid debts, which, according to club chairman of the board Tomáš Trucha, have reached some CZK 6 million. He said the insolvency will not have an impact on the club’s participation in the Gambrinus league.
most Czech press

Two-thirds of Czechs think pension system needs repair
In a May STEM poll, 44% of respondents said fundamental changes to the retirement system are necessary and 22% said a completely new plan has to be introduced. The opinion that the current scheme needs fixing was supported by almost all strata of the population, regardless of age, sex and education.
ČTK, Právo 4

Experts predict end to falling residential prices
The average selling values on flats nationwide have dropped by 9.1% since last September, according to EuroNet Media, which operates real estate websites. Homes in Prague saw the biggest drop, at 25.8% on average, mainly in the prices of older prefabricated flats. The fall slowed to 0.2% in May, and experts say no further significant decline is expected.
LN 16

State will have to borrow CZK 280bn
The Finance Ministry has raised its estimate of how much money it will have to borrow this year due to the economic crisis. The number is now about CZK 280 billion, compared with the CZK 148.4 billion forecast in December.
Právo 7

State raises stake in Czech Airlines
The Finance Ministry has decided to buy ČSA shares from the Slovak National Property Fund and is holding talks on the purchase of 0.98% of shares from the city of Bratislava ahead of the carrier’s privatisation. The Slovak National Property Fund, which holds 0.24% of shares, is offering shares at EUR 601 apiece, suggesting the total ČSA price could be about CZK 4.5 billion. The Czech government currently holds 91.5% of ČSA shares.
HN 17

Two-fifths of people not aware of bank deposit insurance
More than 40% of Czechs are unaware of the fact that their savings are protected by deposit insurance, and 80% do not know that the maximum compensation is EUR 50,000, representatives of the deposit insurance fund FPV said Tuesday.

Companies, towns against restricting transport investments
Municipalities and small and midsize enterprises asked the government to reconsider plan to stop major transport infrastructure projects across the country because cancelling improvements would have a disastrous impact on the development of municipalities and the activities of especially small and midsize firms, as well as boost unemployment in various regions.

EC allows Czech consortium to take over German mines
The European Commission has approved a takeover of the Dutch-German brown-coal company MIBRAG by the consortium of Severočeské doly from the energy group ČEZ and JITA from the financial group J&T.

EU pledges to deal with equalizing of farm subsidies
European agriculture ministers pledged in Brno on Monday to deal with the varying agricultural subsidies in individual member states. In a declaration handed to Commissioner Mariann Fischer-Boel, farmers from new EU countries demand that direct payments be raised to the level common in older members as early as 2010 instead of 2013.
Právo 17, E15 5

State eases conditions for green subsidies
The steering committee of the government’s green subsidies programme approved several changes to its rules Tuesday. Under the new conditions, households that implemented part of their energy-saving measures before 1 April 2009 will be able to apply for insulation subsidies as well., HN 1, 5

Škoda Transportation moves to new CZK 2bn plant
Plzeň-based Škoda Transportation, central Europe’s biggest producer of trolleybuses and vehicles that run on rails, has moved production to three new halls, worth CZK 2 billion. Expenses in the buildings are 10 times lower compared with the prewar facilities the company plans to sell now.
HN 20

Englishman wants control of Orco
Entrepreneur James Woolf has teamed up with SOS Orco, an association of small shareholders in the Orco Property Group, to take charge of the indebted development company, which filed for court protection against creditors in April. Woolf said he wanted to remove Orco founder Jean-Francois Ott and replace him as CEO.
HN 1, 25

Crisis-hit hoteliers luring Czechs
As occupancy in Prague hotels fell more than 20% in the first quarter, innkeepers are trying to seduce guests from around the country by offering new services such as lunch menus, weekend brunches and discounts to fitness centres.
HN 22

Lesy ČR calls tenders worth CZK 900m
State-run forest company Lesy ČR has called a series of tenders worth more than CZK 900 million for logger work and the sale of wood for 2009 and 2010.

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