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Breakfast Brief – 4 June 2009

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Table of Contents

Czech Republic prepares for summit to save Lisbon Treaty
The Czech EU presidency is getting ready to lead an 18 and 19 June summit with the goal of granting massive guarantees to Ireland while setting in motion the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, Minister for European Affairs Štefan Füle said. The main aim is to set a date for a referendum – the second so far – to finally ratify the treaty. Senator Jiří Oberfalzer (ODS) said that if compromises are granted to Ireland, every country has a right to request its own concessions.
HN 4

Paroubek: ODS preparing to physically attack voters
ČSSD leader Jiří Paroubek yesterday accused the ODS, particularly chairman Mirek Topolánek and deputy chair Ivan Langer, of preparing a violent provocation at a rally for the Social Democrats and said the assault will injure at least one person. Topolánek denied the allegation, saying Paroubek doesn’t have any evidence.
most Czech press

MfD: Extremists used fake signatures to register as political parties
Mf Dnes reported that the rightwing Workers Party (DS) and National Party (NS) illegally obtained hundreds of the necessary 1,000 signatures to register as political parties with the Interior Ministry in 2002. The daily writes that the names were originally collected for the Republican Party of Miroslav Sládek. Both the NS and DS rejected the report that they improperly used the signatures.
MfD A1, A3

ČSSD ready to thwart US radar plans
Social Democrat leader Jiří Paroubek said yesterday that his party would pledge to stop the planned construction of a US radar base on Czech soil if the ČSSD wins the general elections this fall. The party also plans to publish an anti-radar manifesto.

Kasalová may dethrone Janeček at ČT
The Czech Television Board yesterday shortlisted five candidates for the post of director, including the public broadcaster’s current head, Jiří Janeček. Jana Kasalová, who previously ran a division at Prima, received the most votes in the first round, followed by Janeček.
most Czech press

Romani journalist flees to Canada
Anna Poláková, chief editor of Czech Radio’s Romani broadcasts, flew to Toronto with six relatives to seek asylum. In an email to her employer, Poláková cites as her reasons the “constant attacks against my family and a radicalisation of society”.
LN 1, 4, Právo 1, 7

Topolánek and Bém swallow rivalry before vote
ODS leader Mirek Topolánek and Prague Mayor Pavel Bém, who vied for Civic Democrat chairmanship in December, campaigned jointly yesterday for the party in Prague, ahead of this weekend’s European Parliament elections.

Court decides on penalty for skier
A Prachatice court has imposed a six-month suspended sentence on 20-year-old Jakub Závora, who injured a 7-year-old girl when he knocked her down on a ski slope in 2008. It is the country’s first criminal punishment for a skiing injury.
HN 5

Teacher accused of mistreating children
A 40-year-old teacher at a Liberec primary school has been arrested on suspicion of maltreating her two children, including putting dog collars around their necks and driving them in a car boot, the TV station Nova reported last night.

Poll: Crown to gain on euro in coming year
Analysts surveyed by the Czech National Bank predict that the euro will be traded for CZK 25.12 next May. Yesterday, the euro stood at CZK 26.85.
HN 23

Record number of companies going bankrupt
An analysis by the Czech Credit Bureau states that 356 companies went bankrupt in Q1, the highest result in five years and a 20% year-on-year rise. Regional courts have warned that, should the number of proceedings rise, the entire insolvency process could slow down as they will not be able to process the high quantity. Finance Minister Eduard Janota said the ministry expects CZK 120 billion less in taxes than it expected at this time last year.
HN 1, 16

Škoda gets sharp rise in German sales
Škoda Auto sold nearly 18,000 cars in Germany in May – a 71.5% year-on-year rise – and a total of 85,000 units there so far this year, a 5% share of the German market. Škoda Fabia ranks fifth in demand for car models in Germany. Germans bought 112,000 Škoda cars last year, a 3.9% share of the market. Demand is also expected to increase in Great Britain, thanks to a scrapping bonus introduced on 18 May.
HN 15, 20

KKCG considers constructing oil shipping terminal in Russia
KKCG group, owned by Karel Komárek, is evaluating building a CZK 10 billion terminal in Primorsk harbour near Saint Petersburg. If created, the oil station would be one of KKCG’s biggest foreign investments. The company is conducting a preliminary study and will decide on the project in the near future. KKCG also plans to invest in gas storage tanks.
HN 15-17

Poll: 13% of Czechs interested in govt bonds
A Factum Invenio survey has found that 13% of respondents would like to buy bonds that the government plans to issue in autumn.

Blackout sets travellers back
Some 30 flights left Prague Airport with an average of a one-hour delay yesterday after a power outage paralysed the airport between 11 and 11.45am.

Firms move from LUVs to passenger cars
Passenger car sales in May were up 20.5% year-on-year to 14,277 vehicles, while light utility vehicles (LUV) saw an 81% drop to 961 cars, according to the Car Importers Association. Automotive journalist Martin Jaroš says businesses can now buy passenger cars with VAT breaks previously only available for LUVs.
Právo 9, ČTK

Czech carmakers may lay off more than thought
Automotive Industry Association chief Antonín Šípek has told the Z1 channel that the sector will see up to 19,000 redundancies instead of the 13,500 the association had estimated in December.

Beer output down 8%
The country produced 4.18 million hectolitres of beer in the first quarter, some 8% less than in the same period last year, according to the Czech Beer and Malt Association (ČSPS). Exports were down 11.6% to 794,000 hectolitres. ČSPS head Jan Veselý says last winter’s cold weather is behind the drop, rather than the economic downturn.

Parliament to vote on train funds
A budgetary committee yesterday recommended for approval a one-off CZK 3.2 billion public funding boost for regional rail transport. Czech Railways had threatened to substantially reduce service and investments in rolling stock without the additional subsidy.

Standard mail decreasing
Czech Post expects that the number of letters and postcards mailed within the country will decline by 4% this year from last year’s 641.5 million items, deputy CEO Michal Vodrážka says.

ČSÚ tweaks formula for pay reports
Starting this week, the Czech Statistical Office will include data from companies with fewer than 20 employees when calculating its average salary figures. So far only larger firms had been counted. The amount of small outfits is increasing.

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