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Breakfast Brief – 5 October 2009

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Table of Contents

Klaus: No comment on Irish ‘yes’
Some 200 people attended a protest march on Saturday against the endorsement by an Irish referendum of the EU Lisbon Treaty. The rally ended at Prague Castle where President Václav Klaus said he would not comment on the referendum, but must accept it as a fact. Klaus is awaiting a Czech Constitutional Court ruling on the treaty. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jan Fischer has said he believes the ratification of the treaty will soon be concluded in the Czech Republic, with the document taking effect before the year’s end. The Czech PM will meet with European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Swedish PM Fredrik Reinfeldt on Wednesday to explain Czech constitutional procedures.
Source: most Czech press

ODS leaders urge Lisbon signing, senators maintain complaint
While criticising the forced Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, ODS officials claim the Czech Republic must now go ahead with ratification since the effects of not doing so would be worse than the problems caused by the treaty itself. ODS leader Mirek Topolánek said he believes President Václav Klaus will now sign the treaty. Nevertheless, the ODS senators who filed the complaint against Lisbon Treaty’s constitutionality have announced that they have no plans to withdraw it.
Source: most Czech press

ODS: We will walk out if cabinet turns left
Civic Democrat (ODS) leader Mirek Topolánek has called on all parliamentary parties, excluding the Communists, to attend a special meeting today about the current caretaker cabinet’s mandate and its future plans. Social Democrat (ČSSD) leader Jiří Paroubek declined the invitation since it includes parties not involved in the cabinet’s formation. Topolánek warned that if PM Jan Fischer takes a turn to the left, ODS-backed ministers will leave the cabinet.
Source: most Czech press

Canada: No immediate plans to lift visas
New Canadian ambassador to the Czech Republic Valerie Raymond told news server ČTK that Canada is not currently planning to lift its visa requirements for Czech citizens. She admitted, however, that the Canadian cabinet wants Czechs to travel visa-free to Canada in the future.
Source: ČTK, MfD A1, A4

Lower house to discuss budget on 21 Oct
The lower chamber on Friday voted to begin discussions of the pending budget on 21 October, dealing initially with the basic parameters of income, expenses and the deficit. Cabinet has already endorsed a budget CZK 162.7 billion, representing 5.3% of GDP.
Source: ČTK

Four killed in Prague construction disaster
Four workers died under the debris of a dilapidated house that collapsed in Soukenická street in Prague’s centre on Friday. Police have not yet confirmed the victims’ identity. However HN reports that two of the workers were from Ukraine and the remainder from Bulgaria.
Source: most Czech press

Mf Dnes: US reps plan Prague visit to ‘rebuild trust’
Citing two independent sources, Mladá fronta Dnes reports that top US-government representatives led by either Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or Vice-President Joe Biden will visit Prague in a move to rebuild the trust damaged by the recent US decision to scrap Czech radar base plans. The delegation should arrive at the end of October or in November and it is likely to offer Czechs new security guarantees, such as prioritising the local placement of smaller mobile defence missiles and possibly supplying fighter planes.
Source: MfD A1, A6 Sat, Právo 2

Interior Min opposes Communist ban
The Interior Ministry does not recommend that cabinet go ahead with the ban on the Communist party (KSČM) proposed by a group of senators one year ago. The ministry argues it would be undemocratic to ban a party that has been present on the political scene for 20 years and has steady support from some 13% of voters. Ministry experts also claim the KSČM leader has not used unlawful terms, as the senators allege.
Source: Tý, LN 3

LN: Controversial FIS head now at Defence Min
Lidové noviny reports that Kateřina Neumannová, the head of the organising committee of this year FIS Nordic World Ski Championship, which ended in financial debacle and a loss of dozens of millions crowns, now holds a post with the Defence Ministry. Neumannová is currently responsible for military sport and national representation.
Source: LN 1, 4 Sat, Aktuálně.cz

Ministry plans housing aid for 8,000 families
Within three years, the state is planning to subsidise construction of up to 8,000 flats for people who cannot afford to pay market rents, Pavel Rakouš from the Ministry for Regional Development said. Developers would get up to CZK 500,000 per flat from the ministry’s subsidy programme.
Source: LN 13 Sat

Ministries want to cut new doctors’ wages
The Health Ministry and Labour Ministry have drafted a proposal to cut the salaries of out-of-school physicians by up to CZK 3,000 a month in 2010. President of the Czech Medical Chamber Milan Kubek said the proposal was unacceptable, adding that the economic situation is causing a brain drain of 200-250 doctors from the country each year.
Source: HN 5, LN 1, 4

Janota plans more cuts
Speaking on a TV debate programme on Sunday, Finance Minister Eduard Janota announced further cuts to public spending which he plans to present to the lower house in spring 2010. The cuts would target compulsory state social spending and housing savings bonuses. Janota also said it was necessary to open a debate about increasing progressive tax.
Source: most Czech press

Agriculture Min offers extra aid to farmers
Agriculture Minister Jakub Šebesta said farmers will get between CZK 4 billion and CZK 5 billion in state budget subsidies instead of the originally planned CZK 2 billion. Šebesta wants to finance the increase by reducing salaries and cutting expenses for outsourced services at the ministry as well as potential lay-offs, among other things.
Source: LN 13 Sat

Car sales sink in ČR
Local car sales dropped by 12.6% over the first eight months of this year to 120,000, with sales of utility cars tumbling by 64% annually to 15,000. According to a survey by PricewaterouseCoopers, a tenth of 1,150 dealers in the ČR are considering closing down their businesses.
Source: HN 1, 20, E15 1, 6

Reuters: Stocks to plunge then steady
A survey of 180 equity strategists by Reuters news agency forecasts that global stock prices won’t rise this year. According to a former Merrill Lynch economist, current stocks are ahead of course and will return to the current levels at the end of the year after an expected 20% fall. FIO analyst David Brzek said that Czech stocks might drop by 15% in October and November.
Source: HN 17-19

Škoda Power wins tender in Turkey
Škoda Power has won a tender in Turkey to supply two turbines for the new Bolu Goynuk power plant owned by AKSA Enerji Uretim in spring 2011. The contract is worth CZK 930 million, with the plant to launch operations in the first half of 2012.

Non-EU tourists spend most in ČR
Chinese tourists spent the most of all travellers in the Czech Republic in the last 12 months, taking over from Russians and Americans. While Czech glass comprised 27% of all tourist spending in 2006, its popularity has now dropped to19%. Fashion and accessories remain the most popular items among non-EU tourists.
Source: MfD A8 Sat

Low-cost Asian airline eyes Prague route
Low-budget carrier Air Asia X is considering adding a route from Malaysia to Prague next year. Other potential new destinations include Moscow, Berlin and a location in France. Airline CEO Azran Osman Rani said that outside Prague, Moscow is the most likely candidate.
Source: MfD B5

Bailiffs’ chamber debuts auction site
The national chamber of bailiffs has launched a website presenting an overview of current auctions of confiscated property. The website,, includes property descriptions and starting prices. There are currently 570 auctions listed, with plans in November to include moveable property on the site.
Source: ČTK

Local glassworks back in business
Světlá nas Sázavou glassworks relaunched production on Friday, with new owner Crystallite Bohemia trialling production of one furnace and three production lines. The trial, which creates 174 jobs, will last a few weeks, and a second furnace should open in the first half of next year. Glassworks originally employed 1,200 people.
Source: ČTK

Electro World offers buy-back scheme to retrenched
Electro World chain is offering to buy back products from customers who were made redundant within the six months of their purchase. CEO Milan Růžička said the company was taking the step since many Czechs are delaying purchases due to the economic crisis.
Source: ČTK

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