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Breakfast Brief – 7 October 2009

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Table of Contents

Constitutional Court rejects senators’ complaint
The Constitutional Court rejected yesterday the proposal by a group of senators to cancel the amendment concerning the procedural regulations of both chambers of parliament. The amendment, connected to the Lisbon Treaty, introduces a so-called bound mandate that would disable the executive branch from allowing laws to be made at the EU level without the approval of the national parliament. Senators objected to the fact that parliament might allow decisions to be made at the EU level without a constitutional majority in the country. Prime Minister Jan Fischer said that the court’s decision opens the path to the treaty’s ratification.
Source: most Czech press

PM to propose cabinet changes on 20 October
Prime Minister Jan Fischer is to present the names of new ministers, a new cabinet agenda and the country’s EU commissioner candidate on 20 October during a lower house session, an unnamed source from the Office of the Government told Aktuálně.cz.
Source: Aktuálně.cz, Právo 1

Biden to visit Prague
The White House confirmed yesterday that US Vice-President Joe Biden will visit the Czech Republic, Poland and Romania between the 20 and 24 October. Biden is coming to restore US security guarantees following the annulment of the radar system as well as to propose the Czech Republic’s involvement in the new defence system. Lubomír Kvíčala, the head of the police security service, told ČTK that a US team will arrive in Prague next week to prepare for Biden’s visit.
Source: LN 4, Právo 2

Police to investigate Plzeň law faculty
Within a few days, the Education Ministry is to file suit against the law faculty in Plzeň, where hundreds of students received master’s degrees after much less than the required five years of study, Jiří Pospíšil, the new faculty head and former justice minister, said yesterday.
Source: most Czech press

Topolánek: Czech Republic still threatened by communism
ODS leader Mirek Topolánek said at the international conference Twenty Years Later that the Czech Republic is still threatened by the return of the old system and that the country’s European and Atlantic connections are being questioned and leanings towards the authoritarian regimes of Russia and China are on display in the country. ČSSD leader Jiří Paroubek, whose party Topolánek also attacked in his speech, called the statement extremist.
Source: ČTK

STEM: Trust down for both chambers of parliament
A September STEM survey shows that trust in both the upper and lower chambers has fallen significantly, with only 25% of Czechs trusting parliament. In contrast, President Václav Klaus has a 70% rating. The survey’s authors agree that trust in parliament was weakened by the disputes concerning changing the constitution and the dates of the parliamentary elections.
Source: ČTK

Deputy Defence Minister wants to keep Gripen fighter planes
Deputy Defence Minister František Padělek said yesterday that the Jas-39 Gripen fighter planes currently rented by the army should remain part of the military’s equipment even after the contract runs out in 2015. Padělek said that the air force’s recent success in a NATO mission in the Baltic countries should be perceived as an argument to keep the planes.
Source: ČTK, Právo 5

Scientists and artists protest current policy
More than 200 scientists and artists protested at Jana Palacha square yesterday against the state policies concerning education and culture. The event attempted to underline the fact that the issues of culture, science and education lie on the margins of interest for politicians.
Source: ČTK

Transport Ministry remits winter tires on D1 rule
New regulations will not require winter tires on the D1 highway between Prague and Brno. Transport Ministry spokesman Karel Hanzelka said that, according to the agency’s study, drivers are more committed to using winter tires. Lorries over 7.5 tonnes are still obliged to switch tires from 1 November to 30 April between D1’s 90th and 162nd kilometre.
Source: most Czech press

Owners of collapsed building will compensate relatives
Galerie Sen, the owner of the building that collapsed last Friday on Soukenická street will pay CZK 100,000 to the families of the four dead workers. The owners, however, do not claim guilt for the disaster and will initiate an investigation into the proceedings of the companies that the owners hired for construction. Three workers were from Bulgaria, and one from Ukraine.

Janota: World Bank welcomes austerity package
Finance Minister Eduard Janota said yesterday that World Bank representatives appreciated the endorsement of an austerity package aimed at lowering the Czech budget deficit and called it a “sensible move”. Janota attended a meeting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in Istanbul.
Source: ČTK

Singer: Crisis at two-thirds point at best
Miroslav Singer, the vice-governor of the Czech National Bank, said yesterday that the crisis is at its two-thirds point at best and the volume of unpaid loans of both companies and households will continue to grow. He added that next year an economic revival is expected. ČNB expects the economy to drop 3.8% this year and grow 0.7% next year and 2.2% in 2012. The proportion of unpaid loans should reach an average of 7.9% between the second quarters of this year and next.
Source: ČTK, HN 17, 25

ČSA’s finances run thin
E15 reported that Czech Airlines is drawing from the last CZK 500 million of the CZK 2.5 billion loan provided by the state-run Osinek in spring. The amount will secure another 2 months of service, according to the daily. ČSA’s advisory board will meet to discuss cash flow today.
Source: E15 1, 8

CCB: Number of bankruptcies up
According to Czech Credit Bureau data, 969 companies went bankrupt in the first three quarters of this year, 54% more than in the same period last year. The number of bankruptcies by entrepreneurs grew by 11% to 145 year-on-year. Altogether, 3,516 bankruptcy applications for companies and individuals were filed by the end of September, an increase of 80% year-on-year.
Source: Právo 15

Prague has country’s highest purchase power
According to a survey by Incoma GfK, Prague has the highest purchase power in the Czech Republic, exceeding the national average by 31%. Karviná, on the other hand, has the lowest purchase power and is 16% below the country’s average. Prague also ranks as the richest region, and Bruntál is the poorest.
Source: ČTK

PPF Group eyes Russian electronics market
The Russian daily Kommersant reported that PPF Group is interested in taking over the Russian electronics chain Technosila after purchasing key stocks in the second largest electronics retailer Eldorado. Moscow-based analyst Maria Sulimová estimated that the contract for half of Technosil’s stocks is between USD 110 million and 115 million. If the investment goes through, PPF Group will control 40% of the Russian market.
Source: HN 1, 22, MfD B3

CzechInvest helps projects in California
CzechInvest opened a centre to support promising tech companies and university projects from the Czech Republic in California. Selected efforts will receive space in Sunnyvale’s PlugandPlayTechCenter. This would help them get better access to backers. CzechInvest also opened a new US west coast branch in Sunnyvale.
Source: ČTK

Sales of new cars falling
Czechs bought a total of 133,577 new passenger cars and light utility vehicles in the first three quarters of the year, a drop of 13.8% from the same period in 2008. Experts blame the fall in demand on the financial crisis. Škoda Auto saw the biggest drop, selling 35,208 cars, which is 22.5% fewer vehicles than in the same period last year.
Source: most Czech press

Tesco Stores ČR in insolvency proceedings
A Prague City Court launched insolvency proceedings for Tesco Stores ČR yesterday based on the complaint filed by the company Iva Roztoky. Tesco Stores is overdue with a payment of CZK 500,000. Tesco Stores ČR management claims that the company owes nothing to Iva Roztoky.
Source: ČTK

Broadcast fees should be replaced by state budget
The Senate commission on media ruled that broadcasting fees should be cancelled by the end of 2011. The Czech TV and Radio income from the fees should be replaced by finances from the state budget. The commission recommended to amend the standing rules on financing Czech TV and Radio, which the Senate should discuss this week.
Source: LN 1, 13

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