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Breakfast Brief – 8 April 2009

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Table of Contents

ODS, ČSSD, Greens support early elections
ODS, ČSSD and Green MPs yesterday presented a constitutional law proposal to shorten the term in office of the lower house and to enable early elections to be held in October. ODS senators also voiced support for early elections.
Právo 1, 2, ČTK

Former Ku Klux Klan head to visit ČR
The former head of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke, will visit the Czech Republic at the end of the month to promote his book My Awakening. Duke led the KKK at the beginning of the 1980s. He will reportedly attend a discussion with students at Charles University, though a university spokesman yesterday was unable to comment.
HN 5

HN: Havel letter would have warned about Russia, China
Former president Václav Havel and his supporters prepared a document calling for better monitoring of human rights in Russia, China, Belarus, Iran and other countries on the occasion of the recent EU-US summit, but the letter was quashed by outgoing Deputy PM for European Affairs Alexandr Vondra due to the weakened position of the Czech EU presidency.
HN 3

KDU-ČSL in turmoil over caretaker government
KDU-ČSL appears to be in disarray after party leaders on Monday resolved not to take part in a new caretaker government. Party head Jiří Čunek walked out on party talks yesterday after KDU-ČSL member and Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek criticised his opponent Jaroslav Orel. Several club members, led by Kalousek, are trying to change the party’s position not to participate in the government. Kalousek confirmed he is considering leaving the party after its May meeting.
most Czech press

Senate to discuss Lisbon Treaty in May
The upper chamber will discuss the Lisbon Treaty at its upcoming meeting in May. Ahead of the discussion, the Senate is expected to approve a set of amendments to prevent power from being transferred to the EU without the consent of both chambers of parliament.

Median: ČSSD, ODS losing supporters
A Median poll conducted in March shows ČSSD would receive 36.5% of the vote, down 1.5 percentage points from February, and ODS would get 33.5%, down 3 percentage points from the previous month. KSČM would get 10.6% of the vote and KDU-ČSL 8.6%. The Greens would not make it into parliament.
Právo 2

ČSSD backs Topolánek’s crisis solution
ČSSD leader Jiří Paroubek told President Václav Klaus that his party would support Prime Minister and ODS leader Mirek Topolánek’s governmental crisis solution. Paroubek said his support would be based on an agreement reached Sunday between ČSSD and the three coalition parties. ČSSD will call a parliamentary club meeting next week to collect signatures in support of the ODS proposal.
most Czech press

KSČM rejects early elections
KSČM said it would prefer to see the formation of a government of “national consensus” backed by all parliamentary parties rather than to hold early elections. The party added it would prefer a constitutional amendment rather than a new law to shorten the parliament’s current term in office.

Two Czechs die in Italian quake
Two 17-year-old Czech students died in Monday’s earthquake in the southern Italian region of Abruzzo. Some 229 people died in the quake.
most Czech press

Study: ČR still attractive business location
A study by real estate consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle says the Czech Republic remains an attractive destination for banking, insurance and high-tech companies. The study focused on three factors: workforce, business environment and infrastructure.

South Bohemia lifts ban on Temelín construction
Representatives in South Bohemia yesterday lifted a 2004 ban on construction at the Temelín nuclear plant, paving the way for building two new power blocks. ČEZ, which owns the plant, will pay the region some CZK 4 billion over 10 years for road repair and regional development. ČEZ expects construction to start in 2013.

Orco posts EUR 390m loss in 2008
The real estate developer Orco posted a loss of some EUR 390.56 million in 2008, according to results published yesterday. This followed net profit of EUR 87.5 million in 2007.
HN 15

Proposal would cap loan interest rates at 30%
Outgoing Minister of Regional Development Cyril Svoboda is preparing a bill that would place a limit on loan interest rates between 20% and 30%. Former finance minister Bohuslav Sobotka said the Social Democrats are preparing a similar measure. Hospodářské noviny writes that if such a bill were passed, loan companies like Provident or Cofidis would not be able to comply. Some credit cards would also be over the limit.
HN 15

Lukoil interested in Česká rafinérská stake
The Polish daily Rzeczpospolita reported yesterday that Russia’s Lukoil is interested in acquiring shares of refinery Česká rafinérská. Lukoil’s Czech Republic spokesman, Michal Burian, confirmed his company’s interest, while PKN Orlen and Unipetrol, which control the refinery, declined to comment.
HN 17

Orange may enter Czech mobile market
Slovakia’s leading mobile operator Orange, controlled by France Telecom, is considering entering the Czech market. The company’s Slovak head, Pavol Lančarič, said any decision would depend on the French parent, but that any move would likely have to wait until the end of the financial crisis.
HN 17

AAA Auto chief buying more shares
Shares in AAA Auto rose 15% to CZK 8.56 yesterday after the company’s head and biggest shareholder, Anthony Denny, announced he would buy additional shares worth some CZK 30 million in the next 12 months. Denny now owns 74% of AAA Auto shares.
E15 10, HN 15, 23

Environment Ministry to subsidise insulation and new boilers
Environment Minister Martin Bursík yesterday introduced a new programme aimed at saving energy by offering subsidies to 250,000 households to exchange outdated heating boilers and insulation. The programme would make CZK 10 billion available this year and CZK 15 billion over three years.
most Czech press

ČR to get CZK 9.3bn from structural funds
The EU will increase its advance payments from structural funds this year in order to fight the global financial crisis. The Czech Republic is set to receive CZK 9.3 billion, twice as much as originally planned.

EKONOM: Bruntál best town for business in Moravia-Silesia
The town of Bruntál was awarded the 2009 “Město pro byznys” (best town for business) prize in the Moravia-Silesian region in an annual competition by the weekly magazine EKONOM. It was followed by Opava and Krnov. Results for the entire country will be announced in October.
HN 17

Nošovice produced 20,000 cars in Q1
The Hyundai car company produced 20,000 vehicles in the first quarter of the year at its plant in Nošovice. The company is planning to turn out some 160,000 cars in Nošovice this year, about 25,000 less than originally planned. This month, Hyundai began producing cars with a new 1.6 litre diesel engine, U2.

Czech brewers interested in geographical trademark
More than half of Czech breweries showed interest in obtaining the protected geographical trademark České pivo (Czech beer). Jan Veselý, the head of Czech Beer and Malt Association, said the trademark would help brewers sell their product abroad. The European Commission approved the trademark in October.

K Brewery interested in Staropramen
TV Z1 reported yesterday that K Brewery is interested in acquiring the Staropramen brewery. Staropramen owner Anheuser Busch-InBev is reportedly trying to sell the brewery in order to repay a bank loan of USD 40 billion. Staropramen did not comment on the report.

ČD managers agree to salary cut
The management at Czech Railways (ČD), including the CEO, will cut salaries 15% this year, following an agreement with Transport Minister Petr Bendl. The move will save some CZK 11 million.
HN 20, ČTK

SmartWings offering new summer flights
Low-cost airline SmartWings, operated by Czech Travel Service, will launch six new routes from Prague for the summer season. New destinations include Thessaloniki, Corfu, Zakynthos, Naples, Ibiza and Split.

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