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Breakfast Brief – 8 October 2009

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Table of Contents

Fischer: Czechs will ratify Lisbon this year
Czech PM Jan Fischer said he believes the Czech Republic will complete the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty by the end of the year. He made the comment yesterday in a videoconference with European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Fredrik Reinfeldt, PM of Sweden, which is currently heading the EU presidency. Fischer plans to meet with Barroso on Tuesday for talks on a Czech candidate for EU commissioner.
Source: most Czech press

HN: Next year’s deficit to be CZK 10bn higher
Hospodářské noviny reports next year’s budget deficit will be CZK 10 billion higher than the foreseen CZK 162.7 billion because the Finance Ministry was using old numbers in its projections. Deputy Finance Minister Bohdan Hejduk said yesterday the ministry based its figures on an assumed economic growth rate of 0.3%, but last week Finance Minister Eduard Janota said the austerity package would lead to a 0.5% contraction. Hejduk said the ministry knew about change but did not have enough time to include it in the budget.
Source: HN 1, 4

Czech Republic under investigation for breaching deficit limit
The European Commission yesterday began looking into the budget of the Czech Republic for exceeding the EU’s limit of 3% of GDP. The country faces possible sanctions over its failure to stay within the limit. The Finance Ministry told ČTK that measures have been taken to lower the deficit in 2010.
Source: most Czech press

Senate committee OKs budget deficit proposal
The Senate committee for the budget recommended that the lower house approve a proposal that foresees a state budget deficit of CZK 162.7 billion in 2010.
Source: ČTK

TOP 09 leaves KDU-ČSL deputy club, freezes membership
KDU-ČSL leader Cyril Svoboda yesterday asked former MPs, now members of the new TOP 09 party, to leave the KDU-ČSL club of deputies. The five TOP 09 MPs are now unaffiliated since 10 MPs is the minimum needed to form a club. Meantime, Mf Dnes reports that TOP 09 has suspended taking in new members amid concern that an organised group was trying to gain control of the party. Member Pavel Severa said TOP 09 was receiving 50 applications a day.
Source: HN 5, MfD A1, A3, Právo 2

ČSSD calls on ODS, Greens to support Špidla as EU commissioner
The Social Democrats have called on the Civic Democrats and the Greens to support the candidacy of current EU commissioner Vladimír Špidla for the post of a new EU commissioner. Both ODS and the Greens have their own candidates for the post.
Source: ČTK

Paroubek: Party might be willing to replace ČSSD minister
The leader of the Social Democrats, Jiří Paroubek, said yesterday his party might agree to replace one of the ČSSD ministers nominated for the caretaker cabinet of Jan Fischer. Paroubek refused to name the minister, but Lidové noviny and Právo speculated it could be Agriculture Minister Jakub Šebesta. LN claims Paroubek would agree to replace the minister in exchange for support for his party’s candidate for EU commissioner.
Source: LN 1, 3, Právo 1, 2

New govt committee to promote women in politics
A new governmental committee has been set up to promote equal opportunity for women in politics and to encourage more women to seek elected office. Minister for Human Rights and Minorities Michael Kocáb said yesterday the committee would aim to promote a law that would increase women’s participation on party candidate lists to 30%.
Source: ČTK

Google launches Street View for ČR
Google yesterday launched Street View, a mapping service that displays photos of streets and public areas, in the Czech Republic. The service is currently mapping areas of Prague and other nearby cities as well as the D1 motorway connecting Prague and Brno.
Source: most Czech press

Former consolidation agency board member faces new trial
A court is planning to reopen a bribery case involving a former board member of the state consolidation agency (ČKA), Radka Kafková, by the end of the year. Kafková was accused of engaging in bribery at ČKA in 2008.
Source: Aktuálně.cz, E15 1, 4 Česká spořitelna wins building dispute with Finance Ministry
A court of first instance yesterday ruled in favour of Česká spořitelna in a three-year dispute with the Finance Ministry over ownership rights to a lucrative building on Tyršova street in central Prague, the news site reported yesterday. said the ministry will appeal the ruling.

Senate postpones national school-leaving exams
The Senate yesterday agreed to postpone introduction of nationwide school-leaving exams for secondary school students by one year, saying the exams needed more work. The proposal now goes to the president for his signature.
Source: ČTK

Saturday World Cup qualifier could bring in 4,000 Polish rowdies
Up to 4,000 football fans from Poland are expected to come to Prague on Saturday to support their national team in a World Cup qualifier at Letná stadium. The police are making preparations to handle any unruly behaviour.
Source: HN 14

Poll: Charles Bridge pickpockets among world’s ‘best’
According to a poll by travel website, pickpockets on the Charles Bridge are the third “best” in the world. Barcelona ended up first, while Rome ranked second in a worldwide survey.
Source: MfD B1

Czech Airlines board urges more cuts
A meeting yesterday of the Czech Airlines supervisory board, led by Václav Novák, agreed to proceed with a recovery plan to sell some planes and apply for new bank loans. ČSA CEO Radomír Lašák told ČTK that the measures would save the company CZK 5 billion in the next nine months. Novák said further cuts would be needed to prevent bankruptcy and would be announced next week.
Source: most Czech press

HN: Lesy made questionable loan to alleged J&T group
Hospodářské noviny is reporting that state-owned forestry giant Lesy ČR lent more than CZK 500 million to a private company RM-S Holding with alleged connections to the J&T investment group. HN says Lesy refuses to comment on the loan, which the paper says was then transferred to J&T Private Equity. At the same time, the Agriculture Ministry has halted purchase of a CZK 1 billion sawmill from CE Wood, which is currently in arbitration proceedings against Lesy, amid concern the transaction might be overpriced.
Source: HN 15-17, MfD A9, Právo 15

Foreign trade posts CZK 10.6bn surplus in August
The Czech Republic posted a foreign trade surplus of CZK 10.6 billion in August, a year-on-year improvement of CZK 9.1 billion, the Czech Statistical Office said. Analysts said the surplus was due mainly to lower import prices for raw materials combined with a drop in both consumer demand and investment by Czech companies.
Source: most Czech press

Aircraft makers eyeing Czech market for fighter planes
Leading aircraft manufacturers are already lining up to supply the Czech market with fighter planes after 2015 when the lease of Jas-39 Gripens ends. German-based Eurofighter and the US Lockheed Martin have expressed interest.
Source: E15 1, 6-7

Premium Red to share in Karlín development
Real estate developer Premium Red has purchased the plans to build 25,000 sq m of office space at the River Gardens development in Karlín from the Real Estate Karlin Group. The developer is now seeking tenants for the new offices and flats and should start construction in mid-2010.
Source: E15 12

German chamber pushes for labour law reform
German businesses based in the Czech Republic are calling for a reform of the state’s labour law that would allow companies to keep part of their staff at home when there is a lack of work provided they make up for lost hours later, according to a survey of members of the Czech-German Trade and Industry Chamber (ČNOPK).
Source: ČTK

New five-star hotel to open in Prague
Kings Court, a new five-star hotel on náměstí Republiky in central Prague, will open its doors tomorrow. The hotel is owned by an Israeli group and managed by the Czech firm HMG, which also runs the Golden Tulip Terminus hotel. Kings Court has 136 rooms and will target individual travellers and groups.
Source: HN 19

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