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Breakfast Brief – 9 April 2009

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Table of Contents

Fischer to be appointed prime minister today
President Václav Klaus later today is expected to appoint Jan Fischer, the head of the Czech Statistical Office, as prime minister of a new caretaker government. The appointment follows a crisis agreement reached yesterday between the leaders of ČSSD and ODS. Fischer wants to open talks on candidates for the government after Easter.
most Czech press

More ODS senators support Lisbon Treaty
ODS Senator Jaroslav Kubera says many of his party colleagues in the Senate who had opposed the Lisbon Treaty will now support it out of spite for President Václav Klaus. Two ODS senators, Vítězslav Jonáš and Jiří Stříteský, confirmed that they have changed their positions on the treaty. Jonáš said the fall of the government during the Czech EU presidency had damaged the country. Senators are expected to consider the treaty in May.
E15 4, 5

Survey reveals flaws in Roma education
The chance a Roma child living in a ghetto will finish elementary school is 50% lower than for a non-Roma child, according to a survey conducted by the GAC polling agency for the Education Ministry. One third of all Roma children in the Czech Republic study in specialised schools for mental disorders. “One fifth of Roma children are above-average and could continue on to secondary school,” said Ivan Gabal, a GAC sociologist.
LN 3, Právo 4

Czech football coach, six players sacked
The Czech Football Association has sacked coach Petr Rada as well as six players and 13 other members of the national team following last week’s loss to Slovakia. The players, Milan Baroš, Martin Fenin, Radoslav Kováč, Marek Matějovský, Václav Svěrkoš and Tomáš Ujfaluši, were expelled for disciplinary reasons. Tabloids allege the players spent the night out with prostitutes after the match.
most Czech press

Kalousek signs govt agreement; Čunek to defend post
Finance minister and KDU-ČSL member Miroslav Kalousek, along with four other KDU-ČSL colleagues, signed an agreement yesterday to enable Jan Fischer to form a new government and call early elections in October. KDU-ČSL head Jiří Čunek said he would defend his post at a party congress in May.
most Czech press

ODS billboard attacks Paroubek
Jan Zahradil, the party’s lead candidate in the upcoming EP elections, presented a new ODS billboard highlighting what ODS says are recent irresponsible actions by ČSSD leader Jiří Paroubek. The billboard features a picture of Paroubek saying: “Europe or the Czech Republic, I don’t give a damn about it all. Sincerely yours, Jiří Paroubek”.
MfD A2

Czech roads safest since 1990
Only 178 people died on Czech roads in the first three months of 2009, the lowest number since 1990. The head of the traffic police, Leoš Tržil, attributed the lower figure to a new law under which police are no longer required to assist in accidents where damage is under CZK 100,000. He said the law frees up more police to patrol the roads. Václav Špička from Autoklub ČR said there are fewer lorries on the roads because of the economic crisis.
HN 3

More than 20 people injured in stampede
More than 20 people, including some children, suffered injuries when a promotional event held by Kiss radio yesterday in České Budějovice got out of hand. Following an announcement, the station began tossing out coupons that could be exchanged for money. Around 1,000 people took part in the melee. Two children suffered serious injuries.
most Czech press

Central bank governor predicts growth next year
Czech National Bank Governor Zdeněk Tůma said in an online interview with Respekt yesterday that the situation for the Czech economy could start picking up next year. He said the country would still feel the impact of the crisis in the next two quarters.
HN 1, 19

Govt and ČSSD approve car-scrapping bonus
The government and the opposition ČSSD have agreed a series of measures to deal with the economic crisis, including a proposal to pay buyers of new cars a subsidy for turning in their old cars. Under the agreement, new car buyers would receive a state subsidy of CZK 30,000 if their former vehicles are at least 10 years old and the cars they are buying are worth less than CZK 500,000.
most Czech press

Czech bank fees higher than eurozone average
Banking fees in ČR last year were some 19% higher than average in eurozone countries, according to the World Retail Banking Report 2009 by the consultancy Capgemini. Czechs paid an average of CZK 188 a month in fees, a rise of 3% year-on-year., Právo 19

Čekia: Orco’s loss biggest since 2005
Orco’s 2008 loss of CZK 10.4 billion could be the biggest loss posted by a Czech company since 2005, according to the Čekia agency. Exchanges in Prague, Budapest and Warsaw are planning to end trading in Orco shares.
most Czech press

Analysts: Jobless rate may reach 9.8%
The unemployment rate in the Czech Republic rose to 7.7% in March from 7.4% in February and from 5.6% a year ago, the Labour Ministry said yesterday. Analysts quoted in ČTK said unemployment could rise to as high as 9.8% by the end of the year.
most Czech press

Kanzelsberger to close Můstek store
Kanzelsberger, the largest Czech bookshop chain, will close its store at Můstek known as the “House of Books” due to a drop in demand. Jiří Jirásek, the owner of the Neoluxor book chain, said book sales were hurt by a four-percentage-point increase in VAT last year.
HN 17, MfD C1

Karlovarský porcelán to resume operations
The new owner of four bankrupt Karlovarský porcelán factories want to restart production by the end of April. Michal Bíman, the head of AP Trust, said as many as 450 of the 1,000 laid-off workers could return to work by May. The exact identity of Karlovarský porcelán’s owners remains unclear. Mladá fronta Dnes reports that AP Trust was established five years ago by Škoda Holding, but that AP Trust changed hands last year and that the new owner is referred to merely as a “foreign investment company”.
MfD B1, B3

Patria: Car subsidies could bring in CZK 80bn
Czech carmakers and car parts producers could see exports grow by CZK 60-80 billion this year thanks to car-scrapping bonuses introduced in a number of European countries, according to Patria Finance. As a result, overall industrial output could grow 2-2.5%.

State debt exceeds CZK 1 trillion
The state debt exceeded CZK 1 trillion in March, around CZK 1 billion more than at the beginning of the year. The debt is expected to increase an additional CZK 120-130 billion this year.
LN 15

Czech demand for diamonds growing
The demand for diamonds as an investment option is growing in the Czech Republic as it falls in western Europe and the US. Přemysl Synek, the head of Diamonds International Corporation, says this is because investing in diamonds is relatively new here.
HN 16

RWE Transgas, MND apply for EU subsidy
Two Czech energy companies, RWE Transgas and Moravské naftové doly (MND), have applied for a European Union subsidy to expand their existing gas tanks and build new ones, the daily E15 reported. RWE Transgas expects its investment to reach CZK 7 billion, only part of which would be covered by the EU money.
E15 1, 4 Wed

Temelín payments to begin this year
Municipalities near the Temelín nuclear plant and the South Bohemian region are expected to receive the first of their compensation payments for the planned expansion of the plant already this year. A list of projects to be covered by the payments will be available by the end of July.

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