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Breakfast Brief – 9 June 2009

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Table of Contents

Green Party chairman resigns
Former Environment Minister Martin Bursík gave up his post as leader of the Greens yesterday after his party gained only 2.05% in last week’s elections for European Parliament. Deputy chair Ondřej Liška will temporarily lead the party until October’s parliamentary elections. Bursík also said he will not try to keep his seat in the lower house this autumn.
most Czech press

EU election campaign unprofitable for most parties
The KDU-ČSL may be the only parliamentary party profiting from the EU polls, according to a comparison of parties’ campaign spending with the state subsidies they are entitled to receive in proportion to the votes they get. The Social Democrats, who spent CZK 60 million on the campaign will probably see the biggest loss, getting less than CZK 16 million from the state. The winning ODS will lose CZK 28 million.
LN 1, 3, MfD A4

ODS head praises internet’s role in election campaign
ODS chair and former PM Mirek Topolánek said yesterday that making the internet a significant part of the campaign and setting up the Blue Team of party supporters was a key move that helped the Civic Democrats win the EU elections. The party is planning on employing a similar strategy in the October general elections.

Klaus disappointed by low voter turnout
Czechs do not value the importance of EU institutions, President Václav Klaus, a noted Eurosceptic, said yesterday in reaction to the low voter turnout in the elections for European Parliament. Klaus said he was hoping to see more than 28% of voters go to the polls.

Fischer: Next govt to decide on radar
It is up to the next government to consider further plans involving a US radar base on Czech soil, PM Jan Fischer said yesterday in Brussels after meeting with NATO head Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

Military deployments approved for 2010
The government authorized a draft plan yesterday on the Czech army’s foreign missions in 2010, mainly in Kosovo and Afghanistan, Prime Minister Jan Fischer said. Parliament has yet to vote on the postings.

LN: ODS and ČSSD supporters back Fischer’s cabinet
A survey conducted by Lidové noviny shows that Jan Fischer’s cabinet is supported by 54% of both ODS and ČSSD voters. Overall, 46.7% of Czechs are happy with the cabinet’s performance while 22.8% are unhappy and 30.5% have no opinion.
LN 4

Cabinet fails to recommend lobbying law
Jan Fischer’s cabinet dealt yesterday with the ČSSD proposal for better control of lobbying. The Social Democrats want lobbyists to regularly publicise which laws they are trying to influence, and also would require them to register trade licences. The cabinet did not recommend implementing the law because of technical questions. The bill still has a chance in the lower chamber.
HN 6

Brožová-Polednová seeks interruption of sentence
Former communist prosecutor Ludmila Brožová-Polednová asked for her incarceration to be interrupted, citing poor healthcare conditions in prison, her lawyer, Vladimír Kovář, said yesterday. Polednová is serving six years for collaborating on the judicial murder of Milada Horáková in 1950.
Právo 7

CZK 9 million raised in breast cancer march
A breast cancer fundraiser in Prague’s centre on Saturday took in CZK 9 million. More than 7,000 people attended.

Janota predicts 3% GDP growth in three years
Finance Minister Eduard Janota said yesterday that the Czech economy could grow 2.4% in 2011 and 3% in 2012. He predicted a 2.3% GDP fall for this year. The state budget deficit should not exceed CZK 170 billion next year and is expected to further drop to CZK 160 billion in 2011 and CZK 156 billion in 2012, the government announced yesterday.
ČTK, Právo 17

Foreign trade shows surplus in April
The Czech Republic’s foreign trade reached a CZK 12 billion surplus in April, a year-on-year improvement of CZK 5.6 billion, according to the Czech Statistical Office.
Právo 19, HN 19

Pension funds lack money
Hospodářské noviny reports that some pension obligations exceed assets and altogether lack CZK 5.9 billion. The law guarantees that in the worst-case scenario the clients would get back what they put into the system as well as a state bonus. The Czech National Bank is holding talks with the Association of Pension Funds concerning how it might introduce the means to maintain the financial stability of pensions.
HN 1, 18

Unemployment temporarily flat
Unemployment in May remained at April’s level of 7.9%. Mladá fronta Dnes reported that the break in unemployment growth is temporary and was caused by the launch of seasonal jobs. The level of unemployment will soon increase as universities set forth their graduates. The number of unemployed people grew in the last year by 155,000, while 100,000 job positions were lost in the same stretch.
most Czech press

Vítkovice planning investments in CNG stations
Vítkovice Machinery Group, headed by Jan Světlík, has launched preparations to build a CNG filling station in Ostrava and plans another seven in the future. The number of such stations could expand from the 27 currently operating in the country to up to 200, and Vítkovice wants to be part of the investment, Světlík said.
HN 15-17

Govt puts hold on road construction
The government rejected yesterday the Transport Ministry’s plans to launch construction of new roads in the near future. The Road and Motorway Directorate lists some 80 projects that will be suspended.
MfD A10, Právo 8, ČTK

Outcry over cheap milk
Farmers are preparing to stage large protests, including blocking motorways, against low milk prices, Czech Agrarian Chamber head Jan Veleba said yesterday, adding that detailed information about plans will be published by the end of the week.

Penta’s acquisition of Noves Okná completed
Hasau Group, a newly established international holding controlled by the Slovak investment group Penta, has acquired Slovak window manufacturer Noves Okná. Penta’s investment director Jozef Janov said Noves will target demanding customers.
HN 16

Travel agents expect lower sales
Tomio Okamura, vice-president of the association of Czech travel agents, said the agents expect to sell 10% fewer holidays this year than last. It is the first time since 1989 that the number of holidays sold would be lower than in the previous year. The agents have already lowered the number of their offers by 10-15% and have launched “last minute” holiday deals.
LN 15

Student Agency drops rail tender, accuses ČD of unfair practices
The train and tour operators Keolis Deutschland and Student Agency have withdrawn their bid to operate railways in the Liberec region, citing what they called unfair practices by their state-run competitor, Czech Railways (ČD), Student Agency’s sales director for rail transportation, Jiří Schmidt, said yesterday.
ČTK, HN 19, MfD A11

J&T takes over arms manufacturer
In a strategic partnership with Stemwill, the Slovak financial group J&T has acquired full ownership of the bankrupt weapons maker Zbrojovka Brno and its affiliate company ICP-Byty, Radiožurnál reported yesterday. J&T, in cooperation with the real estate firm Czech Property Investments, bought the Zbrojovka premises at auction for CZK 707 million in January 2007.

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