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Breakfast Brief – 12 October 2009

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Table of Contents

Govt seeking solution to Klaus’s demands
Cabinet will today discuss potential ways to meet President Václav Klaus’s new requirement for the signing of the EU-reforming Lisbon Treaty. The Czech president is demanding a guarantee that the new treaty will not lead to the cancellation of the Beneš decrees. One of the options is to demand guarantees of state sovereignty similar to those granted to Ireland, HN reports. Klaus’s adviser Ladislav Jakl said yesterday that the president would not ratify the treaty so long as his demands on the Beneš issue remained unmet.
Source: most Czech press

Sunday Times: European diplomats seek to oust Klaus
The UK Sunday Times reported yesterday that German and French diplomats are mulling ways to discipline Václav Klaus over his refusal to sign the Lisbon Treaty. The paper claims that two options are currently on the table: “impeach him [Klaus] or change the Czech constitution to take away his right of veto”.
Source: LN 2, Právo 2

Fischer, Füle: Lisbon ratification in the pipeline
ČTK reports that a spokesman for Prime Minister Jan Fischer said on Saturday that the Lisbon Treaty will be approved by the Czech Republic in the “foreseeable future”. European Affairs Minister Štefan Füle said it would be ratified by the end of the year.
Source: ČTK

Bankrupt businessman calls out controversial administrators
German businessman Peter Vöcklinghaus has launched arbitration proceedings against the Czech state after losing ownership rights of a golf course his company was building in Cihelny near Karlovy Vary. The bankruptcy of his company V.P. Komfort Cihelny was administered by lawyers led by Milan Kindl and Ondřej David, both involved with the Plzeň university law faculty currently at the centre of a corruption probe involving fake university decrees. David also had an interest in the golf course.
Source: most Czech press

Police detain 18 Polish football fans
A fight broke out between police officers and Polish football fans at Letná on Saturday after fans without tickets broke into the stadium prior to the Czech-Poland World Cup qualifier match. Of around 1,000 Polish fans without tickets, police detained 18, police spokeswoman Andrea Zoulová said. Criminal charges have been brought against three hooligans.
Source: LN 3, Právo 8

Váňa takes sixth gold in legendary steeplechase
The 56-year-old veteran Czech jockey Josef Váňa won the Velká pardubická steeplechase on Sunday with his 8-year-old Tiumen. It was Váňa’s sixth victory in the race considered to be one of the toughest in Europe.
Source: most Czech press

Poll: Three-fifths of Czechs meet with corruption
A poll by SANEP reveals that more than 60% of the population has encountered corrupt dealings. The respondents said they had been offered a bribe in 38% of cases while in 5% they had accepted one. Almost three-quarters of those polled believed that a law curbing lobbyists’ powers should be implemented.
Source: ČTK

Workers’ Party head dismisses dissolution bid
The head of Dělnická strana (Workers’ Party) Tomáš Vandas said on Saturday that the Supreme Administrative Court will likely throw out the government’s proposal for the DS’s dissolution next January. He called the proposal a bunch of expedient lies.
Source: LN 6 Sat, ČTK

Poll: 44% of Czechs trust caretaker govt
A September poll by STEM shows that almost half of the Czech public trusts the current caretaker government. No government has won such a high level of support since Vladimír Špidla’s administration in May 2006. With an 83% approval rating, Prime Minister Jan Fischer proved to be the most trustworthy member of the cabinet.
Source: ČTK

Controversial education ad breaches law
An advertising campaign for the private education company which had Roma workers wear t-shirts inscribed “I should have studied harder” was in breach of EU legislation on workplace discrimination, a spokeswoman for the Czech-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions Jana Kašparová said. Human Rights and Ethnic Minorities Minister Michael Kocáb previously voiced his disapproval of the campaign last week.
Source: ČTK

Plzeň law grad names to be published online
Lidové noviny reports that Jiří Pospíšil, the former Czech justice minister now heading the controversial law faculty at the Plzeň University of West Bohemia that has allegedly awarded titles to unqualified students, will publish the 800 doctorate graduates’ names online during this week.
Source: LN 4 Sat

Greens want Klaus out
In reports in Saturday’s national press, Green party chair Ondřej Liška claims that President Václav Klaus has abused his powers by imposing demands on the Lisbon Treaty after it was approved by parliament. The President should be sacked, Liška says.
Source: LN 1, 2 Sat, Právo 2 Sat

PPF re-enters eco tender
The Antimonopoly Office restored finance group PPF Advisory on Friday to a massive CZK 115 billion state tender to clean up ecological damage after ruling the Finance Ministry had excluded the company illegitimately. Four companies now vie for the public contract. HN reports it is likely the deadline for offers will be postponed from 2 November until some time next year.
Source: HN 1, 20, LN 16, Aktuálně.cz

Russians snub Česká rafinérská sale
Russia’s largest energy firm Lukoil has lost interest in buying a stake in the Czech Republic’s largest oil processing company Česká rafinérská, Lukoil’s majority owner Vagit Alekperov said in Moscow last week. Czech government energy expert Václav Bartuška told HN that trusting anyone in this sector would be naive.
Source: HN 17, 18

Unimex to pay in installments for ČSA
As the sole participant in the tender for Czech Airlines (ČSA), Unimex has proposed to pay off the CZK 1 billion in four installments of CZK 250 million by August 2013, Euro reports. In the meantime, ČSA’s board director Václav Novák plans to ask the government for a subsidy of CZK 3 billion, according to LN. Finance Minister Janota told the media that financial aid for the company is out of the question.
Source: ČTK, LN 20, E15 10

Antimonopoly Office probes public tv fees
The weekly Euro reports that the Antimonopoly Office is investigating whether Czech Television is misusing public broadcasting fee payments, which totalled CZK 5,786 billion last year.
Source: ČTK

Klaus signs off austerity package
President Václav Klaus signed legislative amendments on Friday facilitating the implementation of the savings package proposed by Finance Minister Eduard Janota that presents a deficit of CZK 163 billion.
Source: ČTK

ČEZ claims full stake in Romanian subsids
ČTK reports that state-owned energy giant ČEZ has bought off 19% of its Romanian subsidiaries CEZ Distributie a CEZ Vanzare worth CZK 3.8 billion in total. The acquisition makes ČEZ the sole owner of both units.
Source: ČTK

Consumer prices on downward spiral
The Czech Statistical Office reports that Czech consumer prices are on the same level as one year ago and falling. Prices were down by 0.4% between August and September. Zero inflation was recorded six years ago for the last time.
Source: most Czech press

Orco head optimistic about Colony deal
Orco chief executive Jean-Francois Ott said in an interview with Hospodářské noviny that he was still holding out hope for a proposed deal with US Colony Capital that could boost Orco’s capital by EUR 80 million. If the deal falls through, Orco would seek other potential investors, he said.
Source: HN 17-19

Four taxi services compete for Prague Airport
AAA radiotaxi, Fix, City taxi and Taxi Praha are competing to provide official services at Prague’s airport. Ruzyně Airport and Prague City Council will select two of the taxi firms, which should be providing their airport services until 2015.
Source: ČTK, Pd 2 Sat

Natural gas stations to triple in Prague by 2012
The number of natural gas stations in Prague will rise from four to 12 by 2012, Jan Žákovec of the department of alternative gas use at leading producer Pražská plynárenská said.
Source: ČTK

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