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Breakfast Brief – 13 October 2009

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Table of Contents

Govt wants Klaus to guarantee no more Lisbon-related demands
The cabinet is prepared to discuss with the European Union the situation concerning ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, which is being complicated by additional guarantees demanded by Czech President Václav Klaus, PM Jan Fischer said yesterday. Fischer said Klaus should give an unambiguous guarantee that he will finish the ratification process without delay if his conditions are met and the Constitutional Court decides the treaty is in line with the Czech Constitution.
Source: most Czech press

Havel frowns on Obama decision on Dalai Lama
During the Forum 2000 conference yesterday, former Czech president Václav Havel expressed disillusionment with US President Barack Obama’s decision to postpone a meeting with the Dalai Lama until Obama first visits China. Havel labelled the decision a “trivial compromise” that could lead to a “fatal compromise”.
Source: LN 1, 5, Právo 2

MEPs criticise Klaus over opposition to Lisbon
German MEP Jo Leinen has called for impeachment proceedings against Czech president Václav Klaus if Klaus fails to sign the Lisbon Treaty provided that the Czech Constitutional Court finds no flaws in the document. Austrian MEP Othmar Karas criticised Klaus for vanity among other things.
Source: ČTK

Geldof: All of Europe should have voted on Lisbon
It is a pity that only the Irish were given the chance to vote directly on the Lisbon Treaty, according to Irish singer and activist Bob Geldof. If Czechs had had their say in a referendum, this would have eliminated the problem of president Václav Klaus being unwilling to sign the treaty and complicating its ratification, said Geldof, who was taking part in the Forum 2000 conference in Prague.
Source: ČTK

Plzeň university officials face dismissal
The dean of Plzeň university’s law faculty and former justice minister Jiří Pospíšil has demanded that former dean Jaroslav Zachariáš and two former vice deans, Milan Kindl and Ivan Tomažič, leave the faculty altogether or he will sack them. The three are suspected of selling academic degrees but are still teaching. Kindl resigned yesterday from his post as head of the civic law department and, according to Pospíšil, is considering leaving the university. The other two have given up their administrative posts but are reluctant to stop teaching.
Source: most Czech press

Poll: Dissatisfaction with politics greatest in three years
A late-September poll by CVVM revealed that 69% of Czechs are dissatisfied with the political situation in their country, eight percentage points more against a month ago and the biggest figure since the mid-2006 general elections. A mere 5% of respondents said they were satisfied, compared with 11% at the beginning of September.
Source: ČTK

Govt against wage cut for MPs
The cabinet yesterday rejected a proposal by unaffiliated MP Juraj Raninec to lower deputies’ wages to the minimum wage as part of the fight against the economic crisis, Prime Minister Jan Fischer said.
Source: ČTK

Greenpeace protests coal-mining proposal
Activists from the international environmental organisation Greenpeace climbed onto the roof of the government offices yesterday to protest a proposal that would allow coal mining in northern Bohemia to exceed set limits. The cabinet yesterday postponed debate on the issue by one month.
Source: Právo 1, 3, MfD A2

Canada interested in buying L-159 fighters
Canada’s Air Force expressed interest in buying nine Czech L-159 fighter planes for its Snowbirds aerobatics unit but the Czech Defence Ministry has not responded to the request for six months, reported yesterday. The Czech Republic has been trying unsuccessfully for years to sell 47 L-159 planes because the Czech army no longer needs them.

Litoměřice court sentences Terezín thieves
Litoměřice’s regional court yesterday sentenced Libor Mirga, Peter Hricko and Miroslav Daňo to 4.5, 4 and 3.5 years in prison respectively for stealing 824 bronze grave tablets from the Terezín Memorial in April and causing damage worth CZK 1.7 million. Mladá fronta Dnes reports that Hricko and Mirga both live in London and deny the allegations.
Source: MfD A4, Právo 7

ČR still trying to lure Galileo project
The government will continue to try to have the European space project Galileo based in the Czech Republic and would prefer this to hosting the European Asylum Support Office, PM Jan Fischer said yesterday.
Source: ČTK

HN: Russian influence on Czech energy growing
Tvel, a nuclear fuel maker that will supply nuclear power plants Dukovany and Temelín for the next 10 years starting in 2010, is allegedly eyeing an option to build a fuel cell plant in the Czech Republic. Tvel belongs to the Russian state-owned holding company Rosatom, which is cited as a favourite in the CZK 250 billion state order to build new nuclear blocks at Temelín. Hospodářské noviny reports that with Gazprom supplying two thirds of Czech natural gas and Lukoil supplying most Czech refineries with oil, Russian influence on the Czech energy market is growing fast.
Source: HN 1, 2, 3

Janota: Unimex would acquire Czech Airlines in spring
If the government decides to sell Czech Airlines, the consortium Unimex Travel Service could take over the troubled airline by April or May, Finance Minister Eduard Janota said after a cabinet meeting yesterday. Ministers are expected to make a final decision on the transaction this month. The new chairman of the ČSA supervisory board, Václav Novák, will present his plan for reviving the airline today. Mf Dnes reports that ČSA pilots have agreed to wage cuts but have not yet revealed the figures.
Source: most Czech press

Warsaw bourse to lure small Czech firms
The Warsaw Stock Exchange (WSE) will launch a campaign in November to lure smaller Czech companies to list on the Polish stock market rather than seek bank loans or private investors, according to WSE spokesman Marcin Przeslowski. While the WSE has already listed some 500 firms, it has only double the daily average trading volume of the Prague Stock Exchange, mainly due to its focus on small firms.
Source: HN 15

Prague protests against state aid to Opel
Czech Industry and Trade Minister Vladimír Tošovský sent the European Commission an official request demanding the EU comply with economic competition rules and assess thoroughly the assistance the German government is providing in the sale of the carmaker Opel, E15 reported. Belgium, Spain and Great Britain have raised objections as well.
Source: E15 1, 4

Koh-i-noor eyeing Česká mincovna
The Czech company Koh-i-noor Holding has submitted a bid to buy the mint Česká mincovna from the troubled Jablonex Group, the news site reported yesterday, citing a well-informed source. Koh-i-noor refused to comment. According to E15, Koh-i-noor is the only purely Czech bidder in the tender.

Industrial output drops; construction grows
Czech industrial production decreased by 8.4% year-on-year in August following an 18.2% drop in July. By contrast, construction output in real terms rose 0.6% on the year in August after a 4.4% decline in July, the Czech Statistical Office said yesterday.
Source: most Czech press

Current account gap rises to CZK 8.5bn
The Czech current account deficit rose to CZK 8.5 billion in August from CZK 3 billion in July, the Czech National Bank said yesterday, due mainly to CZK 12.8 billion in dividend pay-outs.
Source: ČTK

Naxos to auction off prefab flats
The real estate company Naxos is planning a series of auctions starting in November to offer prefabricated flats in Prague and surrounding areas. The flats belonged to a Prague cooperative, Pražské stavební bytové družstvo, currently in bankruptcy proceedings. Naxos will be auctioning off some 20 flats for around CZK 22,500 per square metre. The average price for a prefab flat in Prague is currently between CZK 35,000 and 45,000 a square metre.
Source: E15 12, 13

German firms on Czech market seek more flexible labour laws
German companies operating in the Czech Republic have called for the introduction of shorter working hours at lower wages. The firms, many of whom are key businesses in the Czech economy, claim they would otherwise have to lay off more people owing to a shortage of orders.
Source: Aktuálně.cz

Jablonex collapse gives smaller jewellers a chance
The liquidation of the costume jewellery maker Jablonex Group has given a chance to smaller firms in the region to adjust to trends and changes in customer demand, according to Milan Nerth of metal jeweller Kobi. However, experts from jewellery makers Preciosa and PAS Jablonec say knock-off agents from Asia, who can copy and launch a product more cheaply, are the main threats.
Source: HN 15, 19

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