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Breakfast Brief – 19 May 2009

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Table of Contents

Havel supports Greens in EU elections
Former president Václav Havel on Monday expressed support for the Green Party ahead of European Parliamentary elections on 5-6 June. Havel will not be supporting the Democratic Green Party, which splintered off from the Greens in March.
most Czech press

Reconstruction of Klementinum opposed by preservationists
The National Library is planning a radical reconstruction of its Baroque palace, the Klementinum, in the centre of Prague. Preservationists are protesting against the building of a new massive entrance to the complex as suggested in the reconstruction study by Metroprojekt.
LN 6, MfD C1, C2

Czech proposal could help Lisbon passage
The Czech EU Presidency will soon propose a set of measures aimed at increasing chances the Lisbon Treaty will be approved in a repeat referendum in Ireland, according to caretaker Minister for European Affairs Štefan Fülle. The proposal should be approved at the EU Summit in June.
Právo 13

Langer to lead ODS autumn campaign
The team heading ODS’s autumn election campaign will be led by former Interior Minister and party deputy head Ivan Langer. Langer told journalists on Monday team members would include British, German and Israeli advisers.

Seven Czechs now awaiting swine flu test results
A total of 92 Czechs have sought out testing for swine flu so far this year. The results have been negative for 85 of them. Seven are still awaiting the results.

Cabinet neutral toward bill on communist-era compensation
The cabinet has assumed a neutral stance toward a proposal from the lower house to grant compensation to people who lost jobs for political reasons under communism. PM Jan Fischer said the cabinet generally supports the proposal but that it needs to be modified.

Sixteen die in weekend road accidents
A total of 16 people died in road accidents on Saturday and Sunday, making it one of the most tragic weekends since the introduction of the point system for traffic violations in 2006.
MfD A5

Workers’ Party has cost state CZK 50m
The Czech police have spent almost CZK 50 million since the beginning of the year to provide security for meetings and marches by the ultra-right-wing Workers’ Party (DS), Lidové noviny reported.
LN 1, 2

Survey: Politicians motivated mostly by bribes
Czechs say bribery and corruption are widespread among politicians, according to a survey conducted by CVVM. Respondents said the needs of the general public and expert opinion have little effect on a politician’s actions. One-fifth of people polled said all politicians are corrupt.

Poll: Czechs trust UN and EU more than NATO
According to a recent CVVM survey, nearly two-thirds of Czechs say they trust the UN, while 60% of Czechs trust the EU and 53% trust NATO. Only 40% say they trust the European Parliament and the European Commission.

Sobotka: ČR will not have euro before 2014
ČSSD deputy head and Shadow Finance Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said the state budget deficit is so large that it will not be the next government but the one after that introduces the euro in the Czech Republic. Sobotka said he would consider it “a great success” if the country is able to enter the eurozone by 2014 or 2015.
HN 1, 4, Právo 4

NWR posts EUR 2.14m loss in Q1
Zdeněk Bakala’s mining company New World Resources, which owns the black coal mining company OKD, posted a EUR 2.14 million loss in Q1, reversing a EUR 117.8 million profit in the first quarter last year. The company’s share price fell by a fifth to 84 CZK but later recovered some ground to close at CZK 99.9. The company lowered its estimated output for the year to CZK 10.5 million tonnes, down from 12.7 million last year.
most Czech press

Czech Television and Prima lack money
Czech Television General Director Jiří Janeček said the public broadcaster may run out of money by next year and need to draw on its reserve fund. HN reports that ČT now has to pay for both analogue and digital broadcasting as well as pay additional taxes of CZK 300 million and cope with rising energy and labour prices. The station’s business director, Robert Kvapil, said a personnel audit would be finished next month and that some employees will be dismissed. The commercial TV station Prima yesterday fired its news director, Pavel Zuna, who had refused to make budget cuts.
most Czech press

Fischer: Prague airport sale prep to continue
PM Jan Fischer said although it is unlikely his cabinet would decide on the privatisation of Prague airport, he will continue with preparations for the sale. The ČSSD is demanding a halt to the airport sale and has threatened to withdraw support for Fischer’s cabinet if the privatisation continues.

J&T to sell off hotels and real estate
J&T investment group is planning to sell its real estate, hotel and holiday resort businesses, including its four- and five-star hotels in Prague, Bratislava, Moscow and its High Tatras resorts. The assets will be transferred to new companies and then offered to investors. The move is in line with the firm’s plan to narrow its portfolio to financial products and services for investors.
HN 1, 15

Havel compares Škoda Auto production to ‘concentration camp’
At a Green Party press conference yesterday, former president Václav Havel compared production at the carmaker Škoda Auto to a concentration camp in reference to a remark by an unnamed politician that the carmaker’s output should be boosted so that people can keep their jobs. Havel said that would be like justifying the existence of a concentration camp in order to keep the guards employed.
LN 1

ČEZ to shutter Dětmarovice plant until August
ČEZ will halt production at its Dětmarovice coal-fired power plant in Moravia starting Thursday until the end of August. The move comes in response to falling demand and energy prices, coupled with rising prices of black coal. The plant’s 300 employees will continue to go to work during the three months the plant is out of action.

Czechs fear EU regulation could raise food prices
A majority of Czech consumers say they fear a new EU regulation under which food makers no longer need to use standardised package sizes for food and other products will lead to an inconspicuous increase in prices, according to a recently released Factum Invenio survey.

Textile industry in ČR worst since 1997
The Moravia-based textile company Kordárna has begun insolvency proceedings, following on the heels of fellow textile makers Perla in Ústí nad Orlicí and Vitka Textiles in Svitavy. Overall textile industry sales in the Czech Republic dropped last year by 16% to almost CZK 46 billion, its lowest since 1997.
HN 16

Czech brewers introducing new beer brands
The brewery Pivovar Náchod will reintroduce its 11° beer tomorrow after a 20-year pause, with a planned production of 130,000 hectolitres. Other brewers are also introducing new products as consumption in the Czech Republic stagnates. There are some 430 different types of beer on the Czech market.
HN 18

Electronics retailers notch record last year
The six biggest electronics retailers in the Czech Republic saw sales rise to a record CZK 28 billion in 2008, a year-on-year increase of CZK 1.9 billion, according to a report by Incoma Research and the magazine Moderní obchod.

Hotel bookings down 8.4% in first quarter
Hotels in the Czech Republic registered 2.3 million guests from January until March this year, an 8.4% drop from last year, the Czech Statistical Office reported.
E15 10, LN 16

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