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Breakfast Brief – 21 April 2009

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Table of Contents

ČR quits UN conference on racism
The Czech Republic has left the UN conference on racism that began in Geneva yesterday over a speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that described Israel as a country with a “racist government”.
most Czech press

ODS members reject turn to Havel
Some ODS members have criticised party leader Mirek Topolánek’s suggestion that the party should attract people close to former president Václav Havel. ODS EP Ivo Strejček said he was shocked by any suggestion the party would turn to Havel supporters and said he would call an ideological party congress. Havel told Saturday’s Lidové noviny he hoped voters would pay back ČSSD for causing the cabinet to collapse. Topolánek said Havel’s words were simply praise and “nothing else”.
most Czech press

Pension reform will raise monthly payments
A new law aimed at reforming pension funds approved yesterday by the cabinet will require people to pay more into their pensions each month in order to obtain a state bonus. The amount necessary for the minimum bonus of CZK 50 will rise from CZK 100 to CZK 300. The reform will affect both new clients and existing ones and will come into force next January. Labour Minister Petr Nečas said the government wants to encourage people to save more toward pensions.
HN 1, 2

Schwarzenberg could join Kalousek’s new party
Hospodářské noviny reports outgoing Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg might consider joining a new political party if outgoing Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek decides to form one. Schwarzenberg has not denied the speculation.
HN 4

Klaus rejects claim he peddled PM position
President Václav Klaus yesterday rejected allegations by outgoing Interior Minister Ivan Langer published in Týden that Klaus called people on the phone and offered them the position of caretaker prime minister. Klaus said on his website the allegations were a lie.

Roma girl still critical; police looking for attackers
A two-year-old Roma girl who was burned in an attack on a Roma family in Vítkov on Saturday remains in critical condition at an Ostrava hospital. A hospital spokesman said the next two days will be decisive. Meantime, police are continuing to investigate. Police spokeswoman Soňa Štětínská said dozens of people have been questioned.
most Czech press

Roma activists seeking security patrols
Roma activists have asked for security patrols to be established after Saturday’s attack on a Roma family in Vítkov. The appeal was published on the Romea association website. The patrols would cooperate with regional authorities and the police. Outgoing Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek said a new programme to prevent right-wing extremism to be adopted in the coming weeks should also focus on preventing extremist violence.
most Czech press

Survey: government collapse will harm Czech EU presidency
A survey by Factum Invenio shows 43% of people think the recent collapse of the government will harm the image of the Czech EU presidency, while 36% think it will not affect perceptions. The first group is comprised mainly of ODS voters and university-educated people; the second group is made up mainly of ČSSD supporters.

Julínek named to VZP board
The cabinet yesterday named former health minister and ODS Senator Tomáš Julínek to the board of trustees of the VZP health insurer. ČSSD criticised the move, saying the outgoing cabinet should not be making irreversible decisions.
Právo 1, 3

Catholic church expects Pope visit in September
Catholic priests around the country announced Sunday that Pope Benedict XVI would visit the country for three days starting 26 September. The Vatican has not yet confirmed the date.
MfD A3

Aeroflot and Odien out of ČSA bid
The outgoing cabinet has eliminated Aeroflot’s Darofan and the Odien company from a list of companies hoping to buy Czech Airlines. Two companies, a consortium of Unimex and Travel Service and Air France-KLM, advanced to the second round. Aeroflot Deputy Director General Lev Koshlyakov said his company accepted the cabinet’s decision but dismissed claims that had questioned Aeroflot’s safety and security.
most Czech press

Flat prices fall for first time since 2005
According to data by the Czech Statistical Office (ČSÚ), prices for flats fell 3% in the first quarter from the previous quarter, in the first drop since 2005. Prices outside of Prague fell 4.6%, while in Prague by less than 1%. King Sturge analyst Ondřej Novotný said he expects the trend to continue, with prices for new flats stagnating and for older properties falling up to 10%.
HN 16, E15 10

ČEZ mulling giant tender Temelín-Bohunice
ČEZ is considering combining two tenders to build nuclear power plants in Jaslovské Bohunice in Slovakia and at Temelín in South Bohemia into one giant tender worth from CZK 230 billion to CZK 290 billion. ČEZ said combining the tenders would be advantageous for its suppliers.
E15 8

ČR to acquire four transport planes
The outgoing cabinet yesterday approved the acquisition of four Casa C-295M transport planes produced by the EADS consortium and valued at CZK 3.52 billion. Three of the planes would be paid for while the fourth would be exchanged for five decommissioned L-159 fighter planes. The transaction will also include Casa spare parts and training for crew and personnel.
most Czech press

Managers from ČEZ and Czech Post publish salaries
The top managers of state companies Czech Post and ČEZ have decided to follow the head of Czech Railways (ČD) and publish their salaries. The head of Czech Post, Petr Sedláček, earns CZK 250,000 a month, while his deputies make CZK 150,000-200,000. ČEZ CEO Martin Roman said his monthly salary was similar to the head of ČD who owns CZK 500,000 per month.
HN 1, 13, 14

Budějovický měšťanský pivovar for sale
Shareholders of Budějovický měšťanský pivovar, who owns trademarks like Samson Budweiser Bier and BB Budweiser Bier, want to sell a 97% stake in the brewery for CZK 1.5 billion. Brewers PMS Přerov and K Brewery are reportedly interested in bidding.
HN 13, 16

ECM receives permission to build again in Pankrác
ECM has been granted a permit to build another building in Prague’s Pankrác. The building, City Court, would be 36 metres high and house mainly offices. The company is already planning to build a 104-metre high V-shaped apartment building and a high-rise hotel.

Tender for metro’s D line opened
The Prague Public Transit Company has declared a tender to provide documentation for the proposed 11-kilometre-long metro line D that would connect Písnice and náměstí Míru and which could someday reach Žižkov or náměstí Republiky. The cost of building the line is estimated at up to CZK 35 billion and construction is expected to begin in 2011 at the latest.
LN 6

ČR to lend CZK 27bn to IMF
The cabinet yesterday approved a loan of CZK 27 billion to the International Monetary Fund to help countries cope with the economic crisis. The loan was agreed earlier this month at the G20 summit in London. The money will come from the central bank’s foreign-currency reserves.
HN 13

ČR to borrow from EIB for road construction
The cabinet yesterday approved a loan for CZK 8.35 billion for transport infrastructure from the European Investment Bank. Transport Minister Petr Bendl said construction of the D47 motorway and Prague’s ring road would continue.

EP reaches agreement on stricter bank rules
The Czech EU presidency and the European Parliament have reached agreement on regulating the capital adequacy of banks that would tighten rules in reaction to the financial crisis. The legislation would limit amounts that banks could lend each other.

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