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Czech News in English » News » Breakfast Brief » Breakfast Brief - 22 September 2009

Breakfast Brief – 22 September 2009

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Govt approves austerity package
Cabinet on Monday approved a package of austerity measures intended to cut next year’s state budget deficit from CZK 230 billion to CZK 155.3 billion. The lower house will vote on the package on Thursday; after that, the cabinet will decide whether to stay in office, PM Jan Fischer said. Though all parties have voiced objections to the budget, only ČSSD, supported by the Communists, is planning to introduce changes, including proposing higher income taxes for the rich and corporations.
Source: most Czech press

EC says will react if Canada fails to lift visas for Czechs this year
If Canada does not lift visas for Czech citizens by the end of the year, the European Commission would propose countermeasures, including possibly requiring Canadian diplomats travelling to the European Union to obtain travel visas, Czech Deputy Interior Minister Lenka Ptáčková Melicharová said after a Monday meeting of EU interior ministers.
Source: most Czech press

Klaus: Communism fell on its own
President Václav Klaus, speaking at the Cato Institute in Washington to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of communism, said the former regime foundered of its own accord. He said some people in the Czech Republic “see themselves as real heroes of that era” but offer only a “misleading and biased recounting of stories”. In reference to the recent Czech EU presidency, Klaus said he thought he knew what the EU was about but that it was “even worse” than he imagined.
Source: HN 1, 6, Právo 9

Govt wants to cut wages for state attorneys, judges
Ministers agreed on Monday that wages for judges, state attorneys and other state officers should be cut by 4% next year, Finance Minister Eduard Janota told journalists.
Source: most Czech press

Report: British eurosceptics relying on Czechs
In a report in the British conservative paper The Daily Telegraph, eurosceptics in Britain are apparently hoping the Czechs will save them when it comes to the EU’s Lisbon Treaty. The reports says some Conservatives are encouraging the Czechs to prolong ratifying the treaty until after British elections in May. Conservative Party Chair David Cameron has promised that if his party wins the elections, he will call a referendum on the treaty if it is not yet ratified by all EU countries. The British parliament has already approved the treaty.
Source: MfD A7

Paroubek steps up criticism of former president Havel
ČSSD leader Jiří Paroubek has continued his recent public criticism of former President Václav Havel over the latter’s support for a proposed US anti-missile radar system. After earlier accusing Havel and ex-PM Mirek Topolánek of “desiring a world of iron curtains”, Paroubek wrote in an open letter in Friday’s Právo that Havel seeks “to divide Europe and the world again”. Yesterday, Paroubek added that Havel was not “capable of understanding the need to look for a new global consensus.”
Source: HN 5

Police investigating visa granting in Ukraine
The anti-corruption police started an investigation last week into whether corruption was involved in the way Czech visas were issued in the Ukrainian city of Lvov, Aktuálně.cz reports. Ukrainians seeking a visa had to first arrange a meeting at the Czech consulate by phone via a call centre and pay the phone fees to a private Czech company.
Source: Aktuálně.cz

Bus driver dies after fighting with passenger
A Prague public transport bus driver died last night of cardiac arrest after fighting with a drunken passenger who had been smoking on the bus.
Source: most Czech press

IT experts: Students deficient in math, natural sciences
Student deficiencies in mathematics, logic and natural sciences pose the main barriers to further development of information and communication technologies in the Czech Republic, experts agreed at a Monday seminar in the lower house.
Source: ČTK

Towns plan low-emission zones
Around a dozen Czech towns, including Prague, Plzeň, Ústí nad Labem, and České Budějovice, are considering introducing low-emission zones in town centres where old cars with high exhaust emissions would be excluded. A bill proposed by the Environment Ministry would require towns to have ring roads that would be used by older cars.
Source: LN 2

Janota: Austerity package will cause 0.3% drop in GDP
Finance Minister Eduard Janota told journalists the Czech economy will contract by 0.3% next year if a package of austerity measures approved by the cabinet on Monday comes into force. Without the package, his ministry was forecasting 0.3% growth in 2010.
Source: ČTK

Fitch: Czech debt will grow to over 40% of GDP by end-2010
Czech government debt is expected to rise to 40.8% of gross domestic product, an increase of 10.9 percentage points from last year, by the end of 2010 because of the global economic crisis, the rating agency Fitch Ratings said on Monday. Fitch said in addition to the crisis, Czech state finances are threatened by political uncertainty.
Source: LN 13, ČTK

ArcelorMittal to raise production
New orders will enable the biggest Czech steelworks, ArcelorMittal Ostrava, to increase production to full capacity at the start of next year from 30% of capacity in the first half of 2009, CEO Augustine Kochuparampil said.

Pliva-Lachema closing down; 400 to lose jobs
The pharmaceuticals company Pliva-Lachema will close down at the end of the year and dismiss 400 employees, according to Pavel Košek, a spokesman for the parent company, Teva Pharmaceutical. About 50 employees will be offered jobs at Teva’s production line in Opava.
Source: HN 20

More than 20 firms interested in Temelín expansion
Some 21 companies have obtained documents for participating in a tender to build two new units at the Temelín nuclear power station, E15 reported. Most did so only to find out how they could participate in the CZK 500 billion project as subcontractors.
Source: E15 11

ČSA to reduce flight capacity by 5%
Owing to a need to cut costs, Czech Airlines will cut capacity by 5% over the winter compared with last year, vice-president Petr Pištělák said Monday. The company will also introduce a new system to set prices for transfer tickets, which is expected to raise an additional CZK 500 million a year in revenue.
Source: most Czech press

German govt promises state subsidies for ČEZ
German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel yesterday offered the energy company ČEZ subsidies from the German government for the company’s planned construction of a new heating plant in the south of Saxony.
Source: HN 17-19

Some mobile fees set to drop next year
The Czech Telecommunications Office (ČTÚ) has announced that next year it will reduce the connecting fees that mobile phone operators charge each other, according to EU regulations. Jan Matura, the editor-in-chief of, said he does not expect the move to have an immediate effect on consumer call prices. Still, he said that he expects prices to fall by around 10% next year.
Source: HN 17

Building firms downgrade 2010-2011 outlook
Construction companies are predicting their business will drop by 2% in 2010-2011, according to a poll taken in early September by CEEC Research, KPMG and Ipsos Tambor. This compares to a 1% decline they predicted in a similar poll in July. The companies were more optimistic regarding this year’s developments, revising expectations for the year from a decline of 11% to 8% on average.
Source: ČTK

Preciosa to buy two Jablonex glass plants
Glass giant Preciosa will acquire two glass production facilities from the collapsing jewellery maker Jablonex Group at the end of the year, namely the former Ornela plants in Desná and Zásada in northern Bohemia, Preciosa representatives confirmed last weekend.

Prague, Mladá Boleslav, Brno rated most attractive for investors
Investors found Prague to be the most attractive Czech city in a recent MasterCard study. The capital received 92.6 points on a 100-point scale, followed by Mladá Boleslav, with 65.6 points, and Brno, with 58.1 points.
Source: ČTK

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