Parties agree on changes to anti-crisis package
The leaders of parties represented in parliament yesterday agreed on changes to a package of austerity measures put forward by the Finance Ministry that would cut next year’s budget deficit from an estimated CZK 230 billion. Under the changes, the allowable budget gap would rise from CZK 155.3 billion to around CZK 163 billion. Deputies are to discuss the measures today. Finance Minister Eduard Janota said yesterday he would not want to stay in his post if the package were not approved.
Source: most Czech press
Politicians to discuss govt mandate extension
In the coming days, leaders of the main political parties are to discuss the future shape and mandate of the caretaker cabinet of Jan Fischer. The cabinet was formed earlier this year after the government failed a confidence vote and was supposed to lead the country until early elections scheduled for 9-10 October.
Police want to prosecute MP Wolf for fraud
The police will ask the lower house by the end of September to approve the prosecution of MP Petr Wolf, who left ČSSD last year and then supported Mirek Topolánek’s cabinet. Wolf is suspected of defrauding the state of millions of crowns in subsidies.
Source: Právo 1, 7
Ministry presents project on revitalising Roma ghetto
Interior Minister Martin Pecina yesterday presented a programme on revitalising the Roma ghetto in Most’s Chánov district. The government would earmark over CZK 1 million for seven different projects involving NGOs and the town of Most. Deputy Minister Jiří Komorous said the plan would show society there are answers to problems in areas inhabited by Roma.
Source: HN 6, Právo 7
TOP 09 calls for cutting state support for parties
The new political party, TOP 09, has proposed lowering the amount of money that parties get from the state by 50% in the next three years to help reduce the budget deficit. The other parties would be unwilling to support such a proposal, according to a Hospodářské noviny poll.
Bém to face deputy in vote on chair of Prague ODS
Rudolf Blažek, Prague’s deputy mayor, yesterday officially confirmed his candidacy for the chair of the Prague branch of ODS. The current chairman, Prague Mayor Pavel Bém, will defend the post in November. HN reports that another Bém’s deputy, Pavel Klega, could challenge for the post. The paper says Bém’s chances are small.
Source: HN 1, 5
Over 140,000 people will go see the Pope
Some 140,000 tickets so far have been distributed to people wanting to attend one of the masses to be held by Pope Benedict XVI in Brno and Stará Boleslav, said Jan Balík from the Czech Bishops’ Conference. The Church expects thousands of people, including many foreigners, to turn up without tickets.
Source: HN 4
Ministry wants to use EU funds to reduce impact of crisis
The Regional Development Ministry has prepared an action plan to use EU funds to ease the impact of the global economic crisis. The ministry said the plan would make it easier for small and mid-sized businesses, municipalities and non-profit organisations to get subsidies, soft loans and guarantees.
Unions say 4% drop in public servants’ wages unacceptable
The trades unions say they are opposed to a planned 4% reduction in wages for public servants next year. The unions say the cuts could lead to a mass exodus of employees and that performance would worsen as a result.
Broadcast council to probe vulgar speech during ‘SuperStar’
Following complaints from viewers, the Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting has launched proceedings against the operator of TV Nova, CET 21, over alleged vulgar speech used during the recent music contest Česko Slovenská SuperStar, the local version of Pop Idol.
Source: Právo 5
Klaus: Future economic development will be complicated
The global economic downturn has apparently reached a bottom, Czech President Václav Klaus told journalists in New York Tuesday. He said, however, that it does not necessarily mean a turn for the better. He predicted the coming period would be complicated and that the anti-crisis measures would not work.
EU court: Commission can’t set emission limits for members
The European Commission acted beyond its powers when it ordered member states to reduce their planned volume of greenhouse gas emissions, according to a ruling by the EU court concerning Poland and Estonia. Similar lawsuits against the Commission have been filed by other countries, including the Czech Republic. The commission has two months to appeal. Experts say electricity prices could fall further if carbon limits are not upheld.
Source: most Czech press
Parties call on ČEZ to increase dividend payout
The Social Democrats, backed by the Communists, Greens and Christian Democrats, are demanding that ČEZ pay a super dividend this year to all shareholders, including the Czech state. The Social Democrats say in a campaign that the cash would help cover the costs of benefits for seniors and families with children. Vojtěch Filip, the head of the Communist party, said ČEZ should pay out all of its profit this year, which would bring in CZK 30 billion to state coffers, more than the CZK 19 billion the state received this year. ODS, TOP 09 and Finance Minister Eduard Janota are opposed to the move.
Source: HN 1, 16, 17
Non-profits call for end to exploitation of foreign workers
Foreign workers are often the victims of exploitation by their employers and labour agencies, and the state is powerless to prevent it, according to 12 non-profit organisations in a letter yesterday to Prime Minister Jan Fischer and other ministers. The authors called on the government to take steps to make life easier for foreign workers.
Vodafone parent to withdraw CZK 17bn from Czech branch
According to the Commercial Register, the UK parent company of Vodafone will draw down CZK 17 billion of registered capital from its Czech branch due to an excess of operating capital.
Source: HN 15
Textiles maker placed up for sale
Kordárna, which makes technical fabrics for the rubber industry and which has been in insolvency proceeding since April, has been put up for sale. The total amount of registered claims against the company is CZK 5.7 billion. A new owner should be known by November or December.
Source: E15 8
UniCredit appoints Italian to lead retail group
The Italian owner of UniCredit Group has appointed Italian Emanuelle Cacciatore as head of retail distribution in the Czech Republic, following the appointment of two board members from Italy already this year. Bank experts said the move signals the bank’s efforts to boost business for private clients and they expect others from Italy to join the Czech branch.
Source: HN 19
Self-employed workers threatened by late payments
A poll by Poštovní spořitelna bank shows 50% of self-employed workers now find themselves dealing with late payments by customers and that the delays are a threat to their businesses.
Source: LN 15
Survey: Prague far out in front of Czech regions on investments
Prague dominates the other Czech regions in terms of its overall socioeconomic development as well as its attractiveness for investors, a MasterCard study shows.
Source: MfD B2
Building sector could lose a quarter of workers
The Association of Building Entrepreneurs said in an outlook yesterday that in a worst-case scenario the construction sector could lose 116,000 jobs, or a quarter of the workforce, by 2012. The most likely scenario foresees a loss of 9,000 jobs compared with last year.
Source: E15 9
Seniors snapping up autumn tours
Despite the crisis, the number of seniors buying a holiday tour this autumn will rise by 10%-15% from a year ago, said Jaromír Beránek of MAG Consulting, following a survey of 30 major travel agencies.