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Breakfast Brief – 25 September 2009

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Table of Contents

Parties fail to agree on austerity package
Yesterday’s meeting of party heads on cabinet’s proposed savings package failed to yield clear signs of the likely budget. During the talks, the Social Democrats managed to oust planned cuts to subsidies for childcare and healthcare while the Christian Democrats demanded a new tax on gambling. The Civic Democrats rejected all proposals. ODS deputy chairman Petr Nečas said he disapproved of parties shaping the budget in their own interests. MPs will resume discussions this morning.
Source: most Czech press

Fischer: No to savings package shows distrust in government
Prime Minister Jan Fischer stated yesterday that if MPs reject or radically change his cabinet’s proposed austerity package, he will take this as a sign the government lacks the lower house support. Fisher added he will accept amendments to the package provided the budget gap stays below CZK 164 billion.
Source: most Czech press

US does not want SM-3 missiles in ČR
American Under Secretary of Defense Policy Michele Flournoy said in the US Senate yesterday that the country has no plans to station SM-3 interceptor missiles on Czech territory. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates had each claimed earlier the Czech Republic was at the top of their list for an SM-3 base. The US is now holding talks on the issue with Poland only, HN writes.
Source: HN 1, 9

Topolánek’s right-hand man resigns
Lobbyist and close friend to Mirek Topolánek Marek Dalík has announced his departure from politics, the news server Aktuálně.cz reported yesterday. The official reason for Dalík’s exit was his annoyance at photographs of his bathroom circulated in the media. Citing unnamed ODS sources, MfD queried this explanation, saying the resignation might be a strategic move.
Source: most Czech press

Klaus names more delays for Lisbon treaty
In a letter to the Senate’s deputy chairwoman Alena Gajdůšková, President Václav Klaus has said he will not sign the EU’s Lisbon Treaty until the Constitutional Court assesses two pending complaints – one of which has already been submitted and another one being prepared by ODS senators.
Source: ČTK

Mayors oppose higher real estate tax
Criticising Finance Minister Eduard Janota’s proposal to double real estate tax, town officials claimed the change would not substantially boost municipal income. Instead, the move would burden middle-class property owners, the Český Těšín Deputy Mayor Stanislav Folwarczny said.
Source: LN 1, 13

Squatters reject court ruling
15 of the 22 squatters recently found guilty by Prague 2 District Court of illegally occupying a house in Prague’s Albertov have filed a complaint against the court’s decision. The squatters allege that squatting is not a crime, their spokeswoman nicknamed aunt Milada said.
Source: MfD B3, ČTK

Survey: Czechs annoyed by communist nostalgia
A Reader’s Digest study in today’s MfD shows 28% of Czechs believe the comment “Things were better under communism” to be the most irritating statement about the state of the nation.
Source: MfD A1, A3

Campaign helps pregnant women quit smoking
The national Centre for Prevention has launched a new anti-smoking campaign Chraňte své děťátko – nekuřte! (Protect your baby—don’t smoke!), using information and local events to encourage pregnant women to kick the habit. About one-fifth of women smokers currently quit when they fall pregnant.
Source: MfD A4, ČTK

Czechs discover nerve rehabilitation treatment
Working together with the rehabilitation clinic at the General Faculty Hospital in Prague, Czech engineers have developed an interactive bracelet that will motivate patients with nervous-system disabilities to complete rehabilitation tasks. The device will also allow them to monitor their recovery.
Source: ČTK

Activists plan condom protest for Pope’s visit
Local pro-contraception group Condom Positive will dispense 10,000 condoms during Pope Benedict XVI’s Sunday mass in Brno. The protest addresses the pope’s consistent opposition to the use of condoms.
Source: ČTK

ING plans mass sackings in ČR
As part of its restructuring, the financial services provider ING intends to lay off 40% of its 750 employees in the Czech Republic who now work in the company’s IT, financial, and operational departments; their responsibilities will pass to a new ING centre in Romania. In percentage terms, this will be the largest lay-off in the banking sector on the Czech market, according to HN. Citing unnamed sources, the daily also reports that up to 70% of ING’s Czech employees may eventually be laid off.
Source: most Czech press

ČEZ in running for Polish heat power plant
State-owned energy giant ČEZ intends to bid on an 88% stake worth more than CZK 80 million in the PEC power plant in Slezská Ruda, reported yesterday.

Banco Popolare drops expansion plans in ČR
Banco Popolare, Italy’s fourth largest financial institution on the Czech market, will halt its planned expansion in the Czech Republic due to the economic crisis, board member Sergio Resegotti said yesterday.
Source: E15 8, 9

Strong web campaign buoys Prague tourism
Thanks to a successful summer promotion of Prague on the and sites, the number of foreign tourists staying at the 36 participating hotels rose by one-fifth this year, yielding a total CZK 17 million more than last year’s profit. The campaign cost CZK 3.4 million.
Source: E15 11

Central European CEOs say recovery unlikely
According to the latest Business Confidence Index determined by Deloitte, three-quarters of CEOs of the largest companies in six central European countries believe that the economic situation will stay the same or get worse next year.
Source: ČTK

McKinsey&Co.: Car emissions will double by 2030
At an international conference on car industry sustainability in Mladá Boleslav yesterday, the consultant group McKinsey&Company put forward claims that carbon dioxide from car exhausts will double by 2030. The rise is attributed to the likely increase in global automobile numbers from 800 million to 1.3 billion.
Source: ČTK

RWE reports surge in illegal gas consumption
Czech gas supplier RWE uncovered 87 attempts to offtake gas illegally during the first eight months of 2009, the same number recorded for all of 2008. The illegal consumption at a cost of some CZK 7.4 million was due to people’s efforts to cut corners during the economic crisis, RWE’s regional spokesman, Jiří Bezděk said.
Source: ČTK

Jablonex sale in the works
Czech jewellery maker Jablonex Group plans to sell Jablonex and Bijoux de Boheme by the end of the year, Mladá fronta Dnes reported yesterday.
Source: ČTK

Hyundai on target with new Nošovice plant
Despite the crisis, Hyundai plans to stick to its Czech production goal of 160,000 cars this year, the company’s Vice-President Allan Rushforth said during yesterday’s official opening of the new manufacturing plant in Nošovice.
Source: HN 17, 21

Velkopopovický Kozel Premium crowned ‘Beer of the Year’
Velkopopovický Kozel Premium lager was selected from 21 candidates as the best beer of 2009 yesterday. The contest, in its 9th year, is organised by the Czech Research Institute of Brewing and Malting.
Source: ČTK

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