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Breakfast Brief – 27 October 2009

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Table of Contents

PM wants to speed up negotiations on EU commissioner
Prime Minister Jan Fischer wants to accelerate talks with political parties so that he has an EU commissioner candidate within one or two weeks. Fischer said that if parties do not agree on one candidate the cabinet would choose its own.
Source: Právo 2

Hungary will block Lisbon Treaty if it mentions Beneš decrees
Hungarian Foreign Affairs Minister Péter Balázs said in Luxembourg yesterday that Hungary will obstruct the Lisbon Treaty if it explicitly mentions the Beneš decrees, as required by the Czech Republic and Slovakia. PM Jan Fischer said yesterday that President Václav Klaus promised that he would eventually sign the treaty if it contains the required legal guarantee for the Czech Republic.
Source: most Czech press

Only two senators do not want Klaus for president
Only two out of 81 senators polled by Aktuálně.cz would vote for removing President Václav Klaus from office in connection with his delaying the signing of the Lisbon Treaty, according to a poll conducted by Aktuálně.cz.
Source: Aktuálně.cz

Karel Gott to receive much-awaited honour from president
Timeless singer Karel Gott will tomorrow, at long last, receive the state award for merit given by the president to war heroes and figures from the culture and health sectors. Hospodářské noviny reports that the golden-throated Gott was likely nominated by President Václav Klaus himself. While the crooner’s award is assured, nominees for the remaining medals include the architect Jan Kaplický, the cardio surgeon Jan Pirka, and Anděla Dvořáková, the chairwoman of the Czech association of fighters for liberty. Twenty-three medals will be given out this year.
Source: most Czech press

Private business covers officials’ outing
Mf Dnes reports that the ad company Remoex paid for three Pardubice officials and the mayor of Heřmanův Městec to take a trip to Spain for a match between Real Madrid and AC Milan last Wednesday. City officials Jaroslav Kňava and Libor Vlasák said that they have paid Remoex their share of expenses. Mf Dnes estimates that the whole trip cost about CZK 1 million.
Source: MfD A5

Health Ministry wants to collect patients’ data again
The Health Ministry and the Office for Personal Data Protection (ÚOOÚ) will prepare an amendment that will enable the storing of personal data of people who buy medicines containing pseudoephedrine, which is often abused for production of narcotics, Health Minister Dana Jurásková said yesterday. The ÚOOÚ ruled last Wednesday that storing patients’ sensitive personal data without their consent is illegal. Medicines with pseudoephedrine are now freely on sale.
Source: most Czech press

Plzeň police head copied his bachelor’s thesis from ex-boss
The lawyer for Luděk Hosman, the long-term head of the Plzeň Municipal Police and a graduate from the Plzeň Law Faculty, confirmed yesterday that the officer copied his bachelor’s thesis from his former boss.
Source: most Czech press

Faculty of Social Sciences says fast-track degrees not fraud
The nine people who since 2000 have received their doctorates from the Charles University Faculty of Social Sciences in less than two years are most likely experts who were unable to receive degrees in the past due to political reasons, school spokesman Václav Hájek said. The department performed the audit in response to remarks by Jakub Končelík, who will begin as the faculty’s dean in February, about the unusual ways some professors obtained their degrees.
Source: Právo 3, HN 5, LN 4

Incheba fined for last year’s fire in Industrial Palace
Incheba, the company leasing the 19th-century Industrial Palace in Holešovice from the city, has been fined by the Prague fire brigade for the damage caused to the building last year. Incheba has appealed the decision, which ordered it to pay some CZK 200,000, the firm’s spokesman said.
Source: ČTK, MfD C1, C2

Govt halts ČSA privatisation
The cabinet decided yesterday not to sell the state-run air carrier Czech Airlines to the consortium of Unimex Group and Travel Service, the only participant in the tender. Finance Minister Eduard Janota said that the main reasons for rejecting the offer were that the consortium demanded to give the CZK 1 billion in four instalments through 2013, did not make the compulsory advance payment of CZK 20 million and required that the company’s equity equal zero, though its estimated value at the end of the year is CZK 1.7 billion in the red.
Source: most Czech press

Govt approves measures to save ČSA
The cabinet announced yesterday that Czech Airlines will not have to pay back the CZK 2.5 billion loan from the state-owned company Osinek, which will get shares in ČSA instead, cancelling Osinek’s lien on the ČSA building, which will later be sold to Airport Prague. Both transactions are pending approval from the European Commission. The plan also includes further salary cuts and the sale of assets and planes.
Source: most Czech press

ČR’s exports to Iraq triple this year
Companies exported goods worth CZK 1.2 billion to Iraq in the first eight months of the year, almost three times more than compared to the same period in 2008, the Czech Statistical Office announced. The value of goods exported to Iraq in 2008 totalled CZK 731 million.
Source: ČTK

Heat and brown coal prices to rise in 2010
While electricity rates are expected to drop by 5% to 10% starting in January, and black coal prices should fall by 5%, most households will spend more on heat. According to a survey by the Association for the District Heating of the Czech Republic, half of heating plants will increase prices of heat by 5% on average next year. Brown coal prices are also expected to rise, while gas prices should stagnate in Q1.
Source: HN 1, 17

Motorway tags to cost more in 2010
Annual highway toll stickers will cost CZK 1,200 next year, CZK 200 more than this year, and the price of monthly tags will rise by CZK 20 to CZK 350. Ten-day stickers will replace seven-day ones and will cost CZK 250 instead of the current CZK 220, PM Jan Fischer said yesterday.
Source: E15 4, Právo 15

Liquor production pushed up by high demand
Czech distillers increased production due to the higher demand by retailers who want to have as much alcohol in stock as possible before the planned excise-tax increase in January. The Stock distillery, based in Plzeň-Božkov, runs around the clock, with double the normal output; Granette and Fruko Schulz also predict annual production increases.
Source: HN 20

Travel agencies must state full price of holidays
Yesterday, President Václav Klaus signed into law a bill ordering travel agencies to advertise the final price of holiday packages, including all fees known to agencies at the time of sale. The law will not apply to flights, for which fuel surcharges and airport taxes may change shortly before departure.
Source: ČTK

ÚOHS may investigate infrastructure projects
The antimonopoly office will most probably launch investigations into road construction in the Czech Republic. Tenders called by Road and Motorway Directorate are nontransparent and the costs of infrastructure projects are one-third higher compared to similar work in neighbouring countries, according to a complaint filed with the office yesterday by a journalist.
Source: Právo 13

ING to sell insurance business
The ING Group announced yesterday that it plans to sell its insurance branch within four years, as part of the compulsory restructuring plan agreed on with the European Commission last year. Company spokesman Frans Middendorff said that the process will be smooth, and the Czech branch’s Alexandra Gjurič said that the transition will have no impact on clients’ contracts. ING provides life and pension insurance for about 1 million Czechs.
Source: HN 17, 21, MfD B3

Exporters criticise govt for abolishing consulates
Czech exporters are complaining a recent governmental decision to close down the Czech consulates in Sydney, Australia, and Sao Paulo, Brazil, next year in order to curb expenses. Exporters say that the government failed to discuss the step with them, as well as with the Industry and Trade Ministry.
Source: ČTK

Confidence in Czech economy down in October
The Czech composite economic confidence indicator fell by 0.6 points in October compared to the previous month. Looked at against last October, confidence is 12.9 points lower, the Czech Statistical Office announced on Monday.
Source: ČTK, Právo 13

Fuel prices up by nearly CZK 0.50 in last week
The average price of Natural 95 climbed by CZK 0.44 to an average of CZK 27.70 per litre in the last week, and the average price of diesel rose by CZK 0.49 to CZK 26.11 per litre in the same period, according to the CCS company, which monitors the Czech fuel market. The reason is the rising price of oil in reaction to the relatively good results of US firms in Q3, Broker Consulting’s Jan Šimek said.
Source: ČTK

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