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Breakfast Brief – 30 September 2009

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NEWS
Legislators file new complaint against Lisbon
Mostly ODS senators presented the Constitutional Court yesterday with a proposal to reassess the Lisbon Treaty as a whole, the groups’ representative Jiří Oberfalzer said. Court spokesman Tomáš Langášek said that judges will discuss the proposal without further delay, not giving an exact date. According to Mirek Topolánek, who met with European Commission President José Barroso yesterday, delaying ratification might lead to the European Parliament freezing the Czech Republic’s EU commissioner post. Topolánek said he would leave politics if that becomes the case.
Source: most Czech press

Janota to introduce new tax strategy
The finance minister is planning to present a proposal to the lower house on income tax changes that he worked on with then Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek. The new plan unites income tax and social security insurance and would amount to 38.5% of the current supergross wage, a move that would enable decreasing bureaucracy and the number of state officials, and scrap most of the current exceptions to the law.
Source: HN 1, 2, 3

KSČM deputy chairmen forced to step down for corruption
The Communists’ executive board pressured Jiří Dolejš and Čeněk Milota to resign yesterday, after the party officials showed a willingness to barter cash for more relaxed gambling laws with an undercover Mf Dnes reporter pretending to be a casino owner.
Source: most Czech press

Transit syndicates still threaten strikes
After meeting with Prime Minister Jan Fischer, Luboš Pomajbík, head of the transport union, said that members remain on strike alert. Unions disapprove of tenders for trains without the law determining the rules for tenders, which Fischer promised to implement by mid-2010.
Source: E15 4

Fischer wants to revamp laws
Once last Friday’s austerity package was approved, the prime minister suggested that certain changes to the civil code couldn’t be postponed, including privatisation and pension reform. Former Justice Minister Jiří Pospíšil argued that hurried changes might undermine the civil code’s quality.
Source: HN 3

Online secret police files down
The former dissident Stanislav Penc’s StB database went offline yesterday. The provider was intimidated by the threat of a CZK 10 million fine from the Office for Personal Data Protection and shut the database down, said Penc, who labelled the office’s move as unlawful censorship.
Source: LN 5

Justice Ministry requests more prison staff
With the number of imprisoned on the rise, the office called for more prison guards to ensure security. The government halted discussion of the proposal yesterday, demanding that Interior Minister Daniela Kovářová submit material on the possibility of house arrest along with the proposal.
Source: ČTK

Milan Kundera reveals previously untranslated texts
The author translated excerpts from a collection of essays published in France into Czech this spring as part of the Prague-based seminar European Milan Kundera, which launched yesterday.
Source: ČTK

Prague endorses projects to boost tourism
The City Council will allocate CZK 21 million for 25 private projects to encourage tourism in the capital, spokesman Jiří Wolf, said yesterday. City officials also plan to introduce a package in the next three weeks to lure in more conferences.
Source: ČTK

Unconventional treatment group opens equine instruction centre
The hippotherapy association Dítě a kůň launched a training centre for therapeutic horses in Miskovice. The association’s chairwoman, Ivana Hudcová, said that the association’s project of raising horses for rehabilitation purposes is the only one of its kind in the country.
Source: ČTK

One in three adults suffers from metabolic syndrome
An illness characterised by a group of risk factors for coronary artery disease affects about one-third of the adult population, Richard Češka of the Czech Society of Internal Medicine said.
Source: ČTK

BUSINESS
FinMin expects 0.5% fall in GDP for 2010
Finance Minister Eduard Janota said yesterday that GDP is expected to drop by 0.5% next year, more than the previously predicted 0.3%. The estimate is connected to the government approval of the deficit of the state budget at CZK 162.7 billion, 5.3% of GDP.
Source: most Czech press

Govt to decide on ČSA privation in 14 days
Finance Minister Eduard Janota said yesterday that the government will assess the offer by Unimex Travel Services within 14 days of its submission. HN reported that ministry director Tomáš Uvíra’s deadline for the final verdict is 20 October.
Source: most Czech press

KB and Česká pojišťovna sign strategic co-operation
Komerční banka agreed to a five-year strategic alliance with Česká pojištovna, which will enable both banks to offer their services via the other’s network, in the biggest partnership of its kind on the Czech market to date, said Vladimír Jeřábek a member of the KB board of directors. The banks also jointly launched another product: photovoltaic systems insurance.
Source: HN 19

PPF appoints Belgian associate
Petr Kellner’s investment group will add a new co-owner and member of the top management, Jean-Pascal Duvieusart, in January. He worked for the management consulting firm McKinsey in Russia until now. Duvieusart should bring PPF his experience with banking, company restructuring and development, as well as a deep knowledge of the region, Kellner said.
Source: HN 1, E15 1, 13, MfD B2

ČEZ given green light to power plant construction in Počerady
The state-owned power giant may go ahead with construction of a new steam-gas works worth CZK 20 billion in north Bohemia after the Environment Ministry ruled the plant ecologically sound, Aktuálně.cz reported yesterday.
Source: ČTK

ČR to repay nearly EUR 200,000 in EU milk subsidies
The European Commission ruled yesterday that the Czech Republic must return EUR 190,000 worth of agricultural subsidies for milk powder. The commission said that samples were wrongly extracted and products were stored inappropriately.
Source: ČTK

Černá Hora beer scores EU protected trademark
The brewery will acquire the exclusive rights to its name from the European Union, becoming one of 21 businesses in the country with a protected trademark – which ranks the Czech Republic as the country with the most brands to hold such status in central and eastern Europe.
Source: ČTK

Western Bohemia’s largest sun-harvesting facility proposed
The German-owned FVE Kostelec-Ostrov plans to build a solar energy plant spanning 68 hectares between Kostelec and Ostrov u Stříbra and worth CZK 2.7 billion, Kostelec mayor František Trhlík said yesterday. The plant could be up and running in late 2010 or early 2011.
Source: ČTK

Slovakia’s top search engine may compete with Seznam.cz
Azet.sk could come to the Czech Republic. Milan Dubec, the Slovak company’s CEO, said that the company missed the ideal time two years ago, but the Czech Republic is still the way to go. Azet.sk pages have 600,000 users a day, 75% more than Zoznam.sk, a Slovak version of the Czech Seznam.cz.
Source: HN 19

Porsche to open Prague branch worth CZK 150 million
Porsche Inter Auto CZ will open one of its largest centres in Central Europe, spanning 2000 square meters, in Prosek on Thursday.
Source: ČTK

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