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Breakfast Brief – 30 October 2009

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Table of Contents

EU summit agrees with Klaus’s demand
An agreement was reached at the EU summit on Thursday conceding to last-minute demands from Czech President Václav Klaus, who requested an opt-out from the Lisbon Treaty’s Charter of Fundamentals Rights in return for the Czech Republic’s ratification of the document. That particular charter will not apply to the Czech Republic. Klaus is now waiting for a Constitutional Court ruling on 3 November.
Source: most Czech press

First wave of swine flu pandemic to hit ČR
Václav Chmelík, a member of the national pandemic planning team, said that the first wave of the swine flu pandemic will hit the country in a short time and the number of infected people will grow significantly in the next month or two. An outbreak of the H1N1 virus involving 14 students and two adults has been reported in a České Budějovice secondary school. Another five people are waiting for test results. The Czech Republic has currently about 330 cases of swine flu infection.
Source: most Czech press

ODS deputy chairman proposes coalition with ČSSD
In an open letter to the ODS leadership, deputy chairman Petr Gandalovič, who might run for the party’s top post, proposed co-operating with the ČSSD and holding an internal secret vote on chairman Mirek Topolánek’s mandate. While Social Democrat boss Jiří Paroubek welcomed the idea, Topolánek said that, after Gandalovič’s announcement of his candidacy last week, “votes for a grand coalition and a leviathan will be in the minority”.
Source: LN 3

Far-right groups to disrupt 17 November celebrations
Czech neo-Nazis are planning to disrupt events to be held on 17 November, the 20th anniversary of the fall of communism, the news site Tý reported on Thursday. It is a reaction to the police crackdown on extremism last week, during which 18 of 24 detained rightists were charged for supporting and promoting a movement repressing human rights and freedom, the daily wrote.
Source: ČTK

Workers’ Party seek to join forces with European Nationalists
The far-right Workers’ Party (DS) is aiming for membership in the Alliance of European Nationalist Movements set up by Hungarian extremists from the Jobbik party, the DS’s Martin Zbela said on Thursday.
Source: ČTK

SMS transit fares to increase
The Prague Public Transit Company will charge for the act of texting for tickets in addition to the incoming confirmation SMS starting in November in an attempt to make the service profitable. The surcharge to the current CZK 26 fare should be between 50 hellers and CZK 3. Lidové noviny reports that the mobile operator receives about 15% of the SMS ticket price and the transit company around 70%. The annual turnover of the service is over CZK 200,000 million.
Source: LN 14,, MfD B1

EU funds for tunnel construction threatened
The construction of a 25km, CZK 33 billion railway tunnel between Prague and Beroun may not receive funds from the EU. Jan Komárek, head of the Railway Infrastructure Administration, said yesterday that the investor is preparing a new study with lower costs by the February deadline to submit a new proposal. The 25km section should be part of a high-speed rail corridor that will stretch to Nuremberg.
Source: HN 5

Towboat leaks oil and diesel into Vltava
A towboat partially sank yesterday at the Holešovice harbour in Prague, leaking diesel and oil into the Vltava river. Fire department spokeswoman Pavlína Adamcová said the leak was contained. Pražský deník reports that the boat’s poor condition caused it to sink.
Source: Pd 1

Survey: 48.7% of Czechs proud of nationality
Some 49% of Czechs are proud of their nationality and almost two-thirds believe that they must support themselves because nobody else will, a poll by Median has found.
Source: ČTK

Poll: Half of Czechs would forgive cheating
Almost half of Czechs, especially married women, would forgive infidelity, an online survey by SANEP found. Some 43% of the respondents said that they have cheated.
Source: ČTK

FinMin: Economy to grow 0.3% in 2010
In its latest macroeconomic forecast, the Finance Ministry projects that the economy will grow 0.3% next year. Positive developments in Germany and other foreign countries will provide a boost, the ministry announced. The Czech economy is expected to fall by a significant 5% this year.
Source: most Czech press

Public finance deficit to grow to 6.6% of GDP
The country’s budgetary shortfall is expected to grow to 6.6% of GDP this year, according to the Finance Ministry’s fiscal outlook released yesterday. This means that the Czech Republic will not meet criteria for euro adoption. Last year’s deficit in the same period was 2.1% of GDP, the Czech Statistical Office announced.
Source: most Czech press

Tender opens for Temelín expansion
Today is the last chance for companies to place bids in the tender for new Temelín nuclear reactors launched by the energy giant ČEZ. The tender will last until 2011, and the winner will gain contract worth CZK 500 billion.
Source:, HN 1-3

Prague Airport preparing takeover of ČSA’s HQ
Prague Airport is taking steps to buy the Czech Airlines headquarters, the APC building, new ČSA head and Prague Airport chief executive officer Miroslav Dvořák said yesterday, adding that carriers do not usually maintain buildings and own land. An expert will be appointed by a court to secure transparent conditions for the takeover and an adequate price.
Source: HN 17-19, MfD A8, Aktuálně.cz, ČTK

Czech trams heading to Washington, DC
Inekon Group, which manufactures low-floor streetcars, has begun preparing to transport three of its trams to Washington, DC. Residents of the US capital will get to use them next year, when the city’s first ever streetcar service will begin. Inekon also delivered trams to Portland and Seattle under a USD 24 million contract signed in 2004 to provide streetcars to different US cities, including DC.
Source: HN 18, E15 6

Bank transfers faster, fees lifted under new legislation
Beginning this Sunday, a law on payment services will come into force making cross-border bank payments within the EU and domestic transfers faster and more efficient. The new directive also lifts fees for bank statements, balance checks and the blocking of stolen cards.
Source: HN 17, 20, E15 6

Small breweries fighting excise tax hike
Jiří Fusek, the head of the Czech Association of Small Independent Breweries and the owner of Pivovar Černá Hora brewery, said that consequences for small breweries might be severely damaging if the excise tax on beer increases by the planned 42% next year. He said that the association is considering filing a constitutional complaint if the tax increase is passed.
Source: HN 22, Právo 14

Škoda Auto net profit down two-thirds
The automaker reported a CZK 2.8 billion profit in the first three quarters of 2009, a year-on-year drop of 67.5%. Škoda’s sales fell by 13% to CZK 137.6 billion.
Source: most Czech press

HN: J&T to sell medical companies
After selling its majority shares in a number of energy and industrial companies, the investment group will seal a deal with Penta by the end of the year to unload all of J&T’s medical companies, Hospodářské noviny reports. So far Penta has received all of the diagnostic laboratories under the J&T-owned Aeskulab Holding. Slovakia’s Hospodárske noviny also reported that Penta will soon take over the Slovak company Svet Zdravia, but both parties refused to confirm the transaction for that newspaper.
Source: HN 21

Labour offices to gain an extra CZK 657m
The lower house’s budget committee agreed on Thursday to boost unemployment benefits by CZK 657 million. Almost 67% of the unemployment benefits for 2009 were distributed in the first six months of the year.
Source: ČTK

ČEZ, JAVYS setting up new venture
Within the next two months, the Czech energy firm ČEZ and Slovakia’s state-run nuclear and decommissioning company JAVYS are expected to set up a joint enterprise that will deal with the construction of a new power station in Jaslovské Bohunice, JAVYS CEO Ján Valko said yesterday. The EU must still give permission.
Source: ČTK

Farmers dump milk in protest
Dairy farmers from around the country were spilling thousands of litres of milk to protest low purchase prices yesterday. About one hundred people protested outside of the Agriculture Ministry building in Ústí nad Orlicí.
Source: most Czech press

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